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Posts by Amy Terrill (26)


Making the most of Toronto’s UNESCO Designation

Toronto joined an exclusive club made up of 180 cities worldwide last week when the City of Toronto and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced that Toronto has been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. While there may not have been much media coverage of the pronouncement, the city’s creative industries ought to be paying attention.

This makes Toronto one of the first cities in Canada to join the network, which was started in 2004 and includes designations for Media Arts, Music, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Design and Crafts and Folk Art.  Toronto’s designation of Media Arts is an attempt to capture the city’s achievements in not one, but several disciplines: “film, music, digital media and forms of cultural expression using technology”.

Few people in Canada may be familiar with UNESCO’s Creative City Network and are perhaps more familiar with its historical site designations or research.  This is not a surprise as North America has been relatively slower to join this party.  In fact, despite much attention given to Music Cities in North America, including many cities that build their brand on the artform, the first UNESCO City of Music in North America (Kansas City) has only just now been designated.

The international recognition of Toronto’s creative sector efforts is cause for celebration.  However, the designation should not be seen as the finish line, but as a springboard for further action. Based on our worldwide scan of Music City strategies, it is clear that the UNESCO designation has the potential of falling into the category of a public relations exercise.  But only if we let it.

In some cities, the designation has mobilized a comprehensive program for the promotion, protection and growth of the creative industry for which it is earned.  The UNESCO designation has, in other cases, ensured sustained political leadership on creative industry development and investment.  The network itself has afforded some cities with practical sharing of knowledge and best practices.

Toronto’s entire music community – including artists and industry – has an opportunity to make sure that the UNESCO designation has meaning.  We can leverage the UNESCO designation to secure an ongoing commitment to our music strategy and key priorities like venue sustainability, regulatory red tape reduction, livability for artists and musicians and access to spaces and places for the creation, rehearsal and production of music.  We can also use it to reinforce music’s equal standing alongside our partners in film and digital media.

UNESCO’s Creative City Network is definitely what we make it.   Let’s take ownership of this opportunity, and prove what we already know: Toronto can be the greatest Music City in the world.  We define it, and now we have another tool to help us build it.


UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network promotes cooperation between global cities that place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans.


Harmony between music and economic development

Music is increasingly being seen as an important means of economic development with Music Canada’s Mastering of a Music City as the primary resource in this effort.

A vibrant nightlife, of which music is so much a part, is critical for attracting and retaining talent. Cities like Austin and Nashville regularly lure investment, new business growth and talented workers, through a deliberate program to sell their cities as great music cities.

But a vibrant music scene doesn’t magically happen. Attention must be paid to the many bylaws and regulations that impact music. The music ecosystem, with artists and musicians at the heart, needs to be nurtured, supported and promoted with a focus on commercial music as well as not-for-profit enterprises. Infrastructure, in the form of individuals or bodies who facilitate regular communication between the city and the music community, are necessary.  Sometimes there is also an important role for investment in hard infrastructure like transportation networks and performance facilities.

The Mastering of a Music City, designed to be a road map for communities that want to engage with their music community and build a vibrant music economy, is being utilized across Canada, the US and internationally.  Music Canada has added to this work with a tool kit designed specifically for chambers of commerce, important agents in community economic development work.

Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has called the Music Cities model a “tried and tested economic development tool.”

Last week a symposium hosted by WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation featured a presentation on Music Canada’s report by Amy Terrill.  CEO Steve MacKenzie remarked:

“Developing Music Cities has proven itself as a winner in Economic Development. We have tangible research, thanks to Music Canada’s work in the field, showing economic growth in correlation with fostering a healthy music ecosystem. Just as important is the cultural spin-off that comes with the support of these initiatives. Quality of life is a major deciding factor for a dynamic workforce that greatly values a work/life balance. The music sector is a wonderful example where an industry’s by-products are of equal value to its core functions. Music is universal, and in Windsor-Essex, one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse regions, it’s a language that we all speak.  It provides an impact we can all benefit from.”

And the word is certainly spreading.

Music Cities will be the topic of a panel discussion and presentation at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference on September 27, 2016.  IEDC is a membership organization serving economic developers with more than 4,500 members.

The session, Mastering a Music City for Economic Development, will feature the following:

  • Kate Becker, Director, Office of Film + Music, Seattle, WA
  • Jonathan Knecht, VP, Marketing + Creative Director, Kansas City Area Development Council, Kansas City, MO
  • Amy Lopp, Business Development Specialist, Athens-Clarke County Economic Development, Athens, GA
  • Don Pitts, Manager, Music & Entertainment Division, Economic Development Department, City of Austin. Austin, TX
  • Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President, Music Canada, Toronto, Ontario, CA

And next month, Amy Terrill will participate in a discussion on music and cities, at the 5th UCLG Congress World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Bogota, Columbia.

Ultimately, Music Canada and our members are leading this initiative in order to improve the odds for those wanting to develop careers in the music industry – in order to create a stronger music community.  Music interacts with cities in ways that benefit those cities.  Contributing to a broader understanding of that value will, in turn, bring about greater opportunities for all of us to make music.


Music Canada unveils Music Cities Toolkit at Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM

gh-screen150 representatives from chambers of commerce across the country took part in a Music Cities workshop conducted by Graham Henderson yesterday at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Annual General Meeting in Regina.

Henderson unveiled a Music Cities toolkit that Music Canada custom-built for the CCC’s network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, in all regions of the country.

The toolkit was designed to provide chambers of commerce with a roadmap and guide to activate the power of music in their communities.  It describes potential roles for the chamber as follows:

  1. Catalyst – as the leading voice of business, acting to enhance economic prosperity and quality of life, the chamber can act as a catalyst to stimulate the Music City discussion
  2. Advocate – convene a music policy task force to identify municipal policies and regulations that are hampering the creation, production and promotion of music
  3. Operator – develop a proposal for the chamber to act as a music office/officer
  4. Trainer – provide training to entrepreneurs within the music community
  5. Promoter – host and amplify music events, celebrate the music history in your community

The toolkit builds on the global success of Music Canada’s report The Mastering of a Music City, Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why it’s Worth Pursuing.

“We are so pleased that Music Canada has partnered with us and shared their excellent work in this space with the chamber network as a tried and tested economic development tool,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to work with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce whose pan-Canadian network makes it an ideal partner to spread the thinking behind and the benefits of adopting the Music Cities model for your community,” said Graham Henderson.



music-cities-toolkit-cover-2The Music Cities Toolkit is available here.


New global consumer research by IFPI includes Canadian figures

ifpi-ipsos-report-smallToday, IFPI released new consumer research from Ipsos that provides insights into music consumption trends around the world.  Ipsos studied thirteen markets, including Canada.  Internet users aged 13 to 64 were asked to comment on how they engage with music.

According to this research, Canada stands out as lagging behind other major markets in the consumption of music and adoption of paid services. However, 2015 sales stats released by Music Canada in April show explosive growth in premium subscription services, largely as a result of new entrants into the Canadian market.

The full global report and summary are easily accessed on the IFPI site.

Here are the key global highlights according to IFPI with Canadian comparisons:

“Paid audio streaming is growing: 71 per cent of internet users aged 16-64 access licensed music. Paid audio streaming services are growing in popularity, especially among under 25s. One-third of 16-24 year olds now pay for an audio streaming service.”

In Canada, only 2/3 (64%) of internet users engage with licensed music.

Audio streaming consumption continues to lag behind in Canada where only 27% of consumers are using audio streaming services, indicating an opportunity for significant further growth.  However, 11% are paying for it (as opposed to using free audio streaming services) which is up from 2015 (9%), a 22% increase.  Globally, the 2016 numbers are 37% and 18% respectively.

Markets like Mexico (64%) and Sweden (61%) stand out as leading the conversion to audio streaming, and in each of these 4 in 10 consumers are paying for streaming.

“YouTube is the most used music service: 82 per cent of all YouTube visitors use it for music. More people use YouTube to consume music they already know than to discover new content.”

Not unlike other markets, YouTube usage is very high in Canada.  86% of internet users in Canada used YouTube in the last 6 months for any content with 76% reporting using it for music related content.  Most of those users (85%) accessed YouTube for music they already know, rather than to discover new music.  The report concludes that free video streaming is mainly being used as an alternative to paying for music, as 49% of music video streamers do so mainly “because it’s free.”

“Copyright infringement remains a significant problem: more than one-third (35 per cent) of internet users access unlicensed music content. Infringement is changing, with half (49 per cent) of 16-24 year olds using stream ripping services to download music.”

Access to piracy continues to evolve in Canada as well with more consumers choosing stream ripping over downloading (cyberlocker/peer to peer).  Almost one third of all consumers (27%) continue to access unlicensed content.  Half of all 16-24 year old consumers report stream ripping.

“Young people are highly engaged with music, with 82 per cent of 13-15 year-olds listening to licensed music and the majority willing to pay for music.”

In Canada, 13-15s are far more likely to access licensed audio services (55%) and one quarter of them (25%) choose paid streaming.  Half of all 13-15s access pirated music (49%) with downloading (40%) and stream ripping (44%) receiving close to equal attention.

“Smartphones are moving towards replacing computers as the most used device for music consumption, especially in developing countries. Users of paid audio streaming services are particularly likely to listen to music on a smartphone.”

Complete results can be found in this IFPI report.


Lockouts a Losing Strategy in Sydney, New Report Finds


A new report released by the Live Music Office of Australia and APRA-AMCOS (the Australian organization who collects and distributes royalties to creators) has proven that the lockout laws that were implemented in Sydney by the New South Wales (NSW) state government in February 2014 have proven to be very costly to the live music community and artists in the city.

These laws prevent people from entering a venue in the Central Business District (CBD) after 1:30 am and mandate a 3 am “last call”. The laws have been blamed for the closure of many venues, and called a blight on the reputation of Sydney’s live music scene.

The report provides strong evidence of the negative impacts the lockouts have had on the local music community:

  • Ticket sales by live performance venues in the CBD have fallen 40% since the laws were implemented;
  • Venues spent 15% less on live performers in the same period.

The lockouts were a major topic of discussion at a round table meeting held in Sydney last fall in which I was asked to present the findings of The Mastering of a Music City.

Members of the music community, including venue owners and promoters, as well as representatives of both state and local governments gathered at Sydney Town Hall to hear about our research, the best practice from around the world, and to come up with a local action plan.

John Wardle of the Live Music Office in Australia has called on the NSW government to establish a regulatory roundtable, as has been done effectively in the states of Victoria and South Australia. Certainly, our global research shows that music industry advisory groups make it easier for governments to engage with the music community – they can act as a “focus group” that can provide comment on existing and proposed regulations and build consensus. They also provide a forum for the music community to raise concerns. Ultimately, these advisory groups create an opportunity for two-way dialogue between cities and their music communities.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government has announced a review of the lockout laws which, from an outsider’s view, seems like a good sign.

John Wardle of the Live Music Office is one of the speakers who will be coming to Toronto for The Mastering of a Music City Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week. John will talk about the various policy options available to cities and states that are looking to improve the viability and sustainability of their live music scenes. We look forward to learning more about the challenges and opportunities in Sydney as well as other cities in Australia.


UNESCO recognizes 10 new cities with City Of Music designation

This year, the UNESCO City of Music designations have more than doubled the list of cities to be recognized by the organization. 10 cities around the world have received new designations as cities of music under the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. These include:

  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal
  • Katowice, Poland
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Medellín, Colombia
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • Tongyeong, Republic of Korea
  • Varanasi, India

UNESCO’s Creative Cities program was started in 2004 as an initiative to unite cities from across the globe through creative industries. This policy-driven initiative involves stakeholders at all levels of government. The larger network currently includes 116 cities, covering seven creative fields — crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music, and media arts. Cities apply for their specific field, and cannot hold a designation in more than one category.

According to UNESCO, this network aims to “stimulate and enhance initiatives led by member cities to make creativity an essential component of urban development, notably through partnerships involving the public and private sectors and civil society.” This can be done through sharing best practices and knowledge, pilot projects, artistic exchanges, or research, among other things.

The network is designed to encourage cooperation among cities that value investing in creativity. Applicants prepare detailed proposals that commit their municipalities to sustained programs that assist in developing these creative industries both within their home territories, and through international cooperation. Some factors that are included in applying for a designation include: historical importance of the city, potential contribution of the cultural and creative assets of the city, and expertise of the city in organizing events and initiatives at the local, national, and international level.

As this list has grown, it is noticeable that there are currently no North American cities holding a music city designation. In the wider network of creative cities, no Canadian cities have been designated, and only three US cities have qualified in other sectors:  Austin for Media Arts, Detroit for Design and Tucson for Gastronomy.  As a result, the field is wide open in North America to claim this UNESCO designation.

Learn more about UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network here:


Music Canada Applauds Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision in CBC v. SODRAC

Music Canada welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today in the CBC v. SODRAC case which reaffirms that a copy of a recording has value for which creators must be fairly compensated.

The Supreme Court has determined that broadcasters must pay royalties on reproductions of audiovisual works – in this case known as incidental or ephemeral copies, which are used in the preparation of broadcasts – because they add value to the final product. The decision also ensures that Canada meets its international treaty obligations in this area. The Court further determined that rights holders are free to license their rights as they see fit, in this case, separately licensing television producers and broadcasters. And the Court noted that the principle of “technological neutrality” entitles copyright holders to larger royalties where the use of technology enables greater value to be obtained from use of a copyrighted work.

“Today’s decision by our highest Court is an affirmation for Canada’s creative middle class,” says Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada. “The creative community should have access to a fair and functioning market that rewards them based on demand for their work. This is critical for Canadian artists whose livelihoods depend on earning fair compensation from their profession and for the companies that invest in them and their careers.”

Today’s Supreme Court decision confirms years of precedents that support the growth and development of the music industry. The ruling rejects the argument that when a rights holder exercises one right, all other rights disappear. While the Supreme Court has decided to remit the matter to the Copyright Board to revalue SODRAC’s tariff, the Supreme Court has made it very clear that the judicial system will not be used to subvert clear statutory rights.


BC’s Music Industry Gathers to Identify Opportunities for Support

A who’s who of BC’s music industry and artists including Bryan Adams, Jesse Roper, members of Current Swell, Cowboy Junkies, Chilliwack, and Spirit of the West came together Monday evening at the Royal BC Museum for an event hosted by Music Canada for provincial politicians and decision makers. Together, they expressed the need for provincial support for music in the form of regulatory reform and reduced red tape, as well as financial support.

Many members of the government attended, including the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, who expressed his support for BC’s music community in his remarks from the stage.



In his remarks, Music Canada President Graham Henderson announced that Music Canada has, with the help of many partners in BC undertaken analysis of the province’s music sector to identify strengths and weaknesses. Our full report is forthcoming but our recommendations would help the province to:

  • Create and retain jobs
  • Grow and diversify the economy
  • Attract foreign direct investment
  • Build more vibrant music scenes
  • Boost tourism development
  • Attract talent to other sectors like the digital arts
  • And contribute to cultural and artistic growth

Attendees were not only treated to a wonderful acoustic performance by Jesse Roper, currently a finalist for the Peak Performance Project, but to a passionate speech from Bryan Adams on the importance of music in the province.



The music industry in BC has a long and deep history, a pipeline for upcoming talent, many talented professionals and good infrastructure for live performance and recording, but has been plagued recently by such things as the widening gap in funding between BC and other provinces, rising property costs in BC’s large urban centres, and regulatory barriers.

In his remarks, Bryan Adams recalled his time as a musician starting out in BC. “British Columbia, as a young musician was a great place to start out, because they had a lot of venues to play, and it was receptive to live music. There was a lot of opportunities for musicians and a good musical scene when I started out, and it’s because of that – the local scene, and the fact that it was thriving on its own – that I was able to create the music that I’ve created over the years…But the thing that we’ve created here over the years is leaving us, and we need to protect it.”

We are very excited by the success not only of this event, but of our report and its recommendations to come, asking for BC’s provincial government to support music education, live and recorded music businesses, and tourism in its Spring 2016 budget.

Stay tuned for further details about the report in the coming months.



Several attendees shared highlights from the event on social media:


Additional photos from the event are embedded in the gallery below:



London UK Tackles Failing Music Venues

Today in London, one of the world’s most prominent Music Cities, Mayor Boris Johnson made an historic announcement in hopes of stemming the threats posed against live music venues in the city.

As described in The Mastering of a Music City, Mayor Johnson established a Music Venues Taskforce earlier this year that was chaired by Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust. The task force has paved the way for a commitment by the City of London to a number of key policies described and recommended in our report, including:

  • The Agent of Change principle which has been effectively used in Melbourne and Montreal;
  • The London Music Development Board, an advisory board with broad representation from the music community and key public sector departments;
  • A champion for the night-time economy; and,
  • A pro-music planning approach with such things as a Culture and Planning Guide that provides ideas as to how planning policy can protect venues and cultural spaces, and an upcoming symposium with developers.

In addition, the Mayor’s announcement says that his office “will continue to work closely with local authorities, developers and the music industry to encourage a pro-culture approach, particularly in areas where there are music zones and clusters for example Camden, Denmark Street, Hackney and Soho.

The Mayor’s Venues Taskforce conducted a census of the live music venues in the city and found that 35% had been lost since 2007. The Mayor’s press release notes the importance of venues as incubators of talent, and drivers of music tourism. Musicians Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran also commented on the announcement, reinforcing the importance of the availability of spaces for new talent as they hone their skills and develop an audience.

We’re pleased that The Mastering of a Music City has been helpful in this exercise, but the real work has been done by the members of the task force and local advocates like Shain Shapiro of the Music Cities Convention and Tim Arnold of Save Soho. Congratulations! A lot is at stake in London, a great Music City where artists from around the world go to perform.


Columbus, Ohio: Percolating Ideas for a Music City

Creativity is practically flowing in the streets of Columbus: from artists and musicians to business leaders and city agencies, everyone is walking to an up-tempo beat in this city of more than 800,000.


During the Independents’ Day Festival, a local music, arts and food experience located in the East Franklinton neighbourhood, the city’s newest cultural hub, I participated in a discussion about an effort to build a Music City. The “How To Build A Music City” initiative has been spearheaded by the Columbus Songwriters Association but has quickly gained the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the city’s tourism agency, Experience Columbus, as well as roughly 100 volunteers. Signs look promising that the initiative will soon receive city funding. At the helm is organizer Joey Hendrickson, who leads the initiative with passion and drive, and a willingness to learn from other cities.

While the initiative is in its early days, some of the program ideas that have broad appeal in the community are live music venue support, honouring “Columbus Sound” and history, a music tech incubator, and an annual music conference.

Columbus impressed me with its investment in creative spaces, a key component for a successful Music City. While that hasn’t translated yet into the much aspired-to music tech incubator, or live music venue support, the city has definitely figured out how to leverage public-private partnerships in order to stimulate creative growth. The East Franklinton area is a case in point. Once a rundown area of the city, just a short walk from City Hall and the State Legislature, East Franklinton is now brimming with creative activity.

I toured two large factories, one that has been converted into artist studios, event and performance spaces and a restaurant. The “How to Build a City” event was held in this building, immediately followed by a music performance. 



The second factory has been renovated to house what is apparently the largest “makerspace” in the U.S. The Idea Foundry. The Idea Foundry consists of more than 20,000 square feet of space divided into work areas by discipline, including woodworking, metalworking, blacksmithing. It has over 200 members who pay a monthly fee to use the machinery and tools, and who also gain access to lower priced workshops and training.


Each of these co-op spaces was created with a combination of public and private investment; according to Hendrickson, this is typical of Columbus’ approach to revitalizing neighbourhoods, and has earned the city much recognition.

With built-in affordable living and working spaces for artists of all descriptions, East Franklinton seems less likely to fall victim to the often-quoted sequence of gentrified neighbourhoods that we reference in The Mastering of a Music City: rundown area; artists and musicians come in, make it ‘cool’; rents go up and artists and musicians can’t afford to stay there any longer.

If the How to Build a Music City initiative is predicated by this same balanced approach, I am confident it will be very successful.