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Tag archive: 4479 (5)

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: 3 Ways John Tory’s Announcement Will Help Toronto’s Music Sector

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.

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting South by Southwest in Austin, TX, as part of the delegation that included Mayor John Tory, Councillors Michael Thompson and Josh Colle, as well as Zaib Shaikh and Mike Tanner from the City of Toronto, Jeff Cohen of Collective Concerts, Sari Delmar of Audio Blod, Jesse Kumagai of Live Nation, and my Music Canada colleague Amy Terrill, and I am pleased to see the mission bearing fruit as this week the Mayor announced the steps the City of Toronto will take to better utilize the terrific competitive advantage that music offers our city.

The mayor ran on a platform that specifically included music, which was an amazing first for Toronto. By choosing to make his first business mission all about music, the Mayor not only demonstrated his belief in the importance of music to Toronto, but he also sent a strong signal to Toronto’s music community that he intends to make good on his promises. Many of the changes that Mayor Tory promised this week are very achievable and will bring swift improvements to the livelihood of Toronto’s artists and others working in the music sector, and in turn, benefit the entire city.

For example, Mr. Tory announced that he will conduct a thorough review of existing city bylaws and the permitting policies that affect music events and musicians. There are many small steps that can be taken to remove red tape, which will have an immediate impact on Toronto musicians and venues. A perfect example: last Friday I attended an excellent show at Hugh’s Room, and was dismayed to learn that the venue received a $490 fine for a poster on a nearby utility pole.

Who does this help? It makes it harder for the venue to operate, certainly. For many venues, it would wipe out their profits for the night – too many of those, and they may decide it’s not worth the hassle and close their doors. Fortunately, Mayor Tory has recognized that this type of red tape counters our efforts to establish Toronto as a Music City. During Monday’s press conference he stated: “We will miss opportunities where our own talent will get impatient with us and go somewhere else.” This is very true, and I am glad the Austin example has impressed the importance of City Hall working in concert with the music sector on the Mayor.

The Mayor also spoke of the need to promote Toronto specifically as a music destination for tourists. This was one of the key recommendations from our Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas report, and Music Canada has already started down this path with the creation of the 4479 initiative, which celebrates what makes Toronto one of the greatest music cities in the world: the music, the people, the places, and the city. Mr. Tory identified several opportunities to include a strong music presence in large Toronto events that the City is already taking part in, such as the Pan Am Games, Pride, and Caribana. The Mayor also spoke of looking into public-private partnerships in this space, which presents many opportunities. For example, Tourism Toronto has been a fantastic champion of the power of music tourism, highlighting local music offerings in their 2014 and 2015 editions of their flagship Toronto Magazine. A coordinated music tourism promotion campaign would also dovetail very nicely with Ontario’s Live Music Strategy, which is strengthening the live music scene across the province. At his announcement, the Mayor mentioned Austin’s live music guidebook and smart phone app, which helps tourists find live music easily in the city, helping promote local artists and venues. OntarioLiveMusic.ca, which was developed by Music Canada under contract to the Ontario government, provides a comprehensive listing of live music in Ontario – the Toronto data could be localized and licensed for the City’s use to quickly create a comprehensive listing for Toronto.

Another major point from Mr. Tory’s announcement was how a strong music scene can benefit businesses in other sectors. “The table stakes for economic development in cities like Toronto and Austin is the ability to compete successfully for talent,” said Mayor Tory. “I have been to Austin and I have seen how creative sectors like music, film and technology drive economic growth, job creation, investment and tourism – and help attract and retain young talent. If we’re going to bring more jobs, and attract and keep world class talent in Toronto, we need to focus on promoting and growing our creative sectors and this summit will be critical to that process.”

This is an important point, and something that we learned through our research with the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) last year. The ICTC report, Music – A Catalyst For Technology Hubs And Innovative Talent, found that a strong cultural scene can be a significant advantage for a city looking to retain the creative and innovative workers that today’s creative industries require. Austin has utilized this strategy very effectively, and now makes music an explicit part of their economic development pitch to tech companies. We have also completed research in Alberta, and found that a strategic approach to developing their music sector could lead to economic diversification, and help attract the young, affluent workers that other industries desperately need. Currently, Music Canada is developing a report that examines global best practices for music sector development, which will be released this summer.

Mayor Tory also outlined several other steps and goals in driving economic development through music, including:

  • Hosting a summit with business and key music industry stakeholders from Toronto and Austin this fall
  • Strengthen the City’s Entertainment Industries Office to assist in putting music on a growth path similar to that of film.
  • Explore the opportunity in the initiation/expansion of an interactive conference similar to the SXSW Interactive Festival

As always, it will take both effort and commitment to achieve these goals. But as our research indicates, the benefits will make our efforts worthwhile – both for our musicians and those working in the music sector, and for the community at large. Mayor Tory has shown that he recognizes the opportunities that the music sector presents, and he has sent a strong signal that he intends to achieve these goals. I am glad to have a strong champion of music at City Hall, and I look forward to working together to harness the power of music in Toronto.

 

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

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Ticket Giveaway: Retweet To Attend A Screening Of WHIPLASH In Toronto On October 23, 2014

On Thursday October 23, 2014, Mongrel Media & 4479 proudly present Whiplash at Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre, and an evening of Canadian Music in support of the charity MusiCounts. A favourite among festival goers this year, Whiplash tells the story of Andrew Neyman (played by Miles Teller), an aspiring young jazz drummer whose ambitious instructor (J.K. Simmons) helps push his ability using unorthodox (but effective) training methods.

Following the screening, we’ll head on over from Scotiabank Theatre to Adelaide Hall for the official after party!

Want to go? Simply retweet Music Canada’s tweet below by Wednesday October 22 at 12 PM and you’ll be automatically entered to win a pair of tickets to the screening and after party. You must be 19+ to enter. Transportation to Toronto will not be provided.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Six music cities to share best practices for music development at Music Cities Exchange during NXNE

Toronto, June 12, 2014: Representatives from six cities who have taken a pro-active approach to developing their music scenes will take part in a Music Cities Exchange during NXNE on Friday, June 20, 2014. Panelists from Toronto, Austin, Hamilton, London, Chicago, Kitchener, and Montreal have been invited to participate in a moderated forum where panelists discuss the steps their city has taken to leverage their respective music scenes and grow opportunities for music development.

The Music Cities Exchange will share best practices, discuss challenges and opportunities facing their respective music communities, and explore the relationship between music and tourism agencies, municipal governments and other sectors.

When: Friday, June 20 @ 2:30 – 4 pm

Where: The Portland Room, The Spoke Club, 600 King St W, Toronto

To arrange interviews with panelists, please contact Quentin Burgess at qburgess@musiccanada.com or 647-981-8410.

This event is proudly sponsored by NXNE, 4479, and Music Canada.

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For more information:

Music Canada Media Contact: Quentin Burgess, 647.981.8410, qburgess@musiccanada.com

NXNE Media Contact: FLIP PUBLICITY Damien Nelson, 416.533.7710 X221, damien@flip-publicity.com

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2013 a banner year for Music Canada’s advocacy efforts

2013 was a banner year for Music Canada’s advocacy efforts, with Toronto City Council, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada all showing they recognize the value of the Canadian music sector, with all levels taking several concrete steps to grow the industry.

Toronto:

In Toronto, 2013 began with a landmark commitment to arts funding, as the 2013 Capital and Operating Budgets include a boost in arts funding derived from the billboard tax. Toronto artists celebrated as the Executive Committee endorsed a plan to increase funding to $25 per capita on arts programs and grants by 2016. Among the priorities listed in the motion put forward to the Executive Committee by Councillor Gary Crawford was “support for Toronto’s music cluster.” Unfortunately, in November, a City staff report recommended pushing back the target to 2018, although Councillor Crawford said he believes the 2016 target is still attainable, and plans to put forward a motion before the 2014 budget is finalized to phase in the funding by 2016.

In June, artists and musicians joined leaders from music, tourism and City Hall to launch 4479 – a campaign to position Toronto as one of the greatest music cities in the world. 4479 is designed to promote Toronto as a world leader in live and recorded music and also to build a community that engages artists, industry supporters and fans who share the vision of Toronto as a vibrant and diverse music city.

Later in June, Austin City Council voted in favour of a music city alliance with Toronto, creating the catalyst for the partnership between the two cities.

In July, Toronto City Council responded in kind, unanimously supporting a motion to establish a Music City Alliance with Austin. Members of Toronto’s music community expressed strong support for the alliance in a release issued by the 4479 campaign.

The 4479 website officially launched in September, with a video showcasing Toronto’s world class music scene, and advocacy tools and campaigns to encourage Toronto city councillors to “say yes to music” at upcoming votes at City Council.

The Alliance was made official in October , during a music and cultural business mission led by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Councillors Gary Crawford, Josh Colle, Doug Ford, and Michael Thompson, as well as representatives from the music sector, travelled to Austin, Texas.

The Alliance agreement states that the two cities will “work collaboratively to develop and expand all elements of the music industry, including but not limited to artists, venues, festivals, studios, management and promotion.”

The groundwork for a Music Office at City Hall was laid in October, when the City of Toronto issued a job posting for a Sector Development Officer (Music) , working in the Economic Development & Culture division. The creation of this position is an important milestone as it sends a clear signal that the city now regards music as an important economic sector. The creation of a Music Office at City Hall was one of the recommendations outlined in the Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth – Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas report, commissioned by Music Canada.

Also in October, Toronto City Council voted unanimously to request the Federal Government extend the Temporary Worker Fee exemptions for musicians to all venues, including bars, restaurants and coffee shops, adding weight to the concerns raised throughout the music community.

In November, Toronto’s Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to adopt the Terms of Reference for a Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council. The City of Toronto then solicited applications for membership on the Council, with an invitation to apply, membership application, and background materials posted on the City of Toronto’s website .

This week, Toronto City Council has approved the establishment of the new Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council , marking a significant success for the music community.

According to the staff report, the “Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council will provide a forum for the discussion of opportunities and challenges, exchange of ideas, input and advice, and collaborative development of recommendations and a unifying voice to advance the music sector in Toronto.”

Ontario:

Ontario made it clear in 2013 that the province recognizes music is an integral part of Ontario’s cultural landscape and an innovative economic driver:

In January, the Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, announced that the government of Ontario would be developing a live music strategy that will strengthen the province’s position as a global leader for live music.

Minister Chan made the announcement at an event at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, which featured performances by DJ Clymaxxx, The Good Lovelies, and the Skydiggers. The room was packed with leaders from the live and recorded music sectors as well as artists and musicians. Minister Chan also announced an Industry Working Group to develop the strategy and strengthen Ontario’s position as a global capital for live music.

Minister Chan’s announcement was buoyed by a report from the Ontario Arts Council, who released the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile in January. The report provides a comprehensive profile of Ontario’s arts and culture tourists and their economic impact. The 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.

The music industry was recognized as a key economic driver during the Ontario Liberal leadership debate in January, as Kathleen Wynne noted that the music industry is “absolutely an important economic driver for the GTA, for the City of Toronto.”

In February, Premier Wynne highlighted the music sector in a key economic section of the Speech from the Throne, among traditional Ontario powerhouse industries like agriculture and the automotive sector.

In May, the Ontario government announced plans to create the Ontario Music Fund that would help support and create jobs and position the province as a leading place to record and perform music. Speaking at Lee’s Palace, Finance Minister Charles Sousa revealed that the new Ontario Music Fund is a proposed $45 million grant program over three years, starting in 2013-14.

Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke at Music Canada’s Annual General Meeting in July, where she expressed her desire to make Ontario a place where artists and musicians can succeed. She reaffirmed her government’s commitment to the Ontario Music Fund and the Live Music Strategy, emphasizing the importance of music to our economy and our culture.

In August, the Ontario government launched its Pan Am and Parapan Am Games Promotion, Celebration and Legacy Strategy, which aims to increase the economic benefits of the 2015 Games and support them in becoming the People’s Games. A key part of the strategy is a plan to celebrate and showcase Ontario talent from “the stage to the stadium” in local communities. This includes enhancing support for live music, celebrations and festivals, adding to Ontario’s reputation as a live music destination.

The Ontario Music Fund was officially launched in October, with the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport making the announcement at Revolution Recording studio in Toronto. As per the release, the new fund will support Ontario-based music companies and music production and distribution through four streams:

The Ontario Music Fund is administrated by the Ontario Music Office, with more information available on their website.

Canada:

In July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named The Honourable Shelley Glover as Minister of Canadian Heritage, with the Honourable James Moore moving to a new role as Minister of Industry Canada.

Both Minister Glover and Minister Moore underscored music’s importance to Canadian culture and Canada’s economy at two Minister’s Music Nights in 2013, which were produced by Music Canada and Quebecor.

The most recent event was hosted by the Honourable Shelly Glover, and featured terrific performances by Kaïn & Brett Kissel at the Museum of Civilization (History). The event also featured music from students of Hillcrest High School, an Ottawa, ON, school that features music education as a key part of their community and curriculum.
At the event, Minister Glover spoke passionately about the talent and diversity of Canada’s music scene, as well as the economic and cultural benefits of our music sector.
“I have always been very impressed by the talent and diversity of the artists who shape the music scene in Canada. I am particularly inspired by the number of talented young artists who keep music new and exciting,” said Minister Glover. “Canada’s recording industry is the seventh-largest in the world, generating almost $3 billion in economic activity every year. Thanks to the talent and creativity of our artists, Canada is the third-largest exporter of musical talent in the world.”

Back in February, then-Heritage Minister James Moore hosted invited guests at the National Arts Centre as Johnny Reid and Étienne Drapeau performed. Prior to the concert, both artists toured Parliament Hill with Minister Moore, and met with several MPs and Senators in a reception hosted by The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons.

In August, Music Canada expressed concern about changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers program that affect some Canadian music venues featuring international performers. It is our belief that these impacts are unintended consequences of regulations designed to protect jobs for Canadians. While this policy is borne out of a valid concern for Canadian employment, it will reduce the ability of bars and restaurants that host live music to hire international performers. Music Canada is optimistic that insightful exceptions can be extended to musicians performing in all venues, and look forward to the resolution of this issue.

Looking back, 2013 was a banner year for Music Canada’s advocacy efforts in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada, which we hope will lead to greater opportunities for Canadian artists and musicians and the teams that work with them. With all levels of government taking several concrete steps towards growing our music sector this year, the stage is set for a terrific 2014.

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Media Advisory: Toronto music campaign to be launched at NXNE

Toronto, June 11, 2013: A campaign to position Toronto as one of the greatest music cities in the world will be launched at NXNE just one year after the concept was first discussed at the event. A study comparing Toronto to Austin Texas was released at NXNE by Music Canada in 2012 recommending, among other things, an industry-led initiative to brand the city’s music scene.

That brand will be revealed on June 13 by a panel consisting of:

Graham Henderson, Music Canada
Josh Colle, Toronto City Councillor
Mike Tanner, NXNE
Jesse Kumagai, The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
Andrew Weir, Tourism Toronto

The Toronto music city campaign will activate artists, industry supporters, and fans of the Toronto music community in order to create more awareness about Toronto’s music scene, more opportunities for live music in Toronto and a more music-friendly City Hall.

When: Thursday, June 13 @ 4:15 pm
Where: NXNE Interactive, The Hyatt Regency, 370 King Street West, Room: Regency D

To arrange interviews, please contact Amy Terrill at aterrill@musiccanada.com or 416-967-7272 x 103.

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For more information:

Music Canada Media Contact: Amy Terrill 647-963-6044 aterrill@musiccanada.com 647-963-6044

NXNE Media Contact FLIP PUBLICITY Damien Nelson 416.533.7710 X221 damien@flip-publicity.com

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