Canada's 'X' FACTOR: $19.5M In Maple Music Funding Last Year

Duncan McKie is president of FACTOR, the non-profit that oversees myriad programs benefitting musicians, songwriters and the infrastructure behind them on domestic and global stages. Details of its work are detailed in its annual report released Thursday.

Canada's 'X' FACTOR: $19.5M In Maple Music Funding Last Year

By David Farrell

Canada’s vibrant music scene, populated by musicians and songwriters--and the infrastructure behind them that includes managers, record companies, music publishers, agents and promoters, is inextricably bound together by a funding agency that is both the envy of the world and a role model for similar bodies that have sprung up since its inception in 1982.  Its role in nurturing, developing, funding and exploiting the nation’s longstanding and rich heritage in the music world is indisputable. We call it FACTOR but, in reality, the Foundation is perhaps better described as Canada’s ‘X’ Factor in promoting Canada's music on global stages.


The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR) has published its annual report that shows the non- profit music industry bank provided close to $19.5-million in grants and forgivable loans to over 2,000 projects in its fiscal year that ran April 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019.

With a full-time staff of 21, 13 board members, an advisory board of 15 organizations and more than 200 voluntary jurists adjudicating the merits of funding submissions, FACTOR provided $19.4M in funding to a total of 2,210 projects across 11 programs in the fiscal, set against funding requests totalling $46.9M in the year.


Highlights include:

– $3,697,295 in funding towards the creation of 315 new sound recordings.
– 1,194 domestic and international Tours and Showcases.
– 213 videos funded by FACTOR across all programs, for a total of $1,206,018.
– $1,134,360 in Industry Support through the foundation’s  Support for Eligible Music Companies program.
– $3,401,036 to 103 Collective Initiatives projects, and $418,700 to 61 Sponsorship projects.

Foundation funding comes through two sources: $10M through the Canada Music Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and $8.1M from CCD and 'tangible transaction benefits' paid by Canada’s private radio, satellite (Sirius XM) and pay-audio licensees (Stingray).


All in, FACTOR funded artists in the year won over 100 regional and national awards, including 9 Junos that included the Arkells Group of the Year win, six gold, two platinum and one triple platinum single certifications, and two gold albums (Daniel Caesar, and Charlotte Cardin).


Summarizing the accomplishments in the past year, Chair Meghan Symsyk (eOne VP, International marketing & management) notes that the foundation funded close to 3,400 international shows by 466 Canadian artists.

“This past year FACTOR has funded over 3,397 international dates for 466 artists — this includes 245 artists playing over 3,100 tour dates and 221 artists showcasing at just under 300 events all outside of Canada,” Symsyk acknowledges in the report. Continuing, she says: “Past juried recipients who are not yet Artist level 2 and 3 have also been able to access showcase and tour funding, which has garnered major support and appreciation from both the clients and partners at this stage in their budding careers.

“Over this last year, FACTOR has made great strides to study demand and make smart program changes and to find new opportunities to serve our partners and clients better. In 2018-2019, over 80% of the touring, showcase and business travel programs applications were approved, and we’ll be putting an additional 1 million dollars into these programs in the coming year. Export has been a critical focus of the Department of Canadian Heritage and we continue to support fantastic programs on the global stage such as Reeperbahn in Germany, Printemps de Bourges in France, while developing new markets and genre opportunities with Linecheck in Milan, Italy later this year and the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany in 2020.


“Through new CRTC mandates, we have received substantially increased funding for expanded video and other music programs. By using new funds from that source and other radio CCD benefits, FACTOR has developed a new program for publishers and expanded the available funding for songwriters’ workshops. To support the widest diversity possible in our programming, we are partnering with Musicaction to create more initiatives together in Canada and other territories.”


Joining her, foundation president Duncan McKie writes:

“This year, we partnered with Musicaction to support English artists at Printemps de Bourges, one of the most important festivals on the French calendar, and a place where European professionals from the Francophonie gather to hear and see new acts for festivals across France, Belgium and Switzerland. We expect to continue that collaboration as we see more opportunity for Canadian artists in traditional French markets.

"In conjunction with our efforts to support Canada as the country of honour for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020, we will again be working with Musicaction, who is the lead partner in assembling the Canadian presence for our sector at jazzahead! in Bremen. In support of the Frankfurt Book Fair, we will be assembling events to promote Canadian talent at the Berlin Film Festival, Elbjazz, and in Hamburg and Munich. As well, we will be creating the definitive music show for the Book Fair itself. These events will be done with the support of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, and the invaluable assistance of Sound Diplomacy in Germany.

"In the upcoming months, we will be working with Manitoba Music, developing and financing opportunities for Indigenous artists to showcase in Australia at Big Sound and in Germany with CIMA at the Reeperbahn Conference and Festival.

"Finally, with support for the Canadian Embassy in Rome, and the event organizers, we will present another Canada-focused event at the Linecheck Conference during Milan Music Week this November. A new foothold in Italy!


"All these activities, most importantly, will emphasize our mandates: firstly, to provide commercial opportunities for our artists and businesses, and, secondly, to provide stages for all of Canada’s diverse artistic communities.”

Click here to access the full report!

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

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