SOCAN Grants: Programs Currently Available for Ontario Businesses

Businesses and sole proprietors involved in music can take advantage of grants from the SOCAN Foundation. These grants are available through applications with deadlines spread throughout the year.

The grants help Canadian music creators and publishers to promote Canadian music throughout the Ontario province, throughout Canada, and elsewhere in the world.

We can help you figure out when and how to apply for SOCAN grants. Having some additional funds to help your business and career move forward should be music to your ears. (We promise, that’s the last bad pun we’ll make … today.)

What is SOCAN?

SOCAN, short for the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada, is a non-profit entity that administers performing rights for its members.

SOCAN is based in Toronto. It was formed in 1990, resulting from a merger of CAPAC (Composers, Authors, and Publishers Association of Canada Limited) and PROCAN (Performing Rights Organization of Canada Limited). Those two organizations can track their history to before World War II, meaning you can count on the stability of SOCAN.

SOCAN’s membership of songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers surpasses 100,000 members. The SOCAN Foundation, which initially appeared in 1992, is an independent entity that seeks to promote Canadian music and to support music creators. The SOCAN Foundation oversees a number of different items that are separate from SOCAN itself.

SOCAN Grant Programs for Ontario Businesses

The foundation’s grant program provides money to Canadian music creators and publishers in a few different categories. There are grants available for individual creators and music publishers, as well as grants for organizations. The four categories of entities that are able to apply for these SOCAN grants include:

  • Individuals
  • Charity organizations
  • Non-charity organizations
  • Music publishers

Not every music-related business is eligible to receive these grants. Some businesses may only qualify for one or two of the grants, while others may have the ability to apply for several grants. Because these are grants, recipients do not have to pay the money back.

Here are links to specific SOCAN programs that we cover:

How Much Can I Get From SOCAN?

The amount you can receive from the SOCAN Foundation will depend on the particular grant for which you are applying.

Grant levels typically range from $300 to $3,000 per grant winner. Depending on the grant, you may only be eligible to win one grant per year. Some grants require the winner to raise an equivalent amount of money privately.

Dozens of individuals or organizations likely will win the same grant during an award period. These grants typically are not limited to one or two winners, so a lot of entities can benefit from the funding.

SOCAN Grant Eligibility

Before applying, you will want to visit the SOCAN Foundation website and determine whether you are eligible by reading the details for each grant. You also can see the deadlines for applying for these grants. For some grants, you must be a SOCAN member, or you must represent SOCAN members.

Here are the basic eligibility requirements for a few of the grants from the SOCAN Foundation.

  • Annual Operations Assistance: Helps non-profit service organizations representing music creators and music publishers with funding to support operational activities.
  • Canadian Music Assistance Program: Helps music creators and music publishers to participate in showcases, concerts, festivals, educational workshops, and publication activities.
  • Professional Development Assistance Program: Helps composers, writers, and music publishers with acquiring new skills or with upgrading current skills through attending things like conferences, seminars, and workshops.
  • SOCAN Foundation Career Development Grant: Helps SOCAN members develop their skills through conferences, workshops, self-directed learning, mentorships, and personal reflection.
  • Travel Assistance Program: Helps composers, writers, and music publishers with eligible travel-related costs for things like important performances, residencies, and workshops.
  • Work Commissioning Assistance Grant: Helps individuals, corporations, performers, and ensembles to commission members of SOCAN to create new concert music or classical music works.

Before applying, be certain to read the terms and conditions of receiving grants from the SOCAN Foundation. Individual grants may have their own separate terms and conditions, and these should be clearly listed on the application form.

SOCAN Grant Application: How Do I Apply?

To apply for a SOCAN Foundation grant, you will complete an online application in a webform. The SOCAN Foundation makes use of an online portal, so you can do everything online through your account.

At the online portal, you’ll need to enter your email address and password to access your account. If you are new to the portal, you will need to register with the foundation first.


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    For the registration process, you must select the type of entity that you are representing. (We mentioned the four options earlier.) You then need to provide information about yourself or your organization, which may include:

    • Contact name
    • Contact person’s professional title
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • Organization name
    • Mailing address
    • Communication preference
    • Citizenship status
    • Membership in SOCAN status
    • Your social media accounts

    You then must submit the information required for the particular grant for which you are applying. Each grant may require slightly different types of information. Continue moving through the various entry screens in the online portal until it’s time to submit the application.

    Once the staff members at the SOCAN Foundation have all the applications submitted for a particular grant package, they begin reviewing them. The staff will forward eligible applications to a special committee.

    The committee then makes recommendations to the board of directors of the foundation as to which applications should receive the grants. The board of directors makes the final approval. Such approvals usually come about 10 weeks after the deadline for application.

    Tips for Maximizing Your SOCAN Funding

    If the SOCAN Foundation Board of Directors approves your application, you will receive a notification. You then must complete a final report. After the foundation approves your report, you should receive your grant money within two to three weeks through direct deposit.

    When you receive a SOCAN Foundation grant, it’s important to spend the money wisely to receive the biggest benefit. Some tips for maximizing your grant money include:

    • Create a plan: Take the time to set up a plan for spending the money. Do not just let the money sit in your account and use it for daily expenses. Set up a plan for how you will determine where to spend the money.
    • Follow the grant’s rules: Some grants require that you spend the money on certain items. You may need to show proof of where the funds went, so be certain you understand the rules before you decide how to spend it.
    • Determine where the money can do the most good: Take the time to figure out which areas need prioritization. You may have one area that can benefit from the funding, or you may want to split the funds among multiple areas of need.
    • Raise equivalent funds privately: You may want to see if you can convince donors to match any grant money that you win, creating an incentive to seek the grant and creating an extra opportunity for funding.
    • Track your spending and ROI: As you begin using the grant money, be sure to closely track how you spend it. You then should determine whether the spending led to the outcomes you wanted, giving you a good return on investment (ROI). This information will help considerably the next time you receive a grant.

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