Just the FACTs

With the demise of the Canada Council's Grants for Specialized Music Sound Recording, artists in the jazz and contemporary classical music genres (among others) are looking for new sources of funding in support of recording projects. With that in mind, I attended a session presented by FACTOR (the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), to see if FACTOR might be a good alternative to the Canada Council's program.

The short answer, unfortunately, is no. When the Canada Council's program was cut, those funds did not go to FACTOR, nor was a program dedicated to specialized music established at FACTOR. In essence, jazz musicians are competing against pop, country, hip-hop, etc., when applying for FACTOR funding.

That said, the staff who presented the session were sympathetic to the new challenges facing certain musical genres and encourage anyone looking to create a new jazz album to contact them to chat about the possibilities, and find out how to submit the best possible application. Here are a few programs for which jazz musicians might be eligible:

Juried Sound Recording Program (deadlines May 31 and October 29)

There are two branches of this program: the FACTOR loan and the independent loan.
  • Apply to the FACTOR loan if you've got a distribution deal in place with one of FACTOR's approved distributers (see their list) or if you can show previous sales of at least 2000 units (physical or digital). Under this program, you can apply for up to $25,000.
  • Apply to the independent loan if you don't meet the distribution and sales criteria listed above. Under this program, you can apply for up to $15,000.

Direct Board Approval Sound Recordings (deadlines May 31, August 31, November 30)

To apply to this program, you must be signed to a Canadian owned and Canadian controlled record label that has a proven track record. You can apply for up to $25,000.

Emerging Artist Sound Recording Program (deadlines June 15, September 15, December 15)

The Emerging Artist Program has been created for those grassroots artists whose careers are emerging at the National & International levels. The purpose is to provide a strong financial commitment to each project by funding the sound recording and marketing and promotion respectively, to help artists take their careers to the next level. Funding is available up to $50,000; an emerging artist is defined as an artist who can show previous sales of at least 1500 units.

Marketing & Promotion for Non-FACTOR Supported Sound Recordings (deadlines May 31, October 29)

This program is to support the marketing and promotion of sound recordings for which FACTOR did not provide financial assistance towards the production costs. Applicants may use their marketing funds to cover basic marketing, touring, showcasing and video production expenses. Applicants must apply no later than 12 months following the domestic release date of the sound recording. Funding is available up to $20,000 and funds are limited in this program.

Marketing & Promotion for FACTOR Supported Sound Recordings (deadlines June 25, September 15, November 15)

This program provides marketing support to sound recordings which were approved under the Juried, Direct Board and Emerging Artist programs.

Domestic & International Tour Support (deadlines May 31, July 29, September 30, November 30)

The Tour Support Program's objective is to support domestic and foreign touring activities by Canadian artists and to contribute to the development of the Canadian music industry both domestically and internationally. The maximum amount of funding available is $15,000; the sound recording that this tour will support must have sold a minimum of 2,000 confirmed units.

For the complete list of programs, go to factor.ca. You can browse their site or try using their FACTOR Wizard, which will help direct you to the appropriate program.

A few more thoughts:

1. Sales numbers are important. If you're not yet hooked up with an independent distributor like CD Baby or Tunecore, do that now. They're probably the best and easiest way to track physical and digital sales. The one challenge is venue (i.e. offstage) sales. It seems the only current way to track venue sales is to submit them to Soundscan...but it costs $500 per year to register, which is prohibitive. FACTOR wants to make tracking venue sales easier; if you've got any ideas, let them know.

2. Make sure you do your research. I've listed here the programs that I think are most promising for jazz musicians, but I'm only passing on the information I was given - eligibility, deadline dates, and more might change so make sure you are getting the most accurate information directly from FACTOR.

3. APPLY! One of the best ways to show the government that jazz needs funding programs is to inundate programs like FACTOR with high-quality applications. Let's be sure to not let the government off the hook by becoming complacent - keep the applications coming!

For more information on FACTOR programs I encourage you to speak with Brent Bain in the FACTOR submissions department: (416) 696-2215, ext. 221 or brent.bain@factor.ca.

And finally, if you have other suggestions for funding sources, or other suggestions for how to draw attention to the lack of funding available for jazz recording projects, please add your comments...


P.S. - For an interesting night of jazz and East Indian fusion, check out the 3rd annual Indo-Jazz Festival, this Thursday, April 29, at Lula Lounge. Details are at lula.ca.

P.P.S. - Congratulations to all of the JUNO Award winners! Terry Clarke, whose album It's About Time won Traditional Jazz Album of the Year, will perform as part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival on Friday, July 2, at the Trane Studio; a number of the other nominees (Darren Sigesmund, Jaffa Road, Hilario Duran) will also be performing as part of the festival this summer!

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