Connecting Music with Business

Music works magic, creating a unique experience that keeps your customers, clients, and fans coming back for more.

A SOCAN license gives you the freedom and flexibility to use virtually any music you want in your organization – legally, ethically, and easily, while supporting the music creators behind it.

Nathalie Bonin
Nathalie Bonin

How it works

Music is created.

A song becomes valuable the second it’s created. SOCAN’s tens of thousands of talented members write, compose, produce, and publish the music that makes your business or event better.

Using music adds value to your business.

Music creators and their publishers have rights under Canada’s Copyright Act. SOCAN music licenses take into consideration the value of music to a business and ensures that the owners of that music are compensated.

SOCAN licenses your business to play music.

Without a SOCAN music license, you’d have to get permission and negotiate a license with every rightsholder whose music you intend to play. SOCAN makes this process simple through fair licensing.

Money from your license goes to songwriters, composers and music publishers.

By complying with law, you ensure that songwriters, composers and music publishers are compensated for their work and can continue to create the music that enriches your business.

FAQ

  • Music licenses – general
  • Online Concerts - Licensing
  • Paying for a music license
  • Reproduction Rights - Licensing
What is a SOCAN music license?
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A SOCAN license gives your business or organization, the freedom and flexibility to use virtually any music you want – legally, ethically, and easily. Without SOCAN, you would have to get permission and negotiate a royalty with every songwriter, lyricist, and music publisher whose work you intend to play, or to have publicly performed. Instead, SOCAN simplifies the process by allowing businesses to pay a relatively small fee, often once a year to play all the music their customers enjoy hearing. These fees are then distributed as royalties to music creators in Canada and around the world, through reciprocal agreements with similar music rights organizations in other countries. To learn more about our Licensed To Play program, visit our Music Users page.
Why do I need a SOCAN music license?
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A SOCAN license grants you or your organization permission to use music in a specific way, and it’s quite straightforward to work with SOCAN to obtain the right license to play or reproduce music. When an organization uses music, it’s adding value by using the work of music creators and publishers. Those who composed, wrote, and published the song are entitled to be compensated for the time, effort, and money they put into the creation and promotion of that work when that music is reproduced and communicated or played in public. In accordance with Canada’s Copyright Act, any public performance or reproduction of copyright-protected musical works requires a license. When a song is used, music creators (not just the performers) are entitled to be compensated – it supports their livelihood. Without SOCAN, you would have to get permission from every composer, songwriter, and publisher of every musical work you intend to use in your organization or platforms–a feat that most of us have neither the time nor the means to achieve. This permission isn’t granted when you buy a recording, whether through a CD, downloading, etc., which only allows you to privately use the purchased music. SOCAN simplifies this complex process for businesses through licenses. A SOCAN license grants you or your business permission to use music in a specific way, and it’s easy to work with SOCAN to obtain the right license to play music.
How are license fees and rates determined?
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SOCAN license fees are either set by the Copyright Board of Canada, an independent body appointed by the federal government or through negotiations directly with users. SOCAN tariffs and negotiated royalties both take into consideration the value of music to a business. If music is integral to your business and/or event (i.e., a dance club, or a concert venue or a music digital platform), then it's worth more to your business. The rates that are set either by the Copyright Board of Canada or free negotiation reflect this value. Regularly, SOCAN may files proposed tariffs with the Copyright Board. Interested parties are then permitted to submit objections to SOCAN's proposals within a limited time. If an objection or concern is raised concerning a tariff, the Copyright Board may hold a hearing. After hearings are completed and amendments are made, the Copyright Board publishes the approved tariffs in the Canada Gazette. In the event of a negotiated agreement, our experienced licensing negotiators will maximize the royalties for the benefit of our stakeholders while reflecting a fair and equitable value.
If I don't use Canadian-made music, do I still have to get a SOCAN license?
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Yes. A SOCAN license gives you permission to use copyright-protected musical works of SOCAN members as well as members of affiliated international performing and reproduction rights societies from around the world. Through agreements with international performing and reproduction (alternatively MRO) rights organizations, SOCAN issues licenses for virtually all music used or communicated in and to the public by businesses in Canada as well for its reproduction repertoire. SOCAN then transfers the corresponding monies to the appropriate society, and vice versa.
What is Entandem?
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Entandem is a joint venture between RE:SOUND and SOCAN, created to simplify the licensing process so you can play all the music you want in your business legally and ethically, ensuring that those who made the music are compensated. If you're a business that uses live or recorded music visit entandemlicensing.com to obtain your background and live music licensing for your business. If you require a license for the use of music on internet, TV, or radio, please review Get Licensed section.
Do I need a music license to broadcast a concert live online?
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You sure do. A music license ensures that your event is using music legally and ethically while supporting music creators.  The license fees paid to SOCAN for the streaming of live performances are used to compensate the songwriters, composers and music publishers who make up SOCAN.
How do I obtain a music license for my online concert?
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We’ve made the process super simple. Please note that this license is being administered by SOCAN directly. Please email onlineconcert@socan.com and indicate “Online Concert” in the subject line. Provide a brief description of your music use, including details about the platform you’ll be using to livestream your concert, event, or festival.  If you have an account with Entandem, please let us know as this will streamline the process.
What types of online events require a music license?
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It would be difficult to name all the events requiring a music license. We encourage you to call us at 1-800-557-6226 or email licence@socan.com and we’ll help you figure it out.
I already pay the performers. Why do I have to pay SOCAN?
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When you hire a band or a DJ, you’re paying for their services as performing artists, but not for the performance/communication of the music on the internet, that is, not for the people who created the music being performed. Performing music and creating music are two separate types of creative work, and each deserves fair compensation, even in cases where the performers are also the creators of the music.

Do I need to clear any other rights or obtain any other licenses?
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When you connect with SOCAN you’re connecting with a team that specializes in performing rights, reproduction rights and synchronization rights ensuring fair compensation for songwriters, composers and music publishers, for the music composition (music and lyrics). As well, SOCAN is a partner in Entandem, ensuring that artists, record labels, music publishers, songwriters and composers are all compensated for the public performance of their master recording and music composition, when live or recorded music is used in businesses.
What music licenses do I need if I am planning a hybrid event?
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If you plan to host both in-person attendees and virtual attendees at your event, you’ll require music licenses administered by both Entandem and SOCAN. But don’t worry, we’ve made it easy for you. Simply connect with us at onlineconcert@socan.com and we’ll make sure you have the licensing required to pull off a successful show!
Learn more about licensing your online virtual music event.
We already pay the performers. Why do we have to pay SOCAN?
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When you hire a band or a DJ, you’re paying for their services as performing artists, but not for the public performance of the music, that is, for the people who created the music being performed. Performing music and creating music are two separate types of creative work, and each deserves fair compensation, even in cases where the performers are also the creators of the works.
We already paid for the music (i.e., purchased a CD or download), so why do I need a SOCAN license?
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When you buy a CD, or download music from a legal site, you gain the right to play music in private, but not in public. A SOCAN license allows you to perform that music in public
What happens to the license fees my business pays to SOCAN?
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SOCAN is a member-based, not-for-profit organization. All the royalties that we collect – less operating costs– are passed on to our members, and members of SOCAN’s affiliated international societies, who create the music that you use in your business and at your events.
How is Reproduction Rights licensing different from Performing Rights licensing?
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SOCAN administers music licenses for two types of music usage rights: Performing Rights, the public performance of recorded or live music, and Reproduction Rights, any digital or analog copies made of music. Most uses of music – usually require licensing of both rights, for which music licenses need to be legally obtained.
Where do I obtain my Reproductions Rights license?
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You’re in the right place. Visit SOCAN's licensing options or contact RRLicensing@socan.com with your questions.
How do I know which Reproduction Rights licenses I need?
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It depends on the final use: our licensing agents apply different market rates in cue with the type of reproduction. Learn more about licensing
What is a Reproduction Rights license?
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It is an authorization to reproduce or make a copy of music in digital and physical form.

Get Licensed

 

SOCAN administers music licenses for two types of music usage rights: Performing Rights, the public performance of recorded or live music, and Reproduction Rights, any digital or analog copies made of music. For most music uses, you will require both licenses.

 

Do you use music on the Internet?
Let your listeners lean back and enjoy your content knowing you’re operating your business or project legally and ethically, so that those who made the music can be compensated for their work. Select your music uses below and complete the licensing forms to obtain the applicable Performing Right and Reproduction Right license.
Online Concert
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Internet Radio
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Online Audio-Visual
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Podcast
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Do you use music in your establishments, such as a restaurant, bar, or hotel or at your event?

Use all the music your customers enjoy with a SOCAN general music license administered through Entandem.
GO TO ENTANDEM
Do you need a music synchronization license?
Do you need a music synchronization license for a work from our reproduction rights repertoire?
Fill out this form and email to SOCAN to obtain your license.
Are you a record label or artist wishing to reproduce music for a project? Click here
For any other music uses, Contact Us or visit the Music Licenses page

Need a Visual Arts & Crafts License? Click here
Michael Corriveau
Benefits
Play all the music your customers, clients and fans enjoy hearing.
Positively impact your bottom line with music.
Convenient, easy and worry-free licensing.
Customers are more loyal to ethical businesses that abide by the law.
Join a community that supports music.
Get music makers paid for the music that makes your business better.
Compliance with the law.
Allie X
Music

Music Copyright & Licensing

Music creators have rights under Canada’s Copyright Act. They deserve to be paid when their music is used as the primary product or simply to make your organization better. But for you to obtain permission yourself from every writer or music publisher to play music in your business is unrealistic.

When SOCAN files a proposed tariff with the Copyright Board of Canada (an independent body appointed by the Government of Canada) for royalties to be paid for a particular use of music, the Copyright Board determines reasonable royalty rates. Your music license fees are distributed as royalties to those who created and published the music. Just like you, SOCAN members make their living from their work, and should be paid fairly so that they can continue to make the music that benefits everyone.

Visit Copyright Board of Canada

Got a question?

We're here to help.

41 Valleybrook Drive
Toronto, ON
M3B 2S6

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