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Trying to spruce up your music grant writing ability?
Is it possible to have a successful music career without spending a dime or investing in it?
I get asked that question ALL the time. After all you want to make a real living from your music one day right? Time and time again you’ll hear people say “it takes money to make money.
So where in the hell is all this money gonna come from? Have you ever found yourself asking that question?
I know I have during an emergency trip to my local Long & Mcquade and finding out how much that new piece of equipment I desperately needed was going to cost.
Or how about when you get the quote back for that extravagant music video you had planned? Or better yet, coming back from a tour and realizing how much extra money you ended up spending that you DIDN’T have.
Let’s be honest funding your music career is no easy task but it is a necessity. So how do you overcome this roadblock?
Well some will turn to that plastic card in their wallets, maybe you’ve landed that coveted brand sponsorship, perhaps friends and family have big pockets and are willing to support you, or better yet you’ve got lottery winnings coming to you in the near future ….don’t forget about me if that’s the case 😉
Even if the above relates to you or not, there is still one avenue that you should certainly consider and take advantage of regardless of your situation, which is the area of grants!
Here’s the thing…
There are a lot of artists out there making a REAL living from their music careers and no I’m not talking about the Jay-Z’s and Beyonce’s of the world. More like lesser known independent artists who have learned how to leverage their fanbase and turn that into a well oiled and profitable machine.
A huge resource that has helped artists do just that, is tapping into the power of grants and leveraging these opportunities to further their careers at a much faster rate.
While applying for grants is nothing new, so many artists don’t realize what grants can do for their careers. They walk around with a less than optimistic “oh I never win anything anyways” attitude or worse yet — they think that applying is too much of a challenge and become super discouraged.
We at Music With Flavor want to help you change that mindset and in doing so we hope to to help you gain the confidence you need to go after all the grant money out there and available to you.
With that said we decided to reach out to FACTOR, one of the more notable grant companies around, and get their perspective on how their whole grant process works.
Below is an interview with Karina Moldovan, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Officer over at FACTOR.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background in music?
My background in music is purely administrative, I have no musical talent unfortunately! I went to the Harris Institute in Toronto for the Artist Management program and learned most of what I know about the music industry from there.
I’ve been at FACTOR for 4 years, I started out as the Office Coordinator, had a brief stint as a Project Coordinator, and have been the Communications Officer for 2.5 years now.
In this role I manage FACTOR’s website, all our documents and resources, our attendance at various events across the country, and keeping the public and our stakeholders informed about what FACTOR is doing.
For those who may not know, what is Factor and your organizations overall mission?
FACTOR, which stands for the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings, is a public/private organization that provides grants to the Canadian music industry through a variety of programs. FACTOR’s mandate is to provide assistance toward the growth and development of the Canadian music industry, primarily through the production of sound recordings.
Though the production of sound recordings was the main mission and how FACTOR came to be, we also have programs for marketing, touring, showcasing, events, and business development and travel grants for publishers, record labels, artist managers, and distributors.
What is the biggest mistake you see artists making when submitting music grants?
I’m not sure if there is one big obvious mistake that people make, it’s often just small things that unfortunately lower their chances of being funded.
Speaking specifically about FACTOR’s two juried programs, Artist Development and Juried Sound Recording, which as their name implies, are juried – applicants need to ensure that they really put their best foot forward when applying, as these programs are incredibly competitive.
It’s important to make sure you are very specific when you outline what your goals are for your project, upload assessment tracks that showcase your best work, proofread your application, don’t leave anything blank, and if you have any questions whatsoever it’s best to give your Project Coordinator a call!
They are there to help. We also have a document on our site called the Jury Assessment Preparation Guide, which gives applicants a few pointers!
What do you feel is the biggest challenge artists, are currently faced with?
Funding is definitely a challenge, as seen by the competitiveness in our programs. The number of applicants has been on a steady rise the past few years with no signs of slowing down.
There is a lot of deserving talent out there, and unfortunately only so many grants available, not just through FACTOR but across the country.
We do want to encourage applicants to keep trying to apply for grants through various funding organizations, nationally, provincially, and locally, to realize their project. As much as it is competitive, there are lots of opportunities to try to take advantage of.
Does FACTOR put on any events or workshops that artists can take advantage of?
We’ve started putting on more of our own events, information sessions and such. Generally, we support many events across the country through our Sponsorship and Collective Initiatives programs, and we do our best to have a physical presence at a handful of them.
As the demand increases, we will continue to hold more and more info sessions, either at our office or off-site locations, to help people learn more about FACTOR. Keep an eye on our socials and our site! Also, for those living outside of Ontario, we have MIAs (Music Industry Associations) in every province/territory that are there to help out with anything FACTOR related. They very often hold workshops and sessions, so it’s worth becoming a member and keeping in touch with them!
Who are some rising artists that Factor is currently working with?
So many! We love to share our #FACTORfunded artists through our social media channels, we have some success stories up on our site, as well as in our Annual Report.
Some fantastic recently funded artists include Jeremy Dutcher, River Tiber, The Strumbellas, Narcy, Daniel Caesar, Sean Leon, Prime Boys, July Talk, I mean the list goes on. You can also see all of our grant recipients on our site in the Recipients section!
Key Takeaways From The Interview
We hope this has helped to shed some light on the whole grant process. We have consolidated some key concepts for you below and have also provided you with some extra tips to help guide you:
8 Tips for music grant writing success
- There can be a lot of competition when it comes to applying for grants — Don’t take them lightly and make sue you put your best foot forward.
- Proofread your application thoroughly and don’t leave anything blank.
- If you have questions DO NOT ASSUME — reach out to the grant company or someone with experience applying and ask them for advice. Eliminate guesswork as much as you can.
- Be aware of submission deadlines and set reminders so you not only to make sure you don’t miss it but to also give yourself enough time to submit an application you can be proud of.
- Be very specific about what you want and plan to do with the grant — They want to see that you plan to execute your plan regardless if you get the grant or not.
- Attend the events put on by companies offering grants — network and get to know the people who attend. You never know who you are talking to and they maybe able to offer you some great advice on the whole grant writing process.
- If writing gives you anxiety or you don’t have the time — look into getting a grant writer but make sure they have a good track record. Keep in mind though that paying a grant writer doesn’t guarantee that you will get the grant.
- Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the grant — Keep trying.
Wrapping It Up
The key message I want you to walk away with here is that there is a ton of free money out there that can help you grow your career.
Don’t ever become victim to the issue of “not enough money” because there are so many resources at your disposal that can help you to overcome this barrier. Companies like FACTOR happen to be just one of those resources!
While landing your first grant is never easy, they seem to get easier and easier once you get that first one out of the way. One thing is for sure though — if you don’t apply you will never get them.
Don’t be discouraged, do your research, ask questions, network and put your best foot forward — your time will come!
If you want to learn more about FACTOR and the amazing opportunities they are providing artists you can check them out here.
Music With Flavor Staff
Helping You Taste Success In Music