Do you often wistfully dream about turning your original music into a full-length album, or wish you had enough money to go on tour? If you’re a talented Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, or band, there’s a gold mine of potential grant money waiting for you, and all you have to do is submit your application. So, who’s giving away free money to musicians? FACTOR a.k.a. the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings provides funding that can fast-track your music projects.
What Is FACTOR All About?
FACTOR is a private organization that offers various music grants to Canada’s crop of talented independent musicians and musical artists. If you’re among them, you may qualify for one or more grants funded by private and government sources. Basically, organizations such as FACTOR exist to help put talented Canadian music artists on the map nationally and internationally.
What Does FACTOR Fund?
FACTOR funds a variety of programs that give money to independent artists eager to make English-language sound recordings. Want to make French-language recordings? Check out Musicaction for similar funding opportunities.
Recording music that sounds crisp and professional comes with a high price tag. FACTOR can help you out by giving you money to pay for renting studio time, professional sound engineers, recording equipment, and recording software. While the funds won’t cover your total expenses, they do cover a good chunk of these costs. Are you getting excited? There’s more. The money you receive for sound recording is often just one component of a larger FACTOR program.
- Artist Development. If you’re relatively new on the music scene, or if you’re changing the direction of your career, this category is a great choice. Grant monies go toward sound recording, touring, music showcases, music videos, marketing and promoting your music. Get a head start on your application by creating your artist development plan, which involves researching the cost and logistics of all the above activities. This program is open to music artists with a General Artist or Artist 2 profile. If you’re at Artist 3 level, you’re not eligible. Potential funding: 75% reimbursement of costs up to $2,000; donated artist services claims up to $500.
- Comprehensive Artist. If you’re an independent unsigned artist, and your dream is to record an album, this program offers you a pathway to make your recording artist dream come true. You’re required to submit an estimated budget and timeline for completing your album project. If you’re an Artist 3 who’s never sold over 100,000 albums in your life, you’re eligible. Potential funding: 50% of total budget up to $45,000 in first phase; after qualifying sales, up to $40,000 in second phase.
- Juried Sound Recording. If you need help paying for your full-length album, a music video, live performances, and marketing, this comprehensive program can give your career a big boost. The sound recording component is mandatory, so only choose this program if you’re committed to the album. You must submit two MP3 tracks, a marketing plan, and a recording start date with your application. Funds are available for independent General Artist or Artist 2 musicians who are unsigned. Potential funding: 75% of total eligible budget; 50% of funds paid upon approval with remaining funds paid on final completion of projects. Amounts range from $15,000 to $40,000.
- Live Performance. Get financial assistance for live performance costs, including touring gigs and showcases. This program requires you to have a current sound recording release or an upcoming release. You may want to contact FACTOR for more clarification on whether you need a full-length album or if singles are acceptable. Go for this one if your profile rating is General Artist, Artist 2, or Artist 3. Potential funding: 50% paid upon acceptance, and the remaining is paid on final completion. Amounts vary for touring and showcase components, ranging from $7,500 to $35,000.
What Doesn’t FACTOR Fund?
FACTOR is pretty awesome, but it does have limitations. There are a whole bunch of things this organization does not fund. Forget about asking it to pay recording studios, concert promoters, and video producers directly. It won’t pay for private showcases or cover tickets for your most loyal fans. Performing at open mic nights? Nope. Battle of the bands? Nope. How about manufacturing CDs for retail sale? You’re on your own. Oh, and avoid asking FACTOR to cover core operational costs or to pay for those fancy business cards you love handing out.
How Do I Apply for FACTOR Music Grants?
Begin your application by setting up your online artist profile. Thankfully, applying for FACTOR programs is a relatively easy process, and the online application process is very user friendly. Each program application contains one or more components broken into specific categories such as songwriting, recording, and touring. Be prepared to submit an artist’s development plan. Include specifics about all recording and promotional activities. Also, be as detailed as possible because the project coordinator wants to know how the money you receive is going to be spent.
Let’s pretend you’re awarded big money. Hooray! At this point, FACTOR sends you its funding agreement, and you must give it your banking details so it knows where to send the money. After everything is set up, your obligations include sending your project coordinator a mid-term report on your progress, and steadily working on achieving everything you listed in your application. Make sure you let FACTOR know about any changes you make to your artist’s development plan. Good communication is key to maintaining your funding status all the way to project completion.
FACTOR is a reliable organization that offers financial support for music projects, helping you achieve your ultimate dream of becoming a professional recording artist.