FAQ

The Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada (MROC) is a Canadian federally incorporated not-for-profit organization whose primary objective is to collect and distribute royalties to musicians and vocalists. As a not-for-profit organization governed by musicians and experts working in the music industry, MROC’s main goal is to help you earn as much as you can from the private copying and use of your performances on sound recordings. MROC represents more than 12,000 musicians, from session players to featured artists, recording across the full range of genres.

MROC distributes the performer’s (i.e., the musician’s and vocalist’s) share of neighbouring rights (also known as equitable remuneration rights in Canada) and private copying monies. Neighbouring rights royalties primarily flow from the broadcast and public performance of sound recordings such as on radio, non-interactive streaming services and in bars, restaurants, fitness clubs and other businesses. Private copying monies are generated by levies applied to importers of blank audio recording media to compensate musicians (as well as labels, songwriters and music publishers but distributed via different organizations) for copies of music made by Canadians for their personal use. In Canada royalty rates are established in tariffs determined by the Copyright Board of Canada.

MROC also distributes royalties that it collects from similar organizations in other countries.  

The term “neighbouring rights” refers to the rights of performers (musicians and vocalists) and sound recording labels (“makers”) to receive payment for the broadcast and public performance of their recordings. This payment is referred to as “equitable remuneration” in Canada’s Copyright Act.

Neighbouring rights are relatively new in Canada.  Until 1997 only songwriters and music publishers received royalties for music broadcast or publicly performed because the Copyright Act of Canada  provided for royalties only in relation to songs (musical works). With changes to the Copyright Act in 1997, royalties were introduced for the performances of sound recordings as well.  This meant that record labels (makers of the sound recordings) became entitled to royalties for the broadcast and public performance of their sound recordings; and that musicians (performers) became entitled to royalties for their performances on those sound recordings).

Private copying levies are funds collected in Canada on the sales of blank audio recording media, and which are out paid to musicians and vocalists, among others.  The manufacturers and importers of these media are required to collect a levy on the media they sell in order to compensate performers, sound recording makers, songwriters and publishers for the copying of their works by private individuals. This type of copying would otherwise provide no compensation to the copyright owners. The levy is collected by the Canadian Private Copying Collective (www.cpcc.ca) and distributed to MROC, via Re:Sound, for further distribution to the performers it represents. Since the use of blank recording media has dramatically declined in the last decade, the private copying levy in Canada has become a minor source of income for performers.

Re:Sound [formerly the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC)] is a not-for-profit collective created in 1997. Re:Sound’s two principal roles are to establish royalty rates (through negotiation with music users and/or proceedings before the Copyright Board of Canada) and to collect those royalties.  In 2019, Re:Sound and SOCAN established a joint venture – EnTandem – to simplify the collection process.  Re:Sound then sends to MROC its share of the royalties collected by Re:Sound and EnTandem for MROC to distribute to its musicians and vocalists.

SCAPR (Societies’ Council for the Collective Management of Performers’ Rights) is a not-for-profit organisation based in Brussels, Belgium. It is an organization that provides a forum for practical cooperation between performers’ collective management organisations (CMOs) around the world. SCAPR strives with its members to improve the exchange of data and performers’ rights payments across borders.

MROC is a proud member of SCAPR and is pleased to participate in a number of SCAPR initiatives which are of great benefit to our members, such as VRDB, the centralized international repertoire database, which allows foreign claims to be processed more efficiently and accurately. The International Performers Database (IPD) allows MROC to identify and resolve mandate conflicts which would otherwise prevent performers from receiving their royalties. It’s through the IPD that performers around the world are assigned International Performer Numbers (IPNs) to facilitate the payment of royalties to the correct performers.

If you’ve signed up with MROC and provided information about the recordings you’ve performed on, MROC pays royalties for your performances on sound recordings that have been broadcast (on radio or via non-interactive streaming) or played in public (such as in bars or restaurants or as background to a live event) where those recordings appear in the usage data for distribution. These payments are called “neighbouring rights” or “equitable remuneration” royalties. MROC also distributes monies flowing from the private copying levy. The royalties paid by MROC can originate in Canada or other countries around the world.

“Music” is often considered a single thing.  But a song and the sound recording of it are two separate things.  When a song is recorded, the resulting “music” has two components: a sound recording and the underlying song.  And there are different contributors to each. Performers on the sound recording receive royalties for their performance on it.  The maker of the sound recording (typically a music label) receives royalties for the performance of the sound recording (as well as receiving other types of royalties as well). Songwriters receive royalties for writing the song that is performed on the recording.

MROC pays musicians and vocalists for the airplay or performance of recordings that they have performed on. They do not need to have written, published or own the underlying songs or works to receive money from MROC.

SOCAN pays composers, songwriters and music publishers for the airplay and performance of their songs whether the performance is live or recorded.  If you are a composer, songwriter or publisher, please visit the SOCAN website for more information on the royalties available to you: http://www.socan.com/

Under Canadian copyright law, creators may be eligible to receive multiple royalties.  If in addition to performing on a sound recording, you’ve played any of the following roles: songwriter or composer, music publisher, label or owner of the sound recording, there may be additional royalties for you.

SOCAN administers royalties for composers, songwriters and publishers. MROC administers royalties for performers on sound recordings. Royalties for the sound recording owner are distributed by Connect Music Licensing, SOPROQ, or Re:Sound directly.

Songwriters, composers and publishers are also able to receive royalties for the reproduction of their musical works, through either SOCAN or CMRRA.

To inquire about royalties for these other possible roles, you should contact these other organizations.

To collect your royalties, you first need to register yourself with MROC and authorize us to collect royalties on your behalf. You do not need to be a member of a union to sign up with MROC. Once you have completed that step, we will provide you with an online account and you’ll then need to register your repertoire with us. MROC may already have some of your recording information on file, so you should review your online account and then only submit the information for new or missing recordings.

MROC will pay you by either direct deposit or cheque. We encourage all members to register for direct deposit as this is the quickest and most secure way to be paid. We also typically wait until your outstanding royalties reach $250 before we issue a cheque.  There is no minimum for direct deposit so you will receive your payments earlier.

MROC has quarterly claim and distribution periods throughout the year. However, the domestic airplay data we use is only aggregated on an annual basis. This means that performers who are caught up with their domestic royalties will not receive payment until the next year’s airplay data becomes available. Foreign royalties are distributed on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

There are many variables involved in the calculation of your royalties. Some recordings may not be eligible for payment from certain royalty streams because of eligibility criteria established in copyright law.  As well, the amount payable for a particular recording in a particular distribution is dependent on the number of times that recording appears in the usage data, whether the number of plays of a recording have been weighted for a distribution, how many eligible recordings appear in the data for a particular distribution, as well as other factors. 

It is important to understand that, in most cases, usage data is based on airplay information received from broadcasters.  If a performance is not logged, it cannot be counted.

Your role on the recording – whether featured or non-featured – as well as the number of other performers on a particular recording will affect the amount you can expect to receive. Generally, under our current distribution rules, background musicians and vocalists share 20% of the total royalties allocated to the recording. The remaining 80% goes to the “featured” performers/artists. There are different divisions for classical recordings.

The Feature performers (“Feature”) on a recording are typically the members of the credited band or group, the main artist(s), or perhaps a guest artist or soloist on recording.  Often, these are the performers who have a contract with a music label for ongoing royalties from the recording.  The Non-Feature performers are typically the background musicians, backing vocalists, etc, who are not party to the recording contract, but have likely just been paid a flat fee for a particular recording session.

You should sign up with MROC so that you can collect any neighbouring rights royalties and private copying money which is owed to you, in Canada and around the world.

Generally, if you have contributed an audible performance to a sound recording, you are considered a performer and can register with MROC.  Conductors are also considered performers even though their performance is not audible. You do not need to be a member of a union to sign up with MROC.

In some countries, (but not yet Canada) royalties are paid for the performance of scores of audiovisual works such as films and television programs (as well as other sound recordings integrated into those works). The composer is often the performer of these recordings, having performed the various parts for the score on equipment such as a digital audio workstation. MROC is establishing agreements to collect these types of royalties from countries in which these audiovisual works are protected.  So, composers who also perform their score can join MROC to receive their royalties.  For more information on how to join, please contact us at info@musiciansrights.ca.

MROC is a not-for-profit organization and there are no fees to sign up. An administrative fee is applied on the royalties we pay out to you. The MROC administration fee is 15% on royalties collected in Canada and 8.5% on royalties collected from other countries.

As an individual performer, you are unable to collect neighbouring rights and private copying royalties directly from users. According to the Copyright Act, these royalties must be paid via a collective management organization.  Fortunately, this leaves performers with more time to do what they do best – make great music!  And by signing with MROC you can access your royalties from many other countries, not just Canada.

In addition to ensuring that you are collecting your royalties, by signing with MROC you benefit from some additional benefits:

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Access to exceptional Instrument and Equipment Insurance from Intact Insurance, offered via Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) and HUB International
  • Participation in the governance of MROC: members who earn $500+ from MROC in two consecutive years have the right to vote for a director on the MROC Board or run for the position themselves.
  • Some complementary legal advice: if you want advice on setting up a band partnership agreement you get a free 30 minute consultation with MROC’s music and copyright lawyer Craig Parks.
  • Fast and efficient payments via direct deposit and access to our online portal system to easily manage your repertoire and payments.

In Canada performers can chose to have their royalties administered by MROC, RACS or ARTISTI. But you can only choose one.

MROC prides itself on its expertise and commitment to connecting performers with 100% of the royalties they are owed. MROC is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit organization run independently by a board of directors made up of musicians and industry representatives serving musicians. The organization grew out of a division of the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) office of the American Federation of Musicians.  While independent from the union, we continue to work closely with CFM in many ways, keeping MROC linked in on advocacy affecting performers and enabling us to give our registered performers access to exceptional instrument and equipment insurance. 

MROC is not only committed to a high level of service, but is always looking for ways to simplify the process for performers to receive their royalties, and continuously improves the software and systems we use to manage all of our data. We stay on top of these developments so that you can focus on your music.

Yes. Through agreements we’ve established with collectives in other countries with performance royalty regimes, MROC can collect royalties for your performances abroad. We currently have agreements covering the following countries: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the USA. Countries are added as new agreements are established.

Yes, you can designate MROC to only collect for you in specific countries. To make any changes to your mandate with MROC please call or email us.

E-Mail: info@musiciansrights.ca
Phone: 416-510-0279 | Fax: 416-510-8724 | Toll Free: 1-855-510-0279

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