Bell Media Kills Program That Funded Canadian Music Videos: 'This Is Not On Us'

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MuchFACT, the music video granting program that doled out money to thousands of Canadian artists, including Celine Dion, Arcade Fire, Carly Rae Jepsen, k.d. lang, Feist, Nelly Furtado, Metric, Death From Above 1979, The Tragically Hip and Sarah McLachlan, is officially over.

Billboard ran a piece in June outlining the possible end of MuchFACT (A Foundation To Assist Canadian Talent), which has awarded more than $100 million (CAD) to 9,000 projects since its launch in 1984 -- the year Canada got its first national music video station, then called MuchMusic, and a condition of license mandated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the public regulatory agency.

"This is not on us," Bell Media president Randy Lennox told CBC this week. "This is on the people who are playing music [videos] today who have not reached into their pockets."

Bell Media, which bought MuchMusic in 2006, requested the deletion of the condition of license for both MuchFACT and similar fund BravoFACT, which the CRTC approved in May.

"We don't owe anyone an explanation for this after giving $131 million," he said of both funds. "I think after making hundreds, thousands of music videos and paying for them... I think we're pretty good guys."

Now record labels will have to cough up or artists will have to fund videos themselves, which does and has happened. Funding was never guaranteed from these funds and they had to be matched in dollars or services in kind.

Many artists continue to fund music videos on their own.

Universal Music Canada president Jeffrey Remedios told Billboard in June, "It would be a blow to Canadian artists if this funding ended now that the CRTC no longer mandates it."

An open letter to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly -- signed by dozens of artists from A Tribe Called Red to Broken Social Scene -- dated Sept. 18, addresses the void the loss of MuchFACT will leave and asks for a "dedicated visual content fund."


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