For Yukon musicians wanting to get a career on the road there are many things standing in the way: our geographical location, small population, limited venues, genres, studios and festivals, a limited demographic… At times it can seem downright impossible to make an impact on the local, let alone Canadian-wide music scene.
But our musician brethren need not despair. Despite all the drawbacks, there are also some very special opportunities available in the Yukon that not all musicians know about.
Read on, and find out just what is available to you as a local musician and, even better, how you can get it.
One of the best-known resources for Yukon musicians is, appropriately, Music Yukon. With an office and resource centre in downtown Whitehorse, they offer internet, computers and basic office functions like photocopying, printing and scanning. Musicians are encouraged to use the space as a meeting and networking place, or even for practices or workshops. The office is open daily, Monday – Friday.As an organization, Music Yukon offers various workshops, information sessions, and a place to connect with other music organizations, including Jazz Yukon, Yukon Bluegrass Music Society, Whitehorse Folk Society, the Yukon Women in Music group, or YWIM and many others. YWIM, incidentally, offers 2-hour mentorship sessions on music-related topics, with a focus on cultivating professional skills that will advance a musical career. YWIM tries to release a compilation CD every two years to showcase the talent of local female musicians.Music Yukon also offers advice and assistance for organizations like FACTOR (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records) and programs that provide funding for touring and recording through the Yukon Film and Sound Commission.The application process for FACTOR programs can be gruelling and, at times, baffling. Music Yukon’s FACTOR representative, Kate Weekes, is available for consults and assistance. She can be contacted at [email protected]. For more information about Music Yukon, call (867)456-8742 or email [email protected] HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]”
The Yukon Film and Sound Commission
This is a government-supported organization that administers funds through the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Tourism and Culture. The commission aims to “…support a sustainable and competitive film and sound recording industry.” (www.ReelYukon.com). There is a relatively new sound recording program in place and six separate funding initiatives that musicians in the community have already been benefiting from.
There are two programs specifically for musicians.
The first is the Yukon Sound Recording Program.
This provides funding for Yukon musicians or record producers that wish to make a recording for commercial distribution.
Two different components make up the Sound Recording Program, the Professional Demo Recording, which offers up to $2000 for producing a CD with minimum 2 tracks or 5 minutes, and the Professional Sound Recording, which offers up to $5000 with a minimum of 6 tracks or 20 minutes.
Many local artists, studios and labels have made good use of these recording grants, with this year’s recipients including Jordy Walker for Sauna Music, Megan Haddock, Sarah McDougall, Old Time Machine and Headless Owl Records.
The second program is more about the business side of the industry, but can still be very useful to Yukon musicians. It’s called the Enterprise Trade Fund, and it focuses on stimulating Yukon business through development. This can be useful for musicians wanting to travel to showcase at festivals or participate in workshops.
The Yukon Film and Sound Commission’s website also provides a resource centre with tools like a CD Planner, information on The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (musical copyright), as well as documents from SaskMusic on How to write a business plan, marketing plans for Artists’ Business, Sample Cash Flow Projections, etc. A similar link to MusicBC is provided as well, with resources concerning recording, touring, distribution, marketing and public relations, songwriting and CD production.
Government Arts Fund
Finally, we have the Government Arts Fund, also handled by the Department of Tourism and Culture. The two most suitable funds for musicians are:
The Advanced Artist Award assists individual artists practicing at a senior level with projects, travel or educational pursuits that contribute to personal artistic development and to their community. This can include festivals, travel for workshops or showcases, recording or performance projects.
The Touring Artist Fund supports artists to present their work publicly at professionally curated national or international exhibitions, concerts, festivals or showcases.
Intakes for applications are the 15th of March, June, September and December.
For more information go to www.tc.gov.yk.ca/af