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Home » About the Radio Starmaker Fund » Orion Program

Orion Program

The Orion program is a funding stream dedicated to supporting music creation by members of the Canadian music industry who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.

The Radio Starmaker Fund distributes private funds that provide “substantial incremental investment where the artist has established a proven track record.” However, racism and other systemic barriers may prevent applicants from qualifying for the established Starmaker programs. The Orion program was established to distribute these funds in a manner that lowers the barrier to entry for eligible Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour who have not yet met Starmaker sales criteria.

Orion is a “stepping stone” program. It will fund a broad range of activities to support racialized artists as they continue to develop and increase the audience and industry reach needed to apply to other Starmaker programs.

Orion is also a ‘living program’ made to be able to adapt to and reflect the Board’s collective learning, community feedback and industry change.

The program is comprised of the following elements:

  • Qualifying applicants are identified as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour - if you are a band rather than an individual, the majority of the band must be identified as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.
  • You must show full-length or bundle sales of at least 1,500 units to qualify. A full-length release contains at least 6 unique studio recordings – not including acoustic re-recordings, remixes, versions, etc. – and at least 25 minutes of music. A bundle contains at least 3 unique studio recordings that were made available no later than a year before the release of the bundle itself – not including acoustic re-recordings, remixes, versions, etc. – and at least 9 minutes of music. They can be either physical, digital or equivalent streams (750 single track streams from a full-length release or bundle will constitute one sales unit toward the achievement of the minimum sales threshold, as will 5 downloaded tracks from a release constitute one sales unit). We will accept proof via Soundscan/Music Connect, manufacturing invoices and net sales reports from distributors. International sales, streams and downloads will be counted towards eligibility. Multiple releases from the previous 5 years leading up to the deadline for the round can be combined to show eligibility. Alternatively, if you have been nominated for a Juno, Grammy or the Polaris prize shortlist for a release from the last 5 years, you will be considered qualified for this program. You can just enter the release which was nominated, list the sales as 1,500 units and attach proof of the nomination.
  • Applicants with no previous approvals for this program or those that had their eligibility lapse will need to show current eligibility to our Manager, Finance & Administration, Michelle Farres ( at least a week in advance of the deadline for the round in which you apply.
  • The application process will be as follows: you will enter your artist information into the Starmaker website. Those details are provided on the right side of our homepage under the links for “Getting Started”. After completion, you will then have the option to be redirected to this program where you will submit a one-page business plan/proposal. You will be able to include attachments to the proposal, elaborating on proof of eligibility, breakdowns of expenditures or other key information. Brief details on domestic or international activity and momentum should be included in the proposal to illustrate why your request should be funded.
  • Money can be requested for any music related expenses – recording, promotion, publicity, advertising, digital marketing, touring, videos, etc. The maximum overall request must be capped at $20,000 and artists will only be considered for one of these grants per calendar year. Please be sure to make the actual request in your application as opposed to just putting together a budget. We need to know exactly what you’re asking us to consider funding. Letters of support are not necessary to include. Also, if you apply and are approved for recording costs, you will not need to show release of the recording within 6 months of the deadline for the round for the first approval.
  • Artists who qualify for the core Starmaker programs or have previously been funded in the core Starmaker programs will no longer be able to apply for this annual $20,000 grant due to budgetary issues.
  • All other Starmaker rules will apply.

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