Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 46

decisions , but what about those dealing in music rights , such as performing rights organizations ( PROs )? They play a massive role in the industry , not least of which is getting artists and publishers paid for the use of their music . And importantly , music rights companies may have to deal with more data than anybody else .
“ We have billions of transactions — the amount of data that we have in SOCAN is unbelievable ,” Alec McGlaughlin tells me . He is the manager of data analytics at SOCAN , the PRO representing Canadian songwriters , composers , and publishers . Under the guidance of Alan Triger , who was hired last year to lead the new Strategic Solutions and Analytics department , SOCAN is in the process of standardizing and centralizing its data collection and analyses to better inform its business decisions and advocacy work , and to provide more useful individual data to its members .
“ If we ’ re proposing changes to our distribution rules , and let ’ s say we ’ re going to modernize to try and keep up with the changes of how the music industry has developed , we have to keep our distribution rules up to date , right ? So , how are we distributing royalties when we get the licensing fee and the DSP data in ?” begins Mc-
Glaughlin . “ And so , from an analytics front , we don ’ t want to essentially do the equivalent of throw grass up in the air and say , ‘ We ’ re going to change this and this ’ and then go and institute it . We ’ re really looking at modeling out what those different scenarios are for changes to those distribution rules .”
One of SOCAN ’ s primary tasks is to find and license any business that should be paying performing rights fees or royalties , such as any business with live music . “ I know on the general licensing side , we ’ re
PART OF DANIEL CAESAR ’ S CHARTMETRIC DASHBOARD constantly looking for different data sources on licensed businesses that are out there . So , whether it be online events that we can collect data from , online platforms that say ‘ here ’ s concerts that are happening here and there ,’ to even open-data sources ,” explains McGlaughlin . “ For example , the City of Toronto has an open-data source for all the licensed businesses that are part of city . So , it ’ s about how do we collect that data , bring it into our environment , merge it with our data assets , and provide value to our licensing agents to say , ‘ Okay , here ’ s a list of qualified businesses to check in on ’ and that kind of stuff . So , we have done it in the past , that type of analysis for digital licensing and general licensing .”
Music rights organizations like SOCAN also do their own A & R , though unlike labels where A & R is about finding , signing , and developing promising artists before another label does , SOCAN is looking for unknown Canadian songwriters and getting them in its membership before their songs takeoff and uncollected royalties accumulate .
“ As much as possible , we have a lot of data that comes from the DSPs , in terms of the usage on the digital services . And so , we ’ re starting the journey of using that for A & R purposes to say , ‘ Are there diamonds in the rough here who aren ’ t a member and how do we identify them and direct our A & R staff to reach out to them ?’ McGlaughlin says . “ And then even for the members who are newer and maybe are SOCAN members , how can we use that data to help them in their careers , and help them develop their careers based off the data we have ? So , we ’ re starting that journey and we ’ re really still in the data collection and standardization phase of that and how we look