OMDC: Richard Flohil Stirs The Pot On Facebook

On April 27, Richard Flohil posted on Facebook that the OMDC Music Fund “has just spent $14 MILLION dollars” on a variety of music organizations, record companies, festivals, etc., with a link to the recipients. Here’s a very brief account of what then transpired.

Nick Krewen I'm just kind of amazed that everyone seems to be throwing a hissy about it this year. This has gone on for eons, people, with the Canadian majors being financially gifted from numerous artistic sources. Hell, Celine Dion got FACTOR grants AFTER she signed a $1M deal with Sony Music. That happened back in the late '80s. This is not the first year certain Canadian-based label branches have been awarded seven-figure sums, nor will it be the last.

Alexander Mair I don’t see anyone throwing a hissy fit, Nick, although some people question money going to the multinational companies. I know from personal experience how the largest fudged their report to Ottawa.

Karen Bliss Does the mainstream media or TV even cover this?

David Basskin Can somebody explain why the three major multinationals got $1.75m? Will their use of Ontario taxpayers’ money be accounted for in any manner to the public? Why are we supporting foreigners?

Bruce Chapman I would expect that this money is tied to very specific programs favouring Ontario musicians or the industry with these companies. In fact, if done properly they may be in a position do effectively leverage a good return on the investment. Would be dreadfully disappointing if it wasn't.

David Basskin Sure. But how many Ontario-specific projects, proposed BY Ontarians, intended to benefit Ontarians, got the thumbs-down to hand money over to multinationals? What are the foreigners doing that our own people couldn't do with our own tax dollars?

Jory Nash While there are many deserving individuals, events and companies on the list (though deserving and deserving of some of the gaudy figures listed are 2 different discussions), as a long time Ontarian artist now struggling desperately to make ends meet (and failing, by any and every financial metric I can come up with) realizing that none of the money has filtered down to where I'm currently slumming reminds me I'm more on the outside looking in than I can ever remember.

Emma Jane There's a lot of names I've never heard of before on that list and a lot that I don't know anything about, so can't comment. For those that I do know a lot about from my time working in arts funding for organizations and with artists directly, this program is WONDERFUL. This money doesn't line these individuals' pockets - it is development money, and it allows them access to resources that they wouldn't otherwise have access to. It ups their game on so many levels. It creates jobs in the arts, as they are able to hire people and give them meaningful work in their fields. Yes, as usual, there are many people who are left out. But it's a much bigger picture than just this list. I am so glad that this program exists.

Ray Pettinger It is no wonder there are few Canadian artists that make it outside Canada. They don’t know anything about hard work....just handouts.

Alexander Mair There’s a lot of hardworking people on that list...

Guillermo Alberto Subauste I might be biased, but I find it weird producers don't get or qualify for funding from this, at least not directly. I don't know about others but I take my job as half producer, half A&R. I'd love to be able to keep offering a subsidized session to emerging artists that might not have the funding but have the talent. If I could take that percentage up, that money would lose a middle person, which in this case might be good.

Phil Klygo Having submitted an application for the first time just a week ago, I can say for a fact, these companies have to be already showing high revenues to be eligible, and the application itself is the most work I have ever put into any funding application. Definitely not a cake walk to free money.

Karen Bliss How do they monitor where the money is spent afterwards? There are probably more than 100 companies. How can they go through all their financial for the next round -- bc many of the same companies get the following year too.

Caro BeeLove Karen Bliss Everyone has to provide receipts, completion reports, invoices etc. It's a very regulated and rigorous process.

Kim Beggs Anyone know what percentage of costs omdc overs for projects?

Phil Klygo they put up 50% of projected budget costs for awarded applicants.

Kim Beggs Phil I just looked it up and I found 75% of expenses. If you have a link to 50% can you post it? Here is 75% on page 14 http://www.omdc.on.ca/.../OMF+Music+Industry+Development...

Alexander Mair It's very interesting that the Department of Heritage has the 2015-2016 (Government fiscal year is from April 1 to March 30) recipients listed on their site, but not the following years. I asked recently and they asked why I wanted to know...WTF. Many recipients on the Ontario list are also on the unpublished federal list.

Alexander Mair Just to be perfectly clear, I am not opposed to government funding, and have been a director of FACTOR, StarMaker and the SOCAN Foundation. I just want transparency for all government funding.

Richard Flohil I've never received a grant, never applied for one. But I suppose, indirectly, I have benefited by charging for my services and often being paid by artists and companies out of grant funds they have received. I feel uncomfortable that Universal Music (and the other two multinational companies) receive SO much money, and while they may report to the government as to how they spent it, they are NOT transparent to the taxpayers who paid the money. (And I'm sure there's a lot of creative accounting going on as grant recipients report back to government). That said, without these grants, Canada would not be the music powerhouse that its. I've been at this game for MANY years and remember when Canada was being totally steamrollered by the tsunami of American "culture" flowing across the border. American films, television, radio, theatre productions, magazines, books — oh, and certainly American music! — were (and still are to a great extent) swamping our identity. That's not to say that so much American culture isn't unique, and miraculously wonderful, but with Canadian content rules, without grants, we would, by now, probably be an American colony!

Emma Jane I wonder how many people in the industry (possibly in this thread?) have gotten work and been paid as a direct result of this fund and don’t even know it.

Mélanie Brulée Now if we wanted to stir the pot even more about funding, we could talk about the real controversy that is FACTOR's jury selection process... That's a real juicy topic.

Liam Russell The OMDF aside (because it is a bit of a different beast from most of the funding bodies)... Can we talk about how the granting system chains Canadian artists to working in Canada? Touring and showcase grants aside... the idea that we can only spend the money we receive on other Canadians is holding us back from the world stage. Anybody who makes art knows that collaboration is integral and being forced to pick from strictly Canadians is nuts! Sure, there’s a million incredibly talented Canadians but that doesn’t mean that the right person for the job is here. And when making a living solely in Canada is pretty much impossible without grants, why wouldn’t we want to be fostering INTERNATIONAL relations and community? I know the idea is to support and invigorate the Canadian music community and business but are we really helping that community long term? And this isn’t just an issue of where the money is and can go... This is an art issue. There is a “Canadian Sound” and it’s not always good. Put me up on the cross if you want but I feel that many Canadian artists end up making records that are compromised artistically. And a lot of the ones that don’t sound that way are people we all know are finding work arounds to pay/work with people from other countries anyway! I think we sometimes feel like complaining about gov funding is sacrilege because of how lucky we are to have it but why does that mean it can’t get better?!?!?! We have to talk about it.

Alexander Mair Further to the OMDC figures, here are some of the Ontario companies also receiving federal funding: Last Gang...$443,000. Six Shooter...$232,000. Linus...$$359,000. Maplecore...$364,000. Arts + Crafts $440,000. and Dine Alone...$550,000.

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