Broadcasting, Licensing, Guide

The Difference Between SOCAN and Re:Sound - Canadian Music Licensing Explained

To legally broadcast music via the internet, such as on an internet radio station, you need to ensure you have all of the proper licensing in place. We've previously discussed staying compliant in the United States, but what about legally broadcasting in Canada?

There are two main performance rights organizations (PROs) in Canada that deal with musical copyrights by collecting fees and distributing royalties to the rights holders. These societies are SOCAN and Re:Sound.

In order to broadcast legally in Canada, you need a license with both of these PROs. Why both? While they seem similar, they actually represent different rights holders.


SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) is a performance rights organization that covers composition royalties. Every time a song is played in public, in our case on an internet radio station, SOCAN pays songwriters and composers, and their publishers. The royalties that are paid out to these contributors are for the sheet music (the music as you'd see it on paper, including the lyrics and notes). Sometimes these contributors are behind the scenes and not audibly heard on the record.


While Re:Sound also collects fees and pays contributors, it's the organization that's paying the recording artists, musicians, and record labels. Re:Sound collects royalties for what you actually hear. These contributors are the artists that are widely known for their audible performances, like Celine Dion, *NSYNC, and Prince.

Without SOCAN and Re:Sound, broadcasting into Canada would require obtaining permission from every publisher, songwriter, composer, recording artist, background musician, and record label. This would be a big task given that a single song alone can have multiple songwriters, composers, recording artists, and musicians.

Instead of tracking every single person or company down to get permission to play just one single song, you can report what you have played to both SOCAN and Re:Sound, pay a fee to each organization, and SOCAN will handle paying royalties to publishers, songwriters, and composers while Re:Sound will pay royalties to recording artists, musicians, and record labels.

Fortunately, Live365 has secured licensing in Canada from both SOCAN and Re:Sound, meaning all Live365 streams are covered in Canada already! Don't worry about the hassle of reporting to SOCAN and Re:Sound each month, Live365 also handles all of that!

Interested in starting a station with Live365? Click here. Have questions? Contact us at

Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended as legal advice. Please consult with qualified professionals if you have specific questions about copyrights and licensing.

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Article Image: Michael Mroczek via Unsplash.

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About Sarah Osborne

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