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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Analyzing Premier Wynne’s Inaugural Throne Speech’s Impact on Music

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

After having gone MIA for a few weeks in terms of my contributions to the Rambler, I am back with an analysis of Premier Wynne’s inaugural throne speech.

The last few months have been good ones for music in Ontario. Under the leadership of Minister Michael Chan, the Ontario government launched an ambitious plan to turn Ontario into one of THE global destination for music tourism. And with good reason. Music tourism is Ontario’s hidden, un-accessed super power, fueled by our live music scene. This is timely and visionary because the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, just this week, identified Canada’s poor performance in the tourism sector as one of our top 10 barriers to competitiveness. You can read about Ontario’s plan here.

So what do we know about Ontario? We know from our economic impact study that there are more than 7400 employed in live music in Canada, and we have estimated that over HALF of them are here. We know that we have one of the largest, most diverse music scenes in the world. That gives us a built in advantage. We know from the Discovering Ontario report that tourism is the largest employer of young people in this province. We know from a report by the Ontario Arts Council that 9.5 million overnight tourists to Ontario participated in arts and culture activities during their trips in 2010. For almost half of them music was the motivation for their trip. It is also a fact that arts and culture tourists stay longer and spend more. And that’s without a coordinated marketing plan. Imagine what we could do if we had a plan and devoted even modest resources to this? Well, that plan in underway NOW.

Last Friday I was honoured to have been invited to Premier Wynne’s first “Jobs Roundtable”. Meeting participants were asked to share their insights and recommendations on what the government and businesses can do together to create jobs – particularly for youth – in the immediate term. I had three specific, achievable recommendations in the areas of tax credits, music tourism and music education. All of which seemed to have been very well received.

Then today came the Throne Speech which included, likely for the first time in history, a mention of music. While the reference was muted, it nonetheless came in a key economic section and in the same breathe as sectors that have long enjoyed powerhouse status in Ontario, automotive and agriculture. Here is the reference:

“[The Government] will look to stimulate productivity across all sectors, from automotive and agriculture to film, music, and digital media; from small business to start-ups and social entrepreneurs.”

The proposals we have put in front of the Government would help to do exactly this, and in an achievable, manageable way. Ontario’s music cluster is ripe for growth. Over 80 percent of the economic activity of the sound recording industry in Canada takes place here. This sector is one of Ontario’s competitive advantages, as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has noted. Revenues for the Ontario sound recording industry totaled $408 million in 2010. Ontario has not yet fully capitalized on the strategic advantage it enjoys in the global music industry. Targeted provincial support is needed. According to an independent analysis, strategic productivity and jobs-focused supports for Ontario’s sound recording industry would trigger 60 million dollars in additional spending, generate 1,300 new jobs and result in almost $300 million in new economic output. This proposal was highlighted in the Ontario Chamber’s Emerging Stronger 2.0 document.

While music was not specifically mentioned again, arts and culture was highlighted as one of the aspects of our society that makes Ontario a great place to live:

“It will prove once again that Ontario is a great place to work and live, but also to visit, to invest in, to believe in. It will celebrate our hard work, our ingenuity, our diversity, our arts and culture, and protect the beauty of our natural environment.”

And this is the message that we have delivered repeatedly to all levels of government for the past year or more. Arts and culture and in particular music, serve to both attract and retain talented people. This in turn has a significant impact on business recruitment, retention, and expansion, as well as local entrepreneurship. An economic plan that stimulates the music community will in turn help to stimulate the economy at large. The Throne Speech noted that creative jobs are in every region of Ontario noting as an example that “We have authors and artists and actors in Timmins…”

On the subject of education, the Throne Speech noted that:

“Our young people will experience a world of which we can now only dream, and we must all work together to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate tools for their time. They must be literate in the languages of tomorrow; encouraged to pursue the paths of their choosing and prepared for the challenges ahead. We must emphasize critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and an entrepreneurial spirit.”

What is encouraging here is that while not specifically mentioned, music education is widely regarded as a key component in developing young minds and preparing them for careers in not just music, but in science, technology and mathematics. But as I pointed out at the Jobs Roundtable, music education is Ontario’s abandoned “game changer”. There are many people reading this who will understand me when I point out that music has a transformative power to open minds, to enhance collaborative skills and to change lives. Highly successful people in various fields, including Commander Chris Hadfield, have spoken of the important role music education played in preparing them for their career. It should not be discarded and lost in the shuffle. Music Canada recently announced a major donation to music education through our partners at MusiCounts. A $250,000 dollar grant to acquire musical instruments for at risk music programmes. You can read about it here.

Our hope, therefore, is that this government will easily grasp the role music can play in helping to achieve its educational objectives. We will certainly stand ready to help.

All in all, another great day for music in Ontario.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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Music Canada Proud to Support 42nd Annual JUNO Awards

Toronto, February 19, 2013: Music Canada is proud to return as sponsor of the Album of the Year Award at the 42nd Annual JUNO Awards.

“Canadian bands and artists continue to demonstrate the depth and diversity of talent in this country, as they attract audiences here at home and around the world, forming one of Canada’s greatest exports,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “At Music Canada we are fortunate to work alongside amazing artists like those nominated for this year’s Album of the Year Award, in an effort to promote and protect Canada’s vibrant music community, which not only makes an unparalleled cultural and social contribution but is also an economic powerhouse for Canada.”

The Album of the Year Award will be presented at The 2013 JUNO Awards Broadcast at The Brandt Centre on Sunday, April 21st, 2013 in Regina, SK.

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Ontario Arts Council releases comprehensive profile of Ontario’s Arts and Culture Tourists and Their Economic Impact

Today, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) released the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, a report conducted by Research Resolutions & Consulting Ltd. and commissioned by the OAC. The report provides a comprehensive profile of Ontario’s arts and culture tourists and their economic impact. 

The report finds that 9.5 million overnight tourists participated in arts and culture activities in 2010, representing over one fifth of the 42.8 million overnight trips to Ontario that year. Of those 9.5 million arts and culture tourists, 66% were Canadian, 23% were American, and 1.1 million were from overseas. Arts and culture was a major draw for international tourists, with arts and culture tourists representing 39% of all American overnight visitors to Ontario in 2010, while 63% of tourists from overseas took part in arts and culture activity while visiting Ontario. 

The OAC report shows that arts and culture tourism has a significant economic impact in Ontario, with arts/culture tourist spending generating $3.7 billion in GDP in Ontario in 2010, supporting 67,000 jobs and $2.4 billion in wages and generating $1.7 billion in taxes for all levels of government. 

For more than 44% of the 20.8 million North Americans travelling to Ontario, at least one arts and culture activity was the main reason for their trip. 

Music was a major driver of Ontario tourism, as 6.5 million North American tourists took in music performances including classic, jazz, opera, popular/rock ‘n roll and country while visiting the province, making up approximately 31% of all North American tourists to Ontario. Music performances were the largest tourism driver among all Arts activities, with more attending concerts than theatre, art galleries, or ballet.

Of the 6.5 million tourists who attended music performances in Ontario, 44% of them said that the concert was their primary reason for traveling to Ontario, comprising a total of 2.9 million tourists who said that a concert was their main reason for traveling to Ontario.

The report also found that Arts festivals such as international film festivals, music, and/or literary festivals, drew 3.8 million tourists to Ontario. Music festivals were by far the biggest draw among Arts festivals, attracting 54% of these fans. The report says that “apart from music festivals, theatre is the only arts/culture trip driver to attract at least one third of group members (37%).”
While taking in arts and cultural activities, Ontario’s North American tourists also participate in many other types of activities during their trip, with 84% of them also participating in Outdoor experiences such as a nature park, and 75% of these tourists adding Shopping as part of their trip.

The Music Performance tourist group had the highest proportion of younger tourists (18 – 34 years) among all groups surveyed, with 36% of respondents in the younger age range, compared to 30% in the tourism market as a whole. 
The report also shows that the value of arts and culture overnight tourists is high, with arts and culture tourists outspending typical overnight tourists in Ontario by nearly two-to-one, spending $667 per trip in Ontario, compared to $374 spent by the typical overnight tourist.

The economic benefits of arts and culture tourists reach many other sectors, the report shows: 

  • Arts and culture tourists contributed $1.1 billion to the lodging sector, close to two-fifths of all spending on lodging by overnight tourists during the year (38%)
  • Arts and culture overnight tourists spent $1.1 billion on food and beverages, making up one-third of all overnight spending by overnight tourists (34%)
  • Arts and culture overnight tourists contributed $0.6 billion to the retail sector, or two-fifths of all spending by overnight tourists in Ontario (43%)
  • Over half of all spending by overnight tourists in Ontario came from arts and culture tourists (51%), who contributed $0.5 billion

In an OAC release, Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport said “Cultural tourism is a powerful force that is transforming global travel and trends. Our diverse arts, culture and heritage has helped us attract visitors from within our borders and beyond to explore and experience our exciting province. Our government is committed to evolving our tourism strategy to align with our cultural assets – for example, harnessing live music experiences that will drive our economy and firmly place Ontario on the international map as a premier cultural travel destination.”

“The conclusions that can be drawn from this ground-breaking study confirm that the instincts and vision of Minister Michael Chan are bang on,” said Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Despite the fact that music tourism has never been seriously promoted in Ontario in its history, among ALL arts activities, music remains the largest driver of tourism. It is also worth noting that music is an essential underpinning for cultural events perhaps not categorized as a music event; Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival, for example. We might also have regard to the category of “Arts Festivals.” Within this category, music festivals outclass all other sectors by a substantial margin.

And this is all without a PLAN or any focus. As our Austin study has shown, when a city or state puts its mind to it and develops a strategy, great things happen. In 5 short years, the economic impact of music in Austin jumped from $616 million to $1.3 billion. Fortunately, that is all about to change for Ontario, and the music community eagerly awaits the announcement by Minister Chan tomorrow at the Horseshoe.”

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Toronto City Council Makes Landmark Commitment to Arts Funding: Music Canada

Toronto, January 16, 2013: On behalf of our members and partners, Music Canada wishes to congratulate Mayor Rob Ford and the Members of City Council for their commitment to increase funding to the broad spectrum of arts in Toronto, including the city’s diverse and authentic music cluster.

“Toronto is by any measurement, one of the most successful music markets in the world, evidenced by the diverse and authentic live music offerings found throughout the city on any day of the week. The business of music employs thousands of people, attracts visitors from down the road and beyond our borders, and makes the city a desirable place to live, work and invest. With today’s decision, City Council demonstrates that it recognizes the importance of the music cluster and opens the door to a new level of communication and cooperation. We commend the leadership of Mayor Ford and Councillors Gary Crawford and Josh Colle, who were integral to making this happen,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada.

The 2013 Capital and Operating Budgets include a boost in arts funding derived from the billboard tax. Among the priorities listed in the motion put forward to the Executive Committee by Councillor Gary Crawford was “support for Toronto’s music cluster.”

“As one of the country’s premier music festivals, North by Northeast would like to offer sincere thanks and congratulations to the Mayor and City Council for recognizing the tremendous economic, cultural, and civic value of music on Toronto. The City’s firm support of artists, venues, festivals, and fans will help grow our already vibrant music scene into a global phenomenon that will attract and inspire the world,” says Andy McLean, Managing Director/Co-founder, North by Northeast.

“Toronto’s music community is one of the most vibrant and vital in all of North America, and we are both grateful for the City’s commitment to its health and excited about the possibilities it opens up for the continued growth of the sector. This announcement represents an investment in economic development, social health, and cultural heritage, all of which will return great dividends to the people of Toronto,” says Jesse Kumagai, Director of Programming for The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.

Music Canada has published a report identifying opportunities for greater growth and promotion of the music industry in Toronto and is working with a coalition whose members include live music venues, festivals, concert promoters, music labels, recording studios, managers and artists.

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For more information:

Amy Terrill – Vice President Public Affairs, Music Canada
aterrill@musiccanada.com 647-963-6044

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Music Canada Congratulates Toronto’s Executive Committee on Support of Toronto’s Music Cluster

Toronto, January 11, 2013: Music Canada congratulates Mayor Rob Ford and the Executive Committee Members for their forward-thinking decision to approve a multi-year funding strategy which will increase the per capita funding of arts and culture; prioritize key initiatives including support for Toronto’s music cluster; and implement the Creative Capital Gains Report.

“This decision will lead to a stronger economic future for the City of Toronto,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “It is through the leadership of Mayor Rob Ford, Councillor Gary Crawford who framed the motion, as well as all members, past and present, of the Executive and Economic Development Committees, that we will succeed in leveraging Toronto’s vibrant music cluster in order to stimulate employment, develop Toronto’s international brand as a music city, and attract further investment. We have developed a music strategy where everybody wins and are thrilled to have overwhelming support at City Hall.”

Among the recommendations in the Creative Capital Gains report was to develop a strategy to promote and foster Toronto’s music cluster. In February 2012 Music Canada presented research to support this initiative to the Economic Development Committee which passed a motion instructing staff to work with Music Canada and other music industry representatives to develop a plan.

“The progress made today would not have been possible without the enlightened decision-making by Economic Development Committee Chair Michael Thompson and Councillors Josh Colle and Shelley Carroll, as well as the bold initiative taken by Councillor Mike Layton who seized on the music opportunity created by the Creative Capital Gains report. This is an exciting step forward and we look forward to the support of City Council next week,” says Henderson.

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For more information:

Amy Terrill – Vice President Public Affairs, Music Canada
aterrill@musiccanada.com 647-963-6044

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Pandora opens the box

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

It is not time to yet celebrate the trashing of Tim Westergren’s embarrassing bout of Congressional panhandling…but we are getting close. I can’t imagine that anyone in our industry is unaware that rather than update its business model, Pandora sided with entrenched media and Internet companies and went to Congress in an effort to force a reduction in royalty rates paid to performers. Separately, Pandora has sued ASCAP to lower royalty rates paid to songwriters — just for good measure.

Pandora’s Tim Westergren and Joe Kennedy complained to Congress that Pandora pays a high proportion of revenues in royalties. The problem with this argument is that Pandora CREATED the profit squeeze they complain of by adopting a business model that artificially limited advertising to a single minute every hour. Had Pandora adjusted their model by airing one minute more, Pandora’s profits would dramatically improve.

As David Lowery relates in the Trichordist, the Committee opened up a can of whup-ass on Pandora. Tim Westergren, who just a week or so ago happily showed up at the Future of Music conference (with tousled hair and a hoodie), dodged the Congressional lion’s den altogether. #Coward. Instead, Pandora sent its CEO, Joe Kennedy, to the slaughter.

And a slaughter it was. From all sides of the spectrum abuse was heaped on the idea that Congressional lawmakers should get involved in a private dispute over the payment of royalties–at rates that Westergren himself crowed only a few short years ago was a fine solution for Pandora. In fact, the entire event pinwheeled out of control when lawmakers started asking inconvenient questions about why performers were not receiving royalties when their music was performed on terrestrial radio. This plum presented itself to lawmakers because, inexplicably, Pandora had enlisted lobbying support from terrestrial broadcasters. Of course, terrestrial radio in the US does not pay a performance royalty for sound recordings played on their air. No one knows this better than the Members of the very Congressional subcommittee holding yesterday’s hearing. Rep. Sensenbrenner told Pandora that the subcommittee has devoted more time to this issue than any other in his long service. So for Pandora to throw in their lot with the broadcasters was a very odd choice of bedfellows that put the lack of a performance royalty for US terrestrial radio squarely on display – Member, after Member, after Member raised this issue.

As far as Pandora’s issue with rates–the Subcommittee members nearly unanimously asked “when is a deal a deal” and recited back to Pandora Tim Westergren’s own words from three years ago in which he had celebrated the end of the “royalty crisis!”

It is also worth noting that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the bill’s author, got little or no support from his co-sponsors. Only one co-sponsor spoke and had little to say in defense of the bill. After sitting through an hour and a half of uniformly negative statements by his colleagues, Rep. Chaffetz became so agitated that he actually insulted the mother of the head of SoundExchange in an extraordinary breach of Congressional decorum. Moms are sacrosanct…even in the bear pit that is Congress. Stay classy, Congressman.

I have always thought Pandora’s choice of name might come back to haunt them. Those of you with even a passing familiarity with the classics will recall that the Titan Epimetheus (brother of the more famous fire-stealer, Prometheus) was given a “gift” by Zeus – it was the beautiful, god-crafted Pandora. Now his brother Prometheus had warned him NEVER to accept gifts from Zeus (the two were not exactly on good terms since Prometheus had been chained by Zeus to a rock for all eternity while his liver was repeatedly eaten out by a Vulture.)

Epimetheus forgot his brother’s advice. He accepted Pandora from Zeus and he was even more delighted when he saw that with Pandora came an unusual, sealed chest.

He was told NOT to open it under any circumstances. One day when her husband was away, Pandora, consumed with curiosity (a fatal flaw “programmed” into her by Zeus himself), was unable to resist her impulses – she opened the chest. The moment she did, out flew a ghostly parade of demonic forms that represented every evil Zeus had wished to visit upon mankind. Men and Women had, for example, been free from work – they lolled around living off the largesse of heaven and the gods. After the chest was open, they were condemned to actually WORK for a living.

Well, Westergren, it appears, has opened his own version of this chest….and what demon has he unleashed. It looks Pandora is going to have to WORK to adapt their business model to the market…there will be no heavenly handouts from the congressional gods. But he can hope: Pandora did.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Still Searching for Results in Google’s Wasteland of Illegal Sites and Takedown Notices

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

As readers will know Google announced in August that they were going to update to their search algorithm in an effort to push pirate sites down in rankings. While it sounded like a good thing I decided to periodically undertake a reality check. My early tests suggested that nothing had actually happened – there were no change in the rankings. It was starting to feel like Google has just made another empty promise to help creators. Later I blogged how Google let Grooveshark back into their App Store – a decision which seemed incomprehensible given their publicly stated desire to enhance the results for legal music sources. Then there came Google’s promise to remove pirate sites from Autocomplete returns; a promise that was also shown to be more talk than action.

So I took a moment to see how Canada’s Carly Rae Jepsen is faring a few weeks on. Where are the legal sites; is it easy to find legal sources for music? Well, you can see the mountains of DMCA take-down notices that have accumulated. By the second page, about half the returns are takedown notices. Is this Google’s way of helping?

CallMeMaybeBlog2

Google’s Transparency Report gives a glimpse into the problem – over 7.5 Million takedown notices in the past month. Here you will find the Vancouver-based isoHunt, ranked at #5 for most take-downs received – an ignominious distinction. Now, as an example, here is one of the DMCA notices sent by our British colleagues, the BPI. You can see they sent takedown notices to 20 sites on behalf of Interscope.

It is interesting to see how Google has chosen to handle these notices. Chilling Effects is a website that archives these takedown notices. Ellen Seidler has previously described this as a “clearly an ill-conceived attempt to intimidate those whose rights have actually been infringed.” A quick look at the sites that BPI was targeting shows that they clearly are not legitimate outlets – they are pirate organizations who distribute Jepsen’s work for their own profit.

CarlyRaeTakedownsUnfortunately the legitimate retailers are still hidden behind pages of pirate sites, plus the DMCA takedown links. Anyone interested in acquiring music legitimately has to wade through a wasteland of illegal sites and takedown notices. It is patently ridiculous. I would again compare the situation to that of someone interested in buying a Black and Decker toaster.

BlackandDecker2

Buyers are sent straight to a plethora of legal sites. Wouldn’t the web be a better place for artists, consumers, and digital entrepreneurs if search engines promoted legitimate sites instead of leaving them behind in the pirate site/takedown notice wasteland?

So, ten weeks in…Google’s promise to “help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily” has turned out to be as empty as we thought it was at the outset.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: A #RUSHTheVote update

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Earlier this month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for the 2013 induction class, and for the first time, allowed music fans vote for the five artists they believe to be most deserving of induction. With nearly 25% of the vote, RUSH is currently leading the way in the online poll to determine the “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2013 inductees! Following behind them are Deep Purple at 17% and Heart at 12%. Voting continues until December 3, so there’s still time to #RUSHTheVote and make sure this iconic Canadian band gets their due in the Rock Hall.

Canadians have taken up the challenge – including politicians at every level. Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore helped get out the vote to his Twitter followers, as did MP Brian Masse. David Zimmer, MPP for Willowdale, the area where Geddy and Alex grew up, also promoted the #RUSHTheVote movement online as well as inside the Ontario legislature. At the municipal level, Toronto councillor & staunch music supporter Josh Colle helped spread the word online. Sunrise Records is hosting the poll on their site as well, which Universal Music’s deep catalog division is directing traffic to.

This outpouring of support is just another reminder of the impact and value our music has to Canadian culture. That’s something that’s always worth supporting and promoting, so please take a minute and help #RUSHTheVote!

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Music Tourism – Cranking it up a Notch

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Music tourism is big business and represents a major opportunity for Toronto and Ontario. This is one of the primary conclusions from Music Canada’s study on accelerating the music industry in Toronto that we released in June this year. And people are taking notice.

In 2011, Music Canada commissioned two landmark studies. The first was designed to estimate the economic impact of the recorded music and live performance sectors in Canada. Music Canada retained the services of PwC to perform the former study and the Titan Music group to perform the latter.

The impact study was released publicly at our Annual General Meeting on June 13th in Toronto. Then, the following day, at NXNE, we released Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas. The two studies were designed to work together and to afford for the first time an understanding of the importance of recorded music and live performance to the economy of Ontario and, in particular, Toronto.

This is familiar history by now. What may not be known is the extent to which these studies have gained traction in the music community and at all levels of government. While the role our community plays in weaving the cultural fabric of our country is well understood in the general population and is understood by the federal government and to some extent at the provincial level, the importance of music as an economic driver in Canada was virtually unknown. Assistance was provided to the music community, not because it was thought to be an important economic actor, but because it was “the right thing to do”, because it was thought possible in this way to safeguard a distinctive Canadian culture. No government ever thought to assist the music community in the way, say, the film and the video game sectors are supported – because it is a large, vibrant, desirable economic actor. It’s the difference between looking at music as “art” or as “commerce” – a key difference noted in our second study between Toronto and Austin. In Toronto, and indeed in Ontario and Canada, the tendency is to look at music as “art”.

Well, the PwC study established beyond a doubt that music was about high quality jobs, largely focused in the younger demographic. It proved beyond a doubt that music had an economic impact and not just a cultural one. This is an impact that, by the way, extends far beyond our borders. I would argue that Canada, Ontario and Toronto have failed utterly (to their collective detriment) to recognize the importance of music to the cultural and economic cocktail that makes up “brand Canada”. The cultural and economic one-two punch of music makes it more than a lightweight, more than a middleweight, it makes music a HEAVYWEIGHT. Understanding this has helped us to bring music in from the “policy maker’s cold”; it has helped us to gain respect for our community; it has put us on the map.

And speaking of maps, one of the more stunning conclusions of the PwC study was that the majority of economic activity in the music sector is concentrated in Ontario and particularly the GTA: over 80% of it. For a province and a city desperate to differentiate themselves from other regions, a healthy and in the case of live performance, booming, music sector represents a godsend. Aside from the sort of intangible benefits that a thriving music sector can lend to a city (as so amply demonstrated in the writing of Richard Florida), aside from the jobs it can provide to enthusiastic young people, there is yet another aspect which has gone completely unnoticed and undervalued: music tourism.

The reason we commissioned our unprecedented “tale of two cities”, comparing the music scenes in Toronto and Austin, was to demonstrate exactly how valuable an asset music can be to a local economy. The Austin study demonstrated in a graphic manner what a community like Austin can do when it harnesses the economic potential of music: it is worth hundreds of millions to the economy, possibly billions.

Beginning in the late 1980s, and founded largely on two principal assets, Austin City Limits and the SXSW music festival, Austin developed a plan and worked what amounts to an economic miracle. The economic impact on the economy was astonishing, first measured at around 600 million dollars, it rapidly almost TRIPLED. Austin began marketing itself as the Live Music Capital of the World and ensured that visitors don’t go home without experiencing live music.

The result? Nearly half of all economic activity generated by the commercial music sector in Austin is music tourism – about $800 million in 2010. Austin’s two largest music events, South by Southwest Film, Interactive and Music Conference, and Austin City Limits Festival, each grew by $25 million per year from 2005 to 2010. A whopping 20% of the economic activity generated in ALL tourism in Austin is attributed to music tourism.

Now, imagine what Toronto and Ontario could do….if they only understood the nature of the asset and had a plan. As the study’s authors pointed out, Toronto starts from a place far ahead of where Austin is even now. Toronto has the 4th largest number of live music establishments per capita in North America; we have world class recording studios; we produce international stars who have received their start in the Toronto music scene, creating a bevy of musical “landmarks” for the avid fan; Toronto is home to the head offices of all three major labels and 16 of the largest domestic independent labels. Any night of the week you can find music of every genre, from every Diaspora of the world – performed at famous, brilliantly equipped venues such as the Horseshoe Tavern and the Molson Amphitheatre. Toronto is, without a doubt, the music capital of Canada and one of the great music centres of the world.

People already travel to Toronto to see concerts, festivals and to experience the myriad of diverse live music events the city offers. This organic activity has created a strong foundation. It’s time to crank it up a notch or two.

It’s time to INVITE people to our city to experience live music.

This idea has galvanized two levels of government. At the City of Toronto, the Economic Development Committee, with strong leadership from Councillors Thompson, Colle and Carroll, received the Austin study with enthusiasm, sending it to staff with a demand that they bring forward recommendations. Support has been voiced across the political spectrum at council and right to the Mayor’s office. At the Provincial level, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, The Honourable Michael Chan, who seems to be remaking himself as the “music minister”, similarly sought ideas from his staff about how to harness the power of music tourism. My impression is that at both levels of government, the uptake is moving at near light speed. Both City and Province are behaving in an exemplary, entrepreneurial and business-like manner.

One very concrete example of our progress can be found here.  For the first time Ontario Tourism has undertaken a specific focus on music. Their fall travel guide highlights live music events in Ontario – music festivals, concerts and clubs get profiled beside some of the more traditional features like fall driving trips and wine and culinary experiences. Though surprisingly slower on the uptake, Toronto Tourism seems to be recognizing the potential as well. In a recent interview on Here and Now, Andrew Weir of Tourism Toronto mentioned the music scene as a key attraction for overseas visitors.

Toronto and Ontario have one of the most active and most diverse live music markets in the world. It’s time we started telling someone. The new, global digital environment has changed the rules of the game for all of us. In the music industry, we need a new industrial strategy. Music tourism represents an enormous opportunity to stimulate the live music sector, generating more activity, gigs and dollars, and thereby creating a healthier, more vibrant music industry for all. Our country’s musicians are under unprecedented pressure, it is increasingly difficult for them to make a living as professional musicians. One way we can help is to attract tourists to Ontario and Toronto….it could be the difference between two paying gigs and one, or one instead of none. The treasure is here. Let’s bring the world to Ontario to find it. We are home to one of the great musical wonders of the world.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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New bilateral agreement between US and Canada opens the flow of royalties to Canadian labels and performers

An historic agreement has been reached between Re:Sound Music Licensing Company and SoundExchange to ensure that Canadian rights holders receive royalties from US uses of their work licensed by SoundExchange. The agreement covers all Canadian rights holders signed to AVLA, ACTRA, Artisti, MROC, and SOPROQ.
 
“This agreement unlocks new sources of revenue for AVLA members and is an important step forward in our Canada-US relationship,” says Graham Henderson, President of AVLA.  “Canadian labels and performers will now be able to collect royalties accumulated from the use of their recordings on US satellite radio stations like SIRIUS XM, internet radio stations, streaming services and cable TV music channels south of the border.  Most importantly, they don’t have to join SoundExchange in order to do this, but as a result of the bilateral agreement, can collect their earnings through the organization in Canada to which they already belong.”
 
The first distribution to rights holders will occur in 2013.
 
Bilateral agreements of this kind are an important source of future revenue.  Hopefully, this is the first of many agreements of its kind with countries around the world who are signatories of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).
 
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