In 1975, the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) was founded in Toronto by a group of companies, all involved in various ways in the business of the independent production and distribution of Canadian recordings of musical performers. Their objectives were concerned with representing and protecting their common interests, and ensuring their financial viability. The group had begun informally in 1971, but was formally chartered in 1975.
The vital importance of radio exposure to the business of selling records, and increasing pressure from the CRTC for broadcasters to increase Canadian content percentages, prompted CIRPA in the early eighties to initiate discussions with three key broadcasting organizations, CHUM Limited, Moffat Communications and Rogers Broadcasting. This resulted in the creation in 1982 of FACTOR, the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records, with funding initially provided by the three founding organizations. The stated aim of the Foundation was to use the available funds to finance and develop the Canada independent recording industry in all its facets, both in Canada and around the world. Later, additional funding came from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage.
In 1985, the assets of Standard Radio’s ground-breaking initiative, the Canadian Talent Library (CTL), were folded into FACTOR. In the late summer of that year, FACTOR provided start-up funds for the creation of MusicAction, a francophone counterpart to the English group. To this point, CIRPA had been administering the funds generated by FACTOR, but with the agreement of all parties, FACTOR became an independent organization.
Such was the perceived value of FACTOR that the CRTC began to include in its decisions regarding the purchase of radio stations, a condition whereby as part of the requisite benefits package, a small percentage of the sale price was required to be paid to FACTOR/MusicAction over a period of seven years.
Funds generated by the Trust have aided the development of the industry in many ways, including the funding of the production and distribution of recordings by Canadian performers, the creation of videos and DVDs, the support of domestic and international tours, and the underpinning of the various infrastructures – record labels, distributors, recording studios, video production companies, producers, directors and engineers among them – to help Canada’s creative musical endeavours survive and flourish in a very competitive North American marketplace.
From an initial annual budget of $200,000, FACTOR by the end of 2005 was supporting the Canadian music industry at an annual level in excess of $11,500,000.
FACTOR’S efforts have been most effective in gaining substantially enhanced exposure for Canadian performers both domestically and world-wide, through recordings, radio, television, concert and clubs. And, as a most valuable by-product benefit to the radio industry, the scores of Canadian recordings which have resulted from FACTOR’s efforts have proved a very useful source of quality material to help stations meet their Canadian content obligations.
Written by Pip Wedge – 2005