Online Licensing FAQ

I am reproducing music for the purpose of online music distribution, e.g. permanent downloads, streaming, webcasting

If you plan to distribute musical works digitally to Canadian consumers or listeners using desktop or mobile applications, you'll need to obtain an online music licence. The licensing of online music services in Canada is carried out by CSI (CMRRA-SODRAC Inc) on behalf of CMRRA. For more information, see CMRRA’s Tariffs page or visit CSI's Website.

If you are a performing artist or a record company who wish to distribute recordings to Canadian consumers via a third party online music service, such as iTunes or Spotify, please note that you are not required to obtain a reproduction rights licence for the musical works embedded in those recordings. In Canada, such licences are granted by CSI to the online music services who, in turn, pay royalties to CSI for their streaming and downloading activities.

Who handles online licensing and royalties in Canada?

CMRRA, together with SODRAC (Société du droit de reproduction des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada), jointly license their repertoires to the online music services under the umbrella of CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. (CSI).

CSI administers the Online Music Service Tariff certified by the Copyright Board of Canada. For more information about CSI's tariffs, please visit CSI's website.

I am a record label, do I need to seek online licences in Canada?

To the extent you are only offering tracks for downloads or streams via a third party online music service (such as iTunes for example), you are not required to seek licences for the distribution of those downloads or streams to Canadian consumers. In Canada, it is the responsibility of the online music service to seek licences for this purpose.

However, if you are offering tracks online on your own, from your own website or otherwise, and without the services of a third party online music service, then you are required to seek licences from CSI, or CMRRA, for this purpose.

For more information, please visit CSI's Website.

I am a company or service offering downloads or streams of musical works to Canadians. How do I begin the licensing process?

The best place to start is to visit CSI's website.

CSI is the entity that issues licences in Canada for the reproduction of musical works by online music services. CSI represents CMRRA's repertoire for this purpose.

Inquiries to CSI can also be directed at the following address:

If I have a CSI online licence, do I need any other licences?

Most likely yes. You may need a licence from SOCAN for the telecommunication right and from Connect Music Licensing for the use of master recordings.

Please contact these organizations to find out more.