To emphasize the value of music and the importance of Canada’s music creators to Ottawa’s decision-makers, Music Canada, in partnership with Quebecor, hosted Capital Beat on May 16, 2017. The non-partisan, intimate celebration of music featured performances by Scott Helman and Vincent Vallières, as well as special guest speaker The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Indigenous musicians in Canada, and what music means to them, were the focus of the 2017 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week, titled The Power of Music: Indigenous Artists Discuss Music’s Ability to Unite, Inspire, and Heal. JUNO and Polaris Prize-winning experimental vocalist Tanya Tagaq delivered a brilliant and emotional keynote address before joining Susan Aglukark, Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red, and Mike Downie, who co-created the Secret Path project, for a profound, wide-ranging panel discussion moderated by John Kim Bell. Music Canada has been a proud sponsor of the Global Forum for more than a decade.
At the 46th Annual JUNO Awards in Ottawa in March of 2017, Music Canada unveiled Anthology: Defining Moments in Canadian Music. The project was originally presented as a series of five prints, each representing a decade in Canadian music history. When put together, the prints form a timeline that chronicles the events that helped shape Canadian music, including artistic and award-based milestones, industry and regulatory developments, as well as media and technological changes that have been part of our industry’s evolution.
To bring the project to a wider audience, Music Canada developed an interactive website, launched in October of 2017, which includes links to historical photos and videos. The defining moments highlighted in Anthology were compiled by renowned music journalist Larry LeBlanc, and the prints as well as accompanying website were designed by Ben Purkiss.
Released at the 2017 East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference, the report calls for a unified Atlantic Canadian Music Strategy to strengthen the future of the region’s music sector. The report has led to the formation of provincial working groups and has inspired discussion and policy-focused events such as the Backbeats and Bylaws symposium.
“Music is fundamentally linked to Atlantic Canadian culture. This report clearly shows that – in addition to bolstering that identity – supporting this sector means helping small businesses, creating opportunities to attract and retain youth employment, and developing our artists to compete at an international level. The first step to harnessing these opportunities is creating a pan-Atlantic strategy.” – Andy McLean, Executive Director of the East Coast Music Association
At Canadian Music Week (CMW) in 2017, Music Canada hosted its second international Music Cities summit, “The Mastering of a Music City.” The summit built on the success of our 2015 report of the same name, which set out a roadmap for communities of all sizes to maximize the potential of their local music economies. In addition to the 200 guests and delegates from Canada, the United States, Poland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Jamaica, and Colombia in attendance, over 5,000 people from around the world tuned in to the event’s live stream.
The following section features projects Music Canada was involved with, and also highlights the efforts of regional players.
The London Music Census was a first-of-its-kind study of London, Ontario’s music sector completed in 2017 by the London Music Office. The census identified barriers to prosperity, as well as potential areas of future growth. Several key statistics emerged from the census, including:
“The London Music Census provided an opportunity to understand our advantages, issues, and gaps faced by the growing local music industry. Through community and industry support we collected a database of assets and baseline figures for future analysis and measurement.” - Cory Crossman, Music Industry Development Officer, City of London
In response to the closure of several live music venues in 2016 and early 2017, Mayor John Tory and Councillor Josh Colle, Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council, released a statement confirming Toronto’s commitment to supporting the live music industry.
“We are dedicated to growing our music sector. Ensuring a thriving music scene helps drive economic growth and will keep Toronto as a vibrant place to live.” - John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
To confront some of the challenges and obstacles facing Toronto’s live music venues amid a wave of venue closures, Music Canada Live convened a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) in March of 2017. RACs in other Canadian cities have proven to be an effective means to influence change with municipal governments and other agencies. Participation in the RAC is open to all Toronto clubs, venues and stakeholders whose core business is live music.
“Its essential that the industry come together and work with cities and provinces to ask the hard questions, now. When you lose a venue, you lose part of the character and quality of a community. What makes a great neighbourhood? We need action to stem the loss of the creative people, spaces and places that help to define who we are. The entire Canadian venue ecosystem will benefit from this work” - Erin Benjamin, Executive Director, Music Canada Live
To promote and showcase the music and musicians of Toronto to newcomers and visitors to the city, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Councillor Josh Colle launched YYZ Live on June 27, 2017. The concert series featured two daily performances by local musicians for international arrivals at Pearson International Airport. Presented in celebration of Canada 150, the series ran from June to September 2017, with 150 performances by 75 emerging artists from Toronto’s music scene.
"This program is part of the City's overall efforts to provide paid performance and exposure opportunities for Toronto musicians through its own initiatives and by collaborating with others." - Josh Colle, Toronto City Councillor and Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council
Music Canada, in partnership with TD Bank Group, was proud to return as a sponsor of City Hall Live in 2017. Formerly known as Live From City Hall, the program expanded in 2017 to include new collaborations with local venues, presenters and musicians. In addition to its outdoor summer concert series in Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall Live brought a larger focus this year on panel discussions and other learning opportunities for the music community.
“This series provides performance opportunities, information sessions and discussions that we hope will inform and empower Toronto’s talented music community. By bringing City Hall Live directly to artists and their communities, the series is now more accessible and can have greater impact.” - John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
To foster growth and collaboration in Windsor-Essex’s music sector, the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) and the Small Business Centre (SBC) convened a Music Advisory Council and organized a report to identify the opportunities and challenges for the music industry in the region. The Music Advisory Council advocates for the local music community and aims to bolster local artist development and assist musicians with the business side of their careers. The council is composed of musicians, producers, managers, and representatives from other local arts groups.
In March of 2017, the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC), in collaboration with the city of Ottawa, created a task force composed of stakeholders from the music industry and connected sectors like film and tourism to develop a plan to make Ottawa a Music City. This includes growing the city’s talent base and providing opportunities for local artists.
“Developing a municipal music strategy is about bringing together industry and government to create an environment that nurtures music’s transformative potential.” - Andrew Vincent, Executive Director of OMIC
“Live music is a growth industry in Ottawa. It shapes our identity and who we are as a city. In addition to the cultural benefits, a thriving music industry helps to level the playing field for our homegrown companies who are competing to attract talent from around the world.” - Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
Music and arts leaders, including Music Canada’s Amy Terrill, are working together to identify viable strategies for Vancouver in response to a council motion in 2016 which called for increasing city support for musicians and music. As the host city of JUNO Week 2018, the spotlight will be on Vancouver.
On October 13, 2017, Music/Musique NB, Music Canada and the City of Moncton presented a full-day symposium as part of Festival (506) called Bylaws and Backbeats. The symposium focused on identifying key strategies and concrete recommendations that policymakers, political leaders and members of the music community can use in building a strong, more vibrant music community. Music Canada’s Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, discussed key strategies and successes garnered from our 2015 report The Mastering of a Music City.