In a move that some are speculating could put performing rights organization SOCAN in competition with the Canadian Mechanical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) over the collection of mechanical royalties, SOCAN has purchased 100 per cent of the New York-based tech company Audiam, empowering SOCAN to expand into the business of licensing digital services and royalty payment for songwriters, composers, and music publishers.
With Audiam, SOCAN says it now has a comprehensive database, and metadata of all compositions and commercially-released digital sound recordings, and the technology and business understanding to match and connect the two, issue licenses and get rights-holders paid.
The problem of licensing and payments recently came to a head again in the form of several class-action lawsuits by rights holders against music streaming companies, mostly notably Spotify. The streaming service recently reached a settlement with the National Music Publishers’ Association, a U.S. organization, that will see Spotify pay around $20 million to publishers for dispute over licensing and unpaid royalties.
With the Audiam acquisition, SOCAN has expanded into collection of royalties for reproductions of music (“mechanicals”), licensing and royalty distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Audiam enables music creators and music publishers to be paid accurately, while removing liability, infringement and data issues for streaming music services and YouTube. Audiam provides one-stop licensing and collecting in North America.
“In 2013 Audiam shook up the music royalties system by identifying and correcting serious gaps in the digital music rights value chain, particularly with music used in YouTube videos, by correctly matching data to the rights-holder,” says SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “By acquiring Audiam, SOCAN steps even further ahead with our vision to lead the global transformation of music rights with substantial new tools for our more than 135,000 member songwriters, composers, and music publishers, dramatically expanding our ability to ensure that creators are properly and fairly compensated.”
“SOCAN is not only the most technologically advanced, efficient, and transparent music rights organization on the planet, but its board of directors and executive team are singularly focused on assuring that composers and publishers are licensed, and that rights-holders are paid for the use of their music,” says Jeff Price, founder and CEO of Audiam. “Adding SOCAN’s resources and knowledge to Audiam allows us to finally fix the global industry problems, remove liability for services, and get rights-holders paid.”
Audiam was founded in 2013 by TuneCore founder and former CEO Jeff Price. Audiam’s innovative technology and business processes identify the use of music and correct data on digital services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Google Play, and others, and get rights-holders paid, greatly expanding and enhancing the capabilities of SOCAN.
The acquisition was made final in June, and Audiam will remain a separate organization under its current name for the foreseeable future. Jeff Price will remain Audiam’s CEO and will work closely with SOCAN group CEO Eric Baptiste and his team.
Audiam brings to SOCAN one of the world’s most complete databases of sound recording and underlying song/composition metadata, as well as sophisticated audit and auto-match technology, to proactively find works that are not licensed and royalties that have not been paid.
Because part of SOCAN’s vision, according to the organization, is to lead the global transformation of music rights, the company is investing in new services for its members that says are essential in today’s globalized digital environment.
SOCAN will instantly leverage Audiam’s identification technology and services to more accurately pay members’ performing rights royalties on YouTube and other digital platforms, expanding service offerings to songwriters, composers, and music publishing members.
SOCAN plans to integrate Audiam’s other business lines, such as North American licensing and administration of mechanical income from digital services, including Spotify, Google Play, and Apple, as well as leverage Audiam’s proven track record to identify and recover pre-existing mechanical royalties that typically have remained unpaid.
Audiam’s services will be available immediately to all SOCAN members.
For a full list of services offered, click here.
The acquisition was completed in June 2016, the terms of which are undisclosed.
On May 12, 2016, SOCAN announced its purchase of Seattle-based MediaNet, a pioneer business-to-business music technology provider offering 360-degree music rights administration to SOCAN members. The combination of SOCAN’s existing capabilities and services with Audiam and MediaNet further extends the company’s leadership position among the world’s music rights organizations.