The next deadline is May 16. Stop what you’re doing. Write down that date. Continue reading the article. Apply for the grant. Get funded. Thank the Ottawa Beat in your liner notes.

By Byron Pascoe

One of the many great MEGAPHONO sessions I attended was called Funding For Black, Indigenous and Racialized Artists. Maya Bedward represented the Ontario Arts Council (the “OAC”).

One of the takeaways from the panel, moderated by Ottawa Beat’s editor Adella Khan, was that information is power. To help get us closer to ensuring that a true cross section our national musical community is represented when grants are granted, is to ensure everyone understands the funding opportunities.

The purpose of this article in print, is to encourage you to explore the Ontario Arts Council website, specifically, for the music grants. Now that you know your call to action, feel free to put down your coffee and paper, and jump online. However, if you want to read on, I will try to pass along some helpful notes.

According to the OAC, they support “artists and organizations working in a variety of styles and genres of music.”

The five music grant categories are Music Creation Projects, Music Organizations: Operating, Music Production and Presentation Projects, Music Recording Projects and Musiqueprojets francophones.

The Music Recording Projects program supports the recording of music by Ontario-based musicians including composers, songwriters, and beat producers. This program has combined and replaced the previous Popular Music and Classical Music Recording programs. Also to note is that if beat producers are recording beats/soundscapes with the idea that this music will be used for future works by other artists, they should apply to the Music Creation Projects.

This program’s next application deadline is May 16, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. Add that deadline, and many reminders, in that book where you keep deadlines, on a few sticky notes, in your phone, or preferably all of the above.


Two Categories


  • There are two Music Recording Projects program categories: Demo/EP recordings and Full-length album.
  • The EP can be a typical EP, or a series of individually released songs.
  • The full-length must be at least 26 minutes, and according to the OAC, should be ready or nearly ready to begin recording.
  • They note that if your project features non-Ontario composers, a compelling case must be made for how the project will enhance existing public offerings.
  • The OAC may provide up to $5,000 for a Demo/EP recording and $12,000 for a full length album.



  • Among other options, you’re eligible if you’re a professional musician and/or composer, and an Ontario resident with a permanent physical address in Ontario.
  • Professional music ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations based in Ontario with a permanent physical address in Ontario are also eligible.
  • The OAC defines a professional artist as someone who has developed skills through training or practice, is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for her or his work and actively practices his or her art. Short breaks in artistic work history are acceptable.

Unfortunately for me, lawyers aren’t eligible, but neither are recording studios, record companies/labels, managers, agents and others.


What The Grant Money Covers


  • The program funds expenses including recording, mixing, mastering, artist and producer fees (including fees to the applicant!), studio and venue rental, art, promo, manufacturing up to a thousand units, and equipment rental.
  • The program does not cover expenses for activities that take place outside of Ontario, a re-release of previously recorded material, music videos and more.
  • The activities for which you are requesting funding cannot start before the deadline, cannot finish before you receive your grant results (about four months after the deadline) and must be completed no more than two years after you receive the grant results.
  • Full-length recording projects are considered complete once the recording is publicly available.


Next Steps


  • Finish your coffee.
  • Read the Guide to OAC Project Programs and Guide to OAC Assessment . . . and the rest of the details on this grant. This article is not a replacement for the full guidelines!
  • Register with Nova—the OAC’s online grant application system.
  • Prepare and submit your application, which includes project information; answers to the application questions on artistic merit, impact and viability; budget; artistic examples (two audio or video examples—no more than five minutes in total); and supporting documents (CV, letters of confirmation from key participants).

That’s it, that’s all.

Shameless plug for the Artists’ Legal Services Ottawa ARTS LAW CONFERENCE on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at Arts Court. I’m on the board of directors, and will be speaking about music law at this full day of legal information and fun.

Byron Pascoe is a lawyer with the Ottawa-based Edwards PC, Creative Law (, which provides legal services to Music, Digital Media, Game, TV, Film, and Animation industry clients. He can be reached at
Byron works with musicians and music companies to assist with record label agreements, publishing contracts, distribution deals, producer agreements, band agreements, etc.

This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Please contact a lawyer if you wish to apply these concepts to your specific circumstances.