In February 2022, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the RBC Launchpad Music Entrepreneurship Program. It was my first initiation into the world of grants and music incubators.

In this post, I’ll cover what going through it was like, recap some key takeaways, and give my recommendations on how to apply if you’re an emerging independent artist.

What is it (in theory)?

In short, it’s a virtual remote program that runs weekly educational workshops guided by veterans of the music business. Its goal is to give independent artists the knowledge they need to launch their careers. But that’s just scratching the surface. The program also offers:

  • Free access to recording, video, and photography studios at Artscape Daniels Launchpad Toronto
  • One-on-one mentorship with select workshop speakers
  • Paid opportunities for music performances
  • In-person networking events

The program is largely architected by Martín Anxxon and the team at Launchpad, with funding provided by RBC Music. While the program might be more relevant for artists, music managers have also benefitted greatly from its curriculum.

The program features also aren't set in stone and may change from year to year. For example, 2022 was the first year where venues weren't 100% in lockdown due to the pandemic which allowed for more in-person events.

How was it (in practice)?

The entire experience was very rewarding. Day to day, we used Slack for communication and Zoom for attending workshops.

An active Instagram group also spun out organically soon after that became a fun, supportive space for us to chat, share upcoming releases and shows, and memes.

There’s a real “grassroots” feel to the program as Martín, the program director, is an artist and producer himself. In other words, he knows that artists are busy. They’re juggling a hundred different things in their lives. So his goal is to have each workshop give actionable takeaways: concrete, helpful content, without the fluff.

In addition, he really champions every artist and genuinely cares about their success. He’s always reachable, tailors the program to each participant, and is constantly on the lookout for feedback on ways to improve the curriculum.

Interactive workshops were done over Zoom

The weekly workshops covered a lot of topics, but here are a few of my personal favourites and why:

Music law

  • We got to speak to an entertainment lawyer that broke down the basics of all the legalese behind music contracts, how to negotiate them, and the common pitfalls to look out for.


  • Artist and manager relationships vary greatly for each musician. We learned about the types of working relationships to expect between them, the expected fees, and ways to find good managers.

Sync for TV and film

  • We got to connect with music supervisors and learn the best practices for pitching.

Music publishing

  • We learned how you could make a living as a songwriter and the types of publishing deals that are commonly offered.

Marketing & PR

  • Making music is only 50% of the work. The other 50% is all about the rollout and finding your audience. We saw examples of release strategies from people actively working in the field which was very beneficial.

Collecting royalties

  • Collecting royalties is one of the most confusing and convoluted topics out there. This workshop helped clarify the various sources of streams and how to collect them locally and internationally.

Grant writing

  • We learned about the various grant opportunities out there that can help artists accomplish their bold visions.

These workshops are all designed to give artists an overview of the various aspects of the music industry so that when their careers take off, the musicians will have a better idea of how to efficiently spend their time and resources on the things that matter most to them.

In-person events

The experience also gave me the chance to connect with a community of other hard-working and talented artists. Prior to the program, I was mainly making music in isolation. So getting to connect with other artists on a personal level, hear their music, and see how they worked was inspiring.

There were a lot of in-person events. Being based in Montreal, I couldn’t participate in every event as they were mainly based in Toronto. But I did make my way out to take part in a few:

  • Co-writing with other artists

I had the chance to collaborate on writing sessions with other amazing singers and songwriters and learn about their own writing process.

Vibing along

  • Recording at Launchpad Studios and using their co-working spaces

The program gave us studio credits for recording and video or photo productions. I took the opportunity to record vocals for two upcoming tracks.

  • Performing at the artist showcase

There were many performance showcases throughout the months. I performed at the final one and played stripped-down versions of ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Moon I’.

I hadn’t played live in a very long time, and I had forgotten how rewarding it was to share music again with real live people. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of making a connection with another person through music, and sharing this human experience we’re all trying to figure out.

All these in-person events were designed to help artists expand their networks and provide the resources to help them complete their artistic projects.


So what were some of the takeaways from all these workshops? These were some of the nuggets that stuck with me.

  1. Get invited back into the room (AKA “don’t be a jerk”)
  • The music industry is small, especially in Canada. Always be professional and make a genuine effort to be a good person because you never know how you may cross paths with someone again down the line.
  1. Build a team
  • Successful artists typically have a strong team to support them. This includes professionals like lawyers, accountants, managers, bookers, marketers, and creative collaborators in music, film, visuals, and more.
  • On this note, I’m looking to expand my own team, particularly for visual creatives. If you’d like to chat, send me an email or DM on Instagram.
  1. Know your rights and how your money is being managed
  • The devil is in the details. Never sign anything without getting it throughly reviewed by a competent lawyer so you know exactly how your music is being used and where the money is going.
  1. Endure
  • If you work hard and stick around long enough, you’ll eventually get your opportunity to break through. Sometimes, all it takes is one good song. And every song is an opportunity to further close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.


Application process

I wholeheartedly recommend the program, especially for new emerging artists. If you’re an artist reading this, don’t be intimidated if you don’t have huge numbers on streaming services or social media yet. In our cohort, we had artists from all backgrounds: from nascent artists preparing to release their very first track, to JUNO nominated musicians.

It’s really about the quality of the music first and foremost. Secondly, you have to be able to demonstrate that you’re serious about your career and that you have the entrepreneurial spirit to see it through. In the application, be concise and specific on how you plan to achieve your career goals.

Note too that the program is highly selective and only about 30 got accepted from close to a thousand applicants. So don't get discouraged if you don't get in right away. Endure, get better, and try again.

To wrap up, I'd like to share the official playlist featuring the talented artists from this year's cohort:



  • To learn more about the 2022 RBC Launchpad Music Entrepreneurship Program, click here. Applications typically open around January/February.
  • To learn more about the music industry, the book "All You Need to Know About the Music Business" came highly recommended by a lot of the mentors. Its title is pretty self-explanatory.