Music performed in public spaces and places requires two sets of licenses if it is to be legal.
Fitness facilities, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, retail establishments, and hotels are required to obtain two licenses for the use recorded music in their business.
Performing rights collective SOCAN issues one of these licenses, an organization mandated by the Copyright Board to collect and disburse royalties on behalf of its member songwriters, composer and music publishers.
A second license needs to be secured from Re:Sound, the organization mandated by the Copyright Board to collect and distribute royalties to recording artists and record labels, including background performers and session musicians.
Celine Dion offers an excellent example of how the two represent separate constituencies. In 2002, the chanteuse had a hit with “A New Day Has Come,” but she neither wrote or composed the song. The credits belong to Aldo Nova and Stephan Moccio.
SOCAN collects the money on behalf of the composer, lyricist and the song’s publishers (Warner/Chappell for Nova, Sony/ATV for Moccio). Re:Sound collects the money for the performer of the song, in this instance Dion, the musicians who performed on the recording, and the record company.
Right now, users of music in public spaces need to obtain the two licenses from the separate organizations, but this is soon to change.
Re:Sound and SOCAN have been quietly working to simplify licensing for businesses by creating a one-stop online portal.
“For businesses, it's all just music, and they don't always understand why they are required to pay two different organizations,” says Re:Sound President Ian MacKay. “The one-stop licensing portal means that we can eliminate some duplication between the two organizations in terms of outreach to businesses. This portal will make this simpler for businesses and bring an economy of scale for our rights holders. It’s a win-win situation.”
"For too long, Canadian businesses that use background music have had to deal with double the paperwork when paying their legal music licenses," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. "By combining information on a single online platform, we will reduce the time and confusion, enabling businesses that have other more important things on their plate to get these done in one fell swoop."
While the portal will launch as a pilot and the two not-for-profits are expecting a ramp-up throughout 2018.