In Alberta, as in the other provinces and territories of Canada, the playing of music for the purpose of Physical Exercises and Dance instruction requires the employer licenses the playback of music through the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) under Tariff 19.

If you are employed as a dance educator, confirm that your employer has obtained a SOCAN license for their business and if they have not then you can contact SOCAN for information about the steps required to ensure that the music in your class is being used legally and ethically.

In conversation with SOCAN (June 2019) the Alberta Dance Alliance learned that with upcoming changes to SOCAN licensing, dance educators will no longer have the option to carry a license as an individual. Instead, it is always, and 100% the responsibility of employers of dance educators using music in their classes to license the location(s) in which music playback occurs. Further, coming in 2019/2020, there will no longer be any 3rd party options for employers to obtain their SOCAN license by holding a membership with another organization. In fact, this process is being transitioned (July 2019) into a new form amalgamating the concerns of SOCAN and Re:Sound into a new initiative called Entandem music licensing. In the near future, licensing music for the purpose of Physical Exercises and Dance instruction in Canada will be handled by Entandem. Until then, follow these three steps, to apply for your SOCAN license:

  1. Read the Tariff 19 info sheet,
  2. Use this calculator to establish your fees,
  3. Fill in and submit the application form.

The money paid to play music, through SOCAN licenses, is used to compensate music creators, whose music is used to make your business better and more successful. All employers of dance educators must join SOCAN to use music legally and ethically, and support songwriters, composers and music publishers that create and nurture it.

SOCAN specifically told ADA that “Alberta’s dance educator employers cannot wait until the end of their year to determine their participant numbers.” This has been an ongoing issue and must stop. By analogy, “this would be like a liquor store applying for a license after they have been selling liquor for a year.” If you are unsure of what your participant numbers will be for the coming year, SOCAN is happy to take an estimate that is based on the number of participants that an employer requires to be financially viable during a year, based on operating expenses. This applies primarily to new employers who do not yet have other means of estimating the number of participants that they can expect. For those employers who have data from years past, the participant numbers from previous years, adjusted for anticipated growth or decline, can be used as a baseline for participant numbers. Either way, if you are playing music for the purposes of physical exercises and dance instruction, you need to contact SOCAN to ensure you obtain a license BEFORE you begin employing educators in carrying out these activities. Retroactive licensing is not a thing.

“The best, and most reasonable place to get a permit to play music at the studio,” is, therefore and only, through SOCAN/Entandem itself, by way of the employers obtaining a license for their operations that include playing music for the purpose of physical exercise and dance instruction.