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LICENSING A RADIO STATION IN CANADA

Written by on July 3, 2020

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of discussions and questions about licensing for internet streaming radio. It can be a complicated process depending on where in the world you live and broadcast. Being from Canada myself, I can help navigate this world for other Canadians (or those broadcasting here in the Great White North).

In Canada, the organization that licenses stations and collects fees on artists’ behalf is called SOCAN, or the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. Internet Radio Stations fall under a category SOCAN calls “Internet – Other Uses of Music – Audio Websites”. The fee they charge is based on the amount of music that you play (as a percentage) versus other content. For music stations like ours (Fusion109), we are calculated as 95% of our programming and remit a yearly fee based on this.

These calculations are made using Tariff 22F which can be found on the SOCAN Website. Once filling out this information and submitting it to SOCAN, you will be contacted for payment. They operate a year behind, meaning when you pay fees for the previous year, you are given the licensed badge for the next year. (ie. I paid for 2019, and received the “Licensed To Play” badge for 2020).

SOCAN will contact you from time to time to submit the music you are playing, but these reports are quite infrequent given the type of license we are registered with.

This is honestly as complicated it gets if you’re strictly an internet radio station. If you serve other functions, you may fall under different Tariffs depending on your specific circumstance, but these are the basics.

I encourage you, before finalizing your licensing plans to reach out to SOCAN, by email or by phone. They are very helpful and eager to assist you in your broadcasting endeavors.


As of July 2019, Entandem took over SOCAN licensing for businesses, this does not apply to broadcasters or digital media sources. If you are a business that uses music in other ways, reach out to them for licensing.


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