Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the questions that we are asked by current and potential members are answered below. If you need a fast solution to a problem, you might find it here. If not, and you think we can help further, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) is open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time (ET).

Joining the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) offers songwriters access to a wide range of benefits through an affordable membership. Your membership not only provides you with valuable resources but also empowers us to advocate for your rights as a music creator. Check out the membership page for more!

Visit our membership section to learn more and sign up.

A mechanical royalty is a payment to the songwriter or music publisher for the reproduction of a song. This can include physical formats like CDs and vinyl, as well as digital formats like downloads and streams. In Canada, these royalties are collected and distributed by the CMRRA and SOCAN RR.

A performance royalty is a payment to songwriters, composers, and publishers when their music is played or performed publicly. This includes live performances, radio play, TV broadcasts, and online streaming. SOCAN collects and distributes these royalties on behalf of its members.

Neighbouring rights are related to the public performance rights of a sound recording. They entitle the performers (such as musicians and vocalists) and recording owners to receive compensation when their recordings are played publicly or broadcast.

SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada) is a Canadian organization that represents the performing rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers. SOCAN licenes the public performance and communication to the public of music, ensuring that music creators are fairly compensated when their work is played in public, broadcast, or streamed online.

SOCAN RR (Reproduction Rights) refers to the administration of reproduction rights by SOCAN. This means SOCAN also manages the collection and distribution of royalties for the reproduction of musical works, alongside their traditional role of handling performance rights.

CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency) is an organization that represents music publishers and self published songwriters and administers mechanical licensing in Canada. It ensures that songwriters and music publishers receive royalties for the reproduction of their music, such as when their songs are reproduced on CDs, vinyl records, digital downloads or streamed online.

The MLC (Mechanical Licensing Collective) is an organization in the United States that administers blanket mechanical licenses for digital audio services. It was established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) to ensure songwriters, composers, and music publishers are paid mechanical royalties for the use of their music on streaming services and digital platforms. The MLC collects these royalties and distributes them to rights holders, simplifying the licensing process and ensuring fair compensation.

A sync (synchronization) license allows a song to be used in synchronization with visual media, such as in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, and online videos. The songwriter and publisher (as well as recording owner) must grant permission, and they receive royalties for this use of their music.

Publishing in the music industry refers to the management, promotion, and commercialization of musical compositions. Music publishers play a critical role in the industry by ensuring that songwriters and composers receive royalties for the use of their music. They handle the administration of music rights, which includes licensing songs for various uses (such as recordings, performances, and sync placements in movies, TV shows, and commercials), and collecting and distributing royalties generated from these uses.

Music publishers often provide additional support to songwriters and composers, such as:

Song Promotion: Actively pitching songs to artists, record labels, and other potential users.

Copyright Administration: Registering songs with appropriate rights organizations and managing the associated paperwork.

Royalty Collection: Ensuring that all due royalties are collected from various sources, including performance, mechanical, and sync royalties.

Creative Development: Offering guidance and support to songwriters in developing their craft and careers.

By handling these aspects, music publishers enable songwriters and composers to focus on their creative work while ensuring they are compensated for their contributions to the music industry.

Getting a publishing deal as a songwriter involves several steps to showcase your talent and connect with the right people in the music industry.

Here are some key steps to help you secure a publishing deal:

1) Develop Your Craft: Focus on honing your songwriting skills. Write consistently, seek feedback, and refine your work. Consider taking songwriting classes or workshops to improve your technique.

2) Build a Catalog: Create a diverse catalog of high-quality songs. Publishers look for songwriters who have a proven ability to write multiple songs that can appeal to various artists and markets.

3) Make Professional Recordings: Record professional-quality demos of your songs. These recordings don’t need to be fully produced but should showcase your songwriting ability and the potential of your music.

4) Network in the Industry: Attend music industry events, songwriting workshops, and conferences. Join songwriting associations and organizations like the Songwriters Association of Canada. Networking with other songwriters, musicians, and industry professionals can lead to valuable connections and opportunities.

5) Collaborate with Other Artists: Work with other songwriters, musicians, and producers. Collaboration can open doors and provide exposure to different audiences and industry contacts.

6) Pitch Your Songs: Submit your songs to music publishers, either through their submission processes or through personal connections. Research publishers who specialize in your genre and follow their submission guidelines carefully.

7) Utilize Online Platforms: Use online platforms like SoundCloud, YouTube, and social media to share your music. Online exposure can attract attention from publishers and industry professionals.

8) Join Performing Rights Organizations (PROs): Register with a performing rights organization like SOCAN. PROs can help protect your rights, collect royalties, and provide networking opportunities.

9) Seek Representation: Consider finding a music manager or attorney who can help you navigate the industry, pitch your songs, and negotiate deals on your behalf.

10) Be Persistent and Patient: The music industry is highly competitive, and securing a publishing deal can take time. Stay persistent, keep improving your craft, and continue to seek out opportunities.

By following these steps and staying dedicated to your songwriting career, you can increase your chances of securing a publishing deal and advancing your career as a songwriter.

In Canada, as soon as you create an original song, it is automatically protected by copyright. However, to further protect your rights and provide evidence of ownership, you can take the following steps:

1) Document Your Creation: Keep a dated record of when you created the song. This can include drafts, recordings, or any other tangible form that proves your authorship and the date of creation. Don’t forget to include a signed split sheet with any co-creators.

2) Register with a Copyright Office: While not required, registering your song with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) provides a formal record of your copyright. This registration can be valuable if you ever need to prove ownership in a legal dispute.

3) Mark Your Work: Use the copyright symbol (©), followed by the year of first publication and your name, to signify your ownership. This notice helps inform others that the work is protected.

4) Consider Legal Advice: If you have complex copyright questions or need guidance on licensing or protecting your song internationally, consulting with a copyright lawyer can provide tailored advice.

You can contact S.A.C. support staff by email at [email protected].