FACTOR Finally Addresses Its Grimes Funding Controversy

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Nov 26, 2020

During the last few weeks, FACTOR has been at the centre of an increasingly ugly controversy surrounding Grimes. Now the non-profit Canadian music fund has responded in attempts to set the record straight.

Earlier this month, stories with headlines like "Grimes Got Over $90,000 In Funding As A Quebec Artist & People On Twitter Have Questions" and "A $90,000 Canadian arts subsidy for Grimes, who lives in California with Elon Musk" began circulating online. This led to more than a few raised eyebrows, as well as some pretty heated online conversation.

Apparently, things have got so bad that FACTOR has now issued a statement trying to clear things up, explaining that the label Crystal Math — home not only to Grimes in Canada, but also Metric, Half Moon Run and Emily Haines — was the applicant for the grant, not Grimes herself. As the 2020 FACTOR recipients list shows, however, Grimes is indeed listed as the artist connected to the grant money in FACTOR's public records.

Rather than wade into the mess any further, here's the statement in full from FACTOR so you can draw your own conclusions:

In light of recent threads on social media and mainstream media coverage of same, we at FACTOR think it prudent to repost available information about who we are, how we operate, and how our disbursements are made — and to address the persistent inaccuracies within online discussion.

FACTOR differs significantly from a traditional arts council model and should not be regarded as such. FACTOR is a public/private partnership, administering funds from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Music Fund, and from Canada's private radio broadcasters. FACTOR has a variety of programs for artists, songwriters, artist managers, record labels, music publishers, distributors, event producers, and other industry organizations. FACTOR's mandate is to provide assistance toward the growth and development of the Canadian music industry both domestically and internationally, with a focus on commercial success.

Crystal Math Music Inc., an independent Canadian record label who works exclusively with Canadian artists across their robust and diverse roster, is the FACTOR applicant who received the funding presently at issue, through the Comprehensive Music Company program, in the last fiscal year. This program is not an artist program, it is a full-length sound recording program accessible to record labels, with eligibility requirements found in the program guidelines. Crystal Math has met these eligibility requirements and they are the sole recipient of the funds in FACTOR's support of a vibrant independent label. Crystal Math holds the rights to Grimes' recordings for Canada. Grimes is not an owner of Crystal Math and Grimes did not receive these funds.

As to points made concerning eligibility for individual artist applications with regard to countries of residence — which is not germane to this application — to meet eligibility requirements for FACTOR, applicants need not reside in Canada but must maintain Canadian citizenship. An artist's household income and relationship status are not among FACTOR's criteria.

You can access our annual reports on our website, which include a list of jurors, the funding amounts offered by program, region, and genre, and the number of applications received and funded by program, region, and genre. You can access the list of companies who received funding on our Recipients page. For a full look at FACTOR's rules, we encourage all applicants, potential applicants, and recipients to refer to the Business Policies Handbook and ensure they are familiar with our policies.

FACTOR does not consider itself above scrutiny, operating in a transparent manner and in accordance with the criteria of our mandate. Naturally, we'd rather be praised for the countless successes we have achieved in our mission — but must also in good grace accept there may be occasional criticism, provided it is fair and free of speculative distortions or gross misrepresentation. FACTOR remains openly accountable and available for journalists and editors willing to verify their claims before going to press.


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