The discussion was moderated by Music Canada Live‘s Erin Benjamin and featured panelists Mark Garner (Downtown Yonge BIA), Councillor Jeff Leiper (City of Ottawa), Amy Terrill (Music Canada) and Tim Potocic (Sonic Unyon / Supercrawl). The panelists shared how music has changed their communities, and how they are working businesses to foster a better environment for artists and artist entrepreneurs.
Last week, over 600 performing artists and 8,000 fans gathered in Cape Breton for East Coast Music Week (ECMW). Amidst the performances music professionals and representatives from music associations from across Canada met and began an initiative to make the music industry stronger in Atlantic Canada.
As ECMW came to a close, Andy McLean, of the East Coast Music Association, announced the beginning of a process to study the east coast’s music industry. In partnership with Music Canada and Music Canada Live, this initiative will eventually lead to the production of an industry profile of Atlantic Canada which will identify its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth and development.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to ensure that East Coast musicians can have a sustainable career without having to leave the region.
“The amount of talent in the Atlantic region is undeniable, and large events and festivals like the ECMA, bring outstanding cultural and economic benefits to the region,” says Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President of Music Canada. “We look forward to learning more about the things that are working well in the Atlantic region and generating some new ideas that would help build a stronger, more successful music community.”
The initial report, which is expected by September 2016, has the support of all five regions and the local music industry associations (Music Nova Scotia, Music PEI, Music New Brunswick, Music Newfoundland & Labrador and the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative) who will participate in the study.
Amy Terrill spoke to the East Coast Music Week Industry Conference about Music Canada’s research—the BC Music Sector report which led to the Government of British Columbia’s recent $15 million investment in the music industry, and The Mastering of a Music City report which continues to generate discussion about how cities can make themselves more music and musician-friendly.
“It’s exciting to see the music city conversations blossoming in the Atlantic provinces,” added Terrill. “Music has an incredible impact on community vitality and quality of life, which is critical for attracting and retaining young workers from every sector. Working with the music community to ensure a friendly environment for the presentation of music is a win-win approach.”
From February 2-5, 2016, Ottawa will host the 2nd annual MEGAPHONO music festival, showcasing the nation’s capital’s burgeoning music scene to fans and industry professionals alike. The festival will feature a packed schedule of club gigs, free shows in the Centretown & Hintonburg neighbourhoods, and daily panel discussions beginning February 3.
On Thursday February 4, the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC) presents the panel In Search Of The Music City: What Does Local Business Have To Gain? at Live On Elgin (230 Elgin, 2nd Floor). The discussion will be moderated by Music Canada Live‘s Erin Benjamin and will feature panelists Mark Garner (Downtown Yonge BIA), Councillor Jeff Leiper (City of Ottawa), Amy Terrill (Music Canada) and Tim Potocic (Sonic Unyon / Supercrawl).
The discussion comes at a crucial point in Ottawa’s push towards growing its thriving music scene, an effort panelist Councillor Jeff Leiper has shown favourable support for. At MEGAPHONO 2015, festival director and Kelp Records’ Jon Bartlett revealed the Ottawa music reportConnecting Ottawa Music: A Profile of Ottawa’s Music Industries.
“It’s an exciting time to be working in music in Ottawa,” said Jon Bartlett at the report’s launch. “It’s like nothing I’ve felt in 15 years of living here. We are in the middle of a musical boom here in Ottawa.”
What is music’s place in our heritage? How important is its preservation? In Making Music History Work For The Present, Music Canada’s first article published on Huffington Post Canada, Amy Terrill (VP Public Affairs) discusses music’s importance in honouring a city’s cultural heritage as well as ensuring a healthy and vibrant future, citing specific examples from Music Cities around the world like London, Nashville, New Orleans, and Toronto.
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 creativeactivity.
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 muchrecognition.
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.
Music Canada was thrilled to welcome many of our members, friends, and industry partners to our 2015 Annual General Meeting, held on September 24, 2015, at the Lula Lounge in Toronto.
Among the program highlights, the AGM featured a conversation with Toronto Mayor John Tory and Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson. Entitled ‘Toronto’s Music City – View from the Top’, the discussion centred on Toronto’s role and reputation as a Music City, and how the City, community, and local music industry can continue to foster this reputation.
Video: Toronto’s Music City – View from the Top: in conversation with Mayor John Tory
Next, Henderson delivered the Year-In-Review, which underlined the importance of collaboration and partnership within our industry.
After noting the growth in Canada’s digital music market, helped by the launch of new streaming entrants in the market, Henderson highlighted the Ontario Music Fund, which was made permanent in Ontario’s most recent budget bill. “Thank you Premier Wynne and Minister Coteau for seeing the economic value in Ontario’s booming music sector,” said Henderson. The success of the Ontario Music Fund has sparked interest across the country, explained Henderson, pointing to the Fertile Ground report commissioned by the National Music Centre and completed by Music Canada last fall, which provides recommendations for leveraging the potential of Alberta’s music sector. Henderson then announced that Music Canada is undertaking a study on British Columbia to make similar recommendations to their provincial government.
At the federal level, Henderson noted a major win in the budget bill with term extension for sound recordings. Noting that these recordings would otherwise fall into the public domain during the artists’ lifetime, the unprecedented success on term extension brought Canada in line with international standards.
Henderson also congratulated the Unison Benevolent Fund on reaching their $1 million fundraising target this year, making the fund operational. Music Canada is proud as an organization, along with our label members, for the role we played in investing $250,000 for the fund. Henderson then recognized our matching partner, Slaight Music.
Video: 2015 Year In Review
Continuing on the Music Cities theme, the AGM featured a panel entitled ‘Music City Strategies from the Ground Up’ with three panelists from across Canada who shared insight to the strategies and programs they are using to grow the music sector in their home regions.
Moderated by Amy Terrill, Music Canada’s VP of Public Affairs, the panel featured:
Andrew Vincent, a singer-songwriter, researcher, and creative consultant from Ottawa, ON. He is the co-author of Connecting Ottawa Music, an Ontario Music Fund-supported project profiling Ottawa’s music industries that was released in Spring 2015. He is currently serving as the interim Executive Director of the newly formed Ottawa Music Industry Coalition, a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting growth in the city’s music industries.
Mark Garner, Executive Director for the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area in downtown Toronto. Over the past decade he has increasingly focused on the revitalization and development of urban downtowns, playing an integral role in catalyzing on economics, neighbourhoods, social innovation and incubators. The DYBIA boasts a Music Strategy that looks at the deep history of music in downtown Toronto, programming His ideas and approach have been acknowledged by numerous awards and by being emulated in other communities.
Thom Bennett, a professional musician/producer/recordist/instructor based in Edmonton. He performs regularly around Western Canada and beyond with a plethora of artists including A/B trio, MIXTAPE, Ann Vriend, Jesse Peters and dozens of other artists. When not maintaining his busy gigging schedule he splits his time between producing and engineering records for local artists at Sanctuary Studios, session studio work, accompaniment work, teaching and composing music. Thom has created the ELM (Edmonton Live Music) Initiative involving with the support and help of key stakeholders in government and the music industry in Edmonton. Its aim is to reinvigorate Edmonton’s live music scene through an innovative economic stimulus plan that involves the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
Video: ‘Music City Strategies from the Ground Up’ panel
Following the panel, Henderson introduced a new tradition at the Music Canada AGM with the creation of the President’s Award, which recognizes an organization or individual outside the music industry that has had a significant impact on the music industry. The inaugural recipient of the award was Mark Garner of the Downtown Yonge BIA, which has created an action plan to stimulate music performance, creation, education and celebration in the downtown core of the city. Their music strategy builds on the rich music history in downtown Yonge in order to create an environment where music can succeed now and in the future.
For more on the President’s Award, visit our blog.
To close out the day, Warner Music Canada President Steve Kane introduced Modern Space, a five-piece Toronto-based band that recently signed with Warner Music Canada. The band delivered a high energy performance of songs from their upcoming debut EP.
For more photos from the Annual General Meeting, visit our photo album on Facebook.
We were thrilled to welcome many of Music Canada’s members, friends, and industry partners to our 2015 Annual General…
The NMC commissioned Music Canada to author the report, which was supported by funding from the Scotlyn Foundation. In a release, NMC President and CEO Andrew Mosker said the report was inspired by Music Canada’s success in demonstrating the value of provincial and municipal live music strategies in Ontario.
“Graham and Paul Lessard with the Scotlyn Foundation approached us, eager to do something meaningful for Alberta’s music industry,” said Mosker. “I was very aware of the incredible work Music Canada had done in Ontario, and wondered if the same strategic business approach could work in Alberta.”
The report notes that Alberta is already home to a number of key music assets, and that a strategic initiative to develop the music cluster would create the opportunity for diversification of the Alberta economy.
“This report is about breaking music out of the cultural box, and into the general consciousness of Alberta’s economic leaders, demonstrating its value and ability to attract and retain creative talent, support tourism and inspire investment across a variety of economic sectors, thereby supporting efforts to diversify Alberta’s economy,” said Amy Terrill, VP of Public Affairs at Music Canada and author of the Fertile Ground report.
Music Canada and NMC consulted a variety of stakeholders across Alberta in researching the report, including Alberta Music, tourism agencies, arts and culture organizations, and Alberta Chambers of Commerce. The report found that a strategic music initiative would “closely align with the priorities of numerous agencies and commissions involved in economic development, tourism and related fields, suggesting that it will be well received throughout the province.”
The four key recommendations to government and other sector partners are:
Develop a comprehensive understating of the economic profile of Alberta’s music cluster, with regional breakouts for Calgary and Edmonton as well as other smaller cities as appropriate.
Position music as a key economic sector, a vehicle for the diversification of Alberta’s economy, and a tool that municipalities can use to stimulate economic growth, increase investment, retain youth, and drive tourism.
Develop and implement a strategic plan to build the business capacity of the music industry in Alberta.
Develop and implement a live music strategy for Alberta to improve the live music product offering in Alberta and generate increased music tourism.
To view the full Fertile Ground report, visit the NMC site at www.nmc.ca/amci.
On June 26, in front of a sold out audience at the @economicclubca, Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson delivered a keynote address to launch our latest report Closing the Value Gap: How to Fix Safe Harbours & Save the Creative Middle Class. https://t.co/uqqWC5BzUM
"In Hell I'll Be In Good Company," the breakthrough single from Regina, Saskatchewan's @TheDeadSouth4, is officially their first #GoldinCanada certification! The song can be found on their 2014 debut studio album Good Company.
Congratulations to all of the 2019 @PolarisPrize #ShortList artists! The winning album will be determined at the Polaris Music Prize Gala on September 16 at The Carlu in Toronto, and will be live-streamed on @CBCMusic. https://t.co/6cbRs3hMq2 #Polaris2019
“The reality is the framework is broken and we need to fix it.” - @MiraMulholland shares her perspective as an artist living in the Value Gap in today’s @TorontoStar: https://t.co/2hVjx2n3gl We are very fortunate to have her as Chair of the Music Canada Advisory Council.
Music Canada’s @GFHenderson appeared on The Lawyer Life Podcast this week, where he discussed practicing with a revolutionary spirit with hosts Mike Anderson & Darlene Tonelli (a valued member of our Advisory Council) - listen in at https://t.co/hurZ4lCpp7
The @Canadian_Live Music Association, @cityofhamilton, @cityoftoronto and Nordicity are studying the benefits & financial health of music venues. Do you host live music in either of these cities? The survey isopen until July 19: https://t.co/OQQBDMuyld #livemusic