Province to extend Ontario Music Fund permanently

The provincial government’s highly touted Ontario Music Fund (OMF) will be extended from a three-year program to a permanent, recurring grant program, officials announced Wednesday.

3-year, $45-million program to be made permanent

The Dirty Nil perform live at Supercrawl 2014 in downtown Hamilton. Supercrawl received $150,000 from The Ontario Music Fund in 2014-15. (Adam Carter/CBC)

The provincial government's highly touted Ontario Music Fund (OMF) will be extended from a three-year program to a permanent, recurring grant program, officials announced Wednesday.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Coteau and Minister of Finance Charles Sousa made the announcement during the Supercrawl 2015 lineup reveal in downtown Hamilton.

"We know that when we promote culture and art, we promote who we are as people," Sousa said. "We know how important this is for our economy."

The (OMF) program was originally announced in 2013, and was intended to be a three-year, $45-million grant to bolster the effort's of Ontario's record labels, industry associations, music startups and promoters.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa told the crowd at Wednesday's Supercrawl lineup announcement that Ontario has one of the world's most diverse music sectors. (Adam Carter/CBC)

The fund provides $15 million a year to fund the music industry. The province says that the OMF's first year helped "create or retain" 2,000 jobs and generate $24 million in revenue for "music related businesses."

Supercrawl, and its parent record label Sonic Unyon, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money in 2014-15 thanks to the OMF. Sonic Unyon received $100,000, while Supercrawl got $150,000.

"The music fund has been a tremendous help with the festival," said organizer Tim Potocic, who said the cash was used to bolster staging and programming.

Other recipients of OMF funding include independent record labels like Arts and Crafts and Dine Alone Music, alongside festivals like the Ottawa Folk Fest.

Major labels are also receiving a large chunk of provincial cash too, though – Universal Music Canada received $1.2 million in 2014-15, and Warner Music Canada and Sony Music Canada received $750,000 and $475,000, respectively. 

Minister Coteau said the government is pumping that kind of money into already-established major labels to make sure big artists record in Canada. "We know by supporting organizations like Universal, we're keeping artists here to record, and that's what we want," he said.

Artists like A Tribe Called Red and Silverstein also got OFM funding funding last year.

adam.carter@cbc.ca | @AdamCarterCBC


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