SOCAN launches “Licensed to Play” campaign

SOCAN—the Society of Composes, Authors and Publishers of Canada—launched a campaign for businesses to promote their “ethical” use of music. In the first phase of the campaign, a “Licensed to Play” sticker will be distributed to more than 30,000 retailers, bars, restaurants, fitness studios, clubs and offices that are up-to-date with their 2014 SOCAN license. […]

SOCAN—the Society of Composes, Authors and Publishers of Canada—launched a campaign for businesses to promote their “ethical” use of music.

In the first phase of the campaign, a “Licensed to Play” sticker will be distributed to more than 30,000 retailers, bars, restaurants, fitness studios, clubs and offices that are up-to-date with their 2014 SOCAN license.

They are encouraged to display the sticker on windows and doors to show customers that licensed businesses “are standing behind music and the people who made the music, who oftentimes make a living from the royalties that come from things like music licensing,” Andrew Berthoff, vice-president of communications and marketing at SOCAN.

SOCAN’s membership includes 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers.

“License to Play is long-term program with the core objective of encouraging businesses and their customers to think of music as being of instrumental to their experience,” said Berthoff.

A digital version of the graphic will be distributed for licensed businesses to display on their websites. As companies continue to report to SOCAN—which licenses more than 125,000 businesses in Canada—more stickers will be distributed.

The goal is that over time, the graphic will become recognizable to customers, who will come to think of a licensed organization as one that really values music and plays it legally and ethically, said Berthoff.

The program includes social media elements, with upcoming contests and incentives to SOCAN members, licensees and the general public for sharing sightings and stories when they see the Licensed to Play sticker. SOCAN will also place ads in trade magazines for the retail and restaurant industries, but for now, the big focus is on PR.

“We’re really trying to use communications to tell our story,” said Berthoff. “SOCAN takes explaining and it’s a very difficult thing to explain in advertising. We certainly do advertise, but the best way to tell our story is to get out there and engage people in conversation as much as possible.”

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