Duncan McKie – FACTOR – Public funding for art and business

The next talk was Duncan McKie, President of FACTOR, Canada’s joint government and private sector fund for recording artists, songwriters, and music businesses. The company currently provides in excess of $14 million annually to support the Canadian music industry.

Duncan explained the roots of FACTOR, which emerged out of something called  the Canadian Talent Library. It was founded in 1982 but in 1986 began managing the Canada Music Fund with an annual budget of $200,000. This was increased by the late 1980s to $25,000,000, and by 2006 had changed name to Canadian Content Development, 50% of whose budget comes from radio contributions.

These days FACTOR now supports some 18 program streams, divided into categories like sound recording programs, marketing and promotion and collective initiatives.

In the 2011-2012 period they received 3881 applications for finding, totalling 43 million Canadian dollars and approved 1783 of them, giving out a total of 16 million. 26% of that money goes into the development of sound recordings, 38% into marketing and promotion,  20% into touring and showcasing 20%. In total, the money supported around 231 sound recordings, 265 demos and singles, 43 videos, 66 domestic tours, 148 international showcases and more, overall creating a GDP Impact of $303 million per year and 13,000 FTE (full time jobs).

Among the notable acts to receive FACTOR funding are Arcade Fire, Nickelback, Feist, Sarah McLachlan and Holly Cole, though Duncan pointed out how the funds support emerging bands too, such as Sheepdogs, Alyssa Reia, Sophie Milman, Carly Rae Jepsen.