Because of financial concerns, some musical projects never progress past the “light bulb” stage. So, unsurprisingly, one of the most common questions SOCAN members ask is, “How do I get funding?” Although we can’t cover everything in one article, here are some representative samples of available grants at the international. national, provincial and municipal levels.

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) – Research and Creation Program

Still in the very early stages of your musical project? Start by applying for CALQ’s Research and Creation program. Admissible projects include composing songs and musicals, creating musical arrangements, doing exploratory research in stage direction, interpretation, scenography and sound design, as well as recording demos for non-commercial purposes.

You’ll be entitled to living expenses of up to $1,700 per month, as well as a budget for research and experimentation expenses, for the fees of participating and collaborating artists, etc., up to a maximum total of $25,000.

First, read the Eligibility section and then create your account on Mon Dossier CALQ to fill out the application form. You’ll find all the details regarding the general terms and conditions, rules, project types and fees. You must submit the application at least four weeks before the project starts.

If you have less than five years of professional artistic experience, you can also apply for the Research, Creation, and Exploration program for emerging artists. The maximum budget is $15,000.


Whether the funding is used to produce or market an album, stage show, or showcase in Canada or abroad, Musicaction can financially support your project, as long as it’s in French (with an exception for world music).

Album Production

Self-producing artists can apply for a grant from Musicaction to produce their album. The application is evaluated based on

  • artistic value (you’re required to submit three demos – why not send in the ones you produced thanks to the CALQ’s Research and Creation program?);
  • the professional environment of your project (who will be the producer?, Do you have a manager and booker?, etc.); and
  • the commercialization plan (will you hire a press agent or radio tracker?, etc.).

Musicaction’s funding can’t be more than 50% of the admissible expenses, up to a maximum of $25,000, for applications evaluated by a jury.

If you prefer a shorter format than that of an album, you can also submit for the Production et promotion de titres (song production and promotion) program. Musicaction’s maximum funding for a four-song EP can’t be more than 50% of the overall cost, up to a maximum of $12,000 (or $3,000 per song). Your application must include a promotion budget, and here again, funding can’t exceed 50% of admissible expenses, up to a maximum of $10,000.

If your application is accepted in one of these programs, the writers and composers of the songs on your EP or album will each get $900 per song ($450 for the lyrics and $450 for the music), up to a maximum of $4,000.

Finally, for emerging artists who don’t yet have an official recording, there’s the Soutien à l’émergence – Volet 1 : Aide à la production (Support to Emerging Artists – Part 1: Production Assistance), which can help you to produce two to four digital songs. Musicaction’s funding is capped at $5,000, but it can represent 75% of all admissible expenses. The jury evaluation only considers the artistic quality, and your evolution over the last few years.

The next application deadline for all three programs is September 3, 2018.

National Commercialization

If your album already has the required funds for production, whether self-financed or from other sources, Musicaction can help fund its promotion (media relations, radio tracking, launch party, video production, ad buying, showcases, openings, concerts). You’ll be evaluated based on your professional environment, the quality of your commercialization plan, and your project’s return on investment.

Musicaction can fund up to a maximum of $50,000, as long as it’s not more than 50% of the admissible expenses. Other limits have been implemented with regards to certain expenses, so pay attention when you read the program.

The next application deadline for this program is also September 3, 2018.

International Commercialization

The commercialization of one’s music abroad can be quite an expensive endeavour, whether or not you already have partners in those territories. You can apply to Musicaction for financial help to explore a target market, or develop your career in that market. Admissible expenses include the fees of artists, musicians, backing vocalists and technicians, travel (car, train, plane, etc.), and lodging expenses, as well as per diems (daily living expenses).

The total amount can vary according to the nature of your activities, but Musicaction’s funding will always cap at 50%, except if your performance is part of an official showcase (in which case it’s capped at 75%).

Applications can be submitted anytime, but no later than one month prior to the planned activities.

Québec City: Première Ovation

Residents of Québec City can apply for this program, administered by l’Ampli ,whose goal is, among others, to promote the emergence and career development of new talents.

You can apply to its Formation/Perfectionnement (Training/Improvement) program and submit a request for pairing with another artist in order to acquire certain specific skills to be added to your artistic approach. The fee of that professional, as well as their travel, accommodations, and subsistence expenses, and the fees required to complete the project, are admissible expenses in your budget. Première Ovation will fund up to a maximum of 75%—and $5,000—of the admissible expenses.

As for its Outils de développement de carrière (Career Development Tools) program, Première Ovation offers support for the strategic stages of your career development, whether you’re launching an album, creating a sound or video production, or making digital communications tools. You can apply up to three times a year, each time allowing you a maximum of $1,000 per item, or $2,000 for a multi-item strategy, up to a maximum of 75% of the admissible expenses.

You have to submit the application at least two months before the project begins, if its budget is $2,000 or less. For more substantial applications, you have to follow these deadlines:

  • April 1st for projects that begin on or after June 1st;
  • June 30th for projects that begin on or after September 1st
  • December 1st for projects that begin on or after February 1st

Programs destined to minority Francophones

Aside from Musicaction, which allocates funding to minority Francophone communities, certain provinces have also created sought-after programs for Francophone artists.

Here’s are a few of them: