Self-producers are still waiting to be recognized by SODEC

The dizzying decline in album sales is pushing more and more artists to self-produce rather than sign with a record company. However, those who go it alone are still not taken into account by SODEC, the largest funder of the cultural community. Subsidy programs should be put in place soon for self-producers, but are still pending.

The Society for the Development of Cultural Enterprises (SODEC), as its name suggests, helps « cultural enterprises », which, in the music world, comes down to talking about production companies, record companies or more publishers. Most artists who self-produce are also incorporated as a business, but the criteria of many programs put in place by SODEC currently exclude them.

For example, to be fully eligible for the new Music Publishing Assistance Program, companies must have at least three artists under contract who are not shareholders of the company. However, artists who self-produce are certainly legally considered companies, but they do not represent other artists, and they are very often the sole shareholder of their company.

Requirements that revolt Guillaume Déziel, the former manager of the Misteur Valaire group, who was a pioneer of self-production ten years ago. “We were driving with half a million in turnover, with nine full-time people on the payroll, but we were not considered a cultural enterprise. Since five of the nine shareholders were guys from Misteur Valaire, we didn’t qualify. It was like that back then, and it hasn’t changed. It’s not going well ! laments the one who is now a consultant in the music industry.

In May 2021, he was the instigator of an open letter bringing together a hundred artists and demanding that SODEC consider self-producers. This week, he again protested on social networks that the situation has not been resolved since.

New reality

He regrets this time that several independent artists will not be entitled to full and complete assistance to assume their own musical publishing, which consists roughly in enhancing their catalog. This is the case of singer-songwriter Andréanne A. Malette, who has been self-producing for five years.

“To be eligible, I would have to take other artists under my wing. But if I do that, my career dies. It’s neither to my advantage nor to that of others, » she explains, specifying that otherwise, self-producing is much more advantageous in the current context than being tied to a producer or a house. discs.

SOPROQ, a non-profit organization that manages the rights of producers, estimates that nearly 80% of artists today are self-producers. However, not all of them have the same level of independence, some doing business sometimes with a publisher, sometimes with a record company or a producer, on a case-by-case basis. Andréanne A. Malette is sure that SODEC will eventually adapt to this new situation in the music industry.


In June 2021, the National Assembly unanimously voted for a motion for SODEC, a state-owned company, to recognize self-producing artists. “A lot of work has been done in the last few months, and I know there are programs coming up. But the criteria for admission to the new publishing program show that there’s still a long way to go, that it’s still only the beginning,” underlines the president of the Musicians’ Guild, Luc Fortin.

Mr. Fortin believes that the voice of self-producers is perhaps not enough at the decision-making table of SODEC, where the main record labels, large producers and Quebec publishers are all well represented. A member of SODEC’s Record Commission, the founder of the Regroupement des artisans de la musique (RAM), David Bussières, has spared no effort in recent months to ensure that the institution adapts to the reality of self-producers.

“You have to understand that the new publishing program was thought out probably two years ago. Since then, there has been a complete paradigm shift within SODEC. But unfortunately, the changes we hope for do not happen overnight,” adds the artist from the Alfa Rococo duo.

SODEC ensures that specific programs for self-producers will be put in place for 2023. A report to this effect should be submitted by the beginning of November. The process is following its course, and will continue, even if a change occurs next week at the head of the Ministry of Culture when the new Council of Ministers is unveiled, adds David Bussières.

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