Last week, Music Canada was proud to present a panel on Canadian Music Data in 2021, as part of Canadian Music Week’s Virtual Voices series. Canadians love music and data on streaming confirms it. MRC Canada’s data shows that Canada is reaching a new major milestone in streaming. Sometime soon, it’s expected that Canada will hit 2 billion songs streamed per week. The size and rapid growth of the streaming marketplace in Canada is an incredible achievement.
Brought to you by the RBC Emerging Artist Project, this panel featured insights from industry professionals on Canada’s strong, dynamic – but highly competitive – marketplace. Hosted by Rudy Blair, the panel featured a conversation with Erik Sowden, Head of Commercial Development at MRC Data; Alex Bellissimo, Director of Commercial Revenue at Warner Music Canada; and our moderator Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Music Canada’s Creative Culture Advisor.
Video of the panel is now available on Canadian Music Week’s YouTube channel, and is embedded below.
Canadian Music Week has also announced that their 40th Anniversary event will take place April 19-23, 2022, from a variety of Toronto venues, with the in-person conference at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle from April 20-22.
Across genres, continents, and generations, artists have harnessed the unique power of music to rally imaginations and propel ideas into action. This year’s Global Forum explored that theme and examined the role that music plays in political movements. The Soundtrack to Democracy: Music’s Political and Social Power brought the Canadian Music Week attendees both historical and contemporary examples of the power of music.
The event was kicked off by Miranda Mulholland explaining her own advocacy journey that has included her becoming one the world’s strongest advocates for creator’s rights. Mulholland, a musician, label owner and festival founder, discussed the moment she realized that she needed to add speaking up to her long list of duties. “Creators of music, literature, and visual arts have always been at the forefront of every revolution in which people fought to make our lives better. Music has provided the soundtrack for human rights movements around the world…When speaking to governments and policy makers, I tell them: We, musicians, have been there for you. Now we need your help.”
Watch Mulholland’s full remarks below:
Mulholland then introduced The Soundtrack to Democracy’s keynote speaker: musician, author and political activist Dave Randall. His book Sound System: the political power of music looks at examples from Beethoven to Beyoncé to the UK grime scene, and charts his journey to understand what makes music so powerful. Randall’s book can be purchased from Pluto Press.
Armed with a guitar and an extensive knowledge of the historical significance of music, Randall’s keynote was a musical journey through time.
Watch Randall’s full keynote below:
Following Randall’s keynote he joined two leading musicians from Canada who have used art to drive change – Lorraine Segato of The Parachute Club and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots – for a panel discussion. Titled Rise Up: Using creativity to make change (a reference to The Parachute Club’s anthem for equality and shared power), the panel explored effective strategies artists have used to create and inspire change on issues close to their hearts.
Watch the full panel discussion moderated by Miranda Mulholland below:
Guests were then treated to a performance by members of the fast-rising rap group The Sorority, who in between songs encouraged those in town for Canadian Music Week to get out to see live music, support local musicians, and attend at least one show that put them out of their comfort zone. The Sorority are a powerful representation of solidarity and nonconformity, and their performance was the perfect punctuation to the event’s theme.
To conclude the event, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson introduced the audience to a painting from 1830, “Liberty Leading the People,” by Eugène Delacroix to illustrate the effect to which art can be political speech. Henderson noted that in its time the painting “was considered so seditious and so dangerous that for about 50 years after it had been painted it was suppressed by the political superstructure and only appeared much later.” He connected the painting to the work of Ursula K Le Guin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and journalist Paul Foot, tracing the ways that poets, artists and more recently musicians, can change the world.
Watch Henderson’s closing remarks below:
Recognizing the power of art to convey thoughts and emotions, Music Canada commissioned illustrator and graphic artist Rodrigo Bravo to chronicle the 2019 Global Forum in a series of images. The images, available for viewing below, capture some of the points made by each speaker in both text and design, and together form a recap of one of the most successful Global Forums to date.
On Saturday May 11th, Music Canada held its fourth annual Music Cities Summit during Canadian Music Week. This year’s summit was hosted in partnership with the Music Policy Forum, and the event featured a plethora of local and international speakers who gathered to discuss issues regarding the value of music and its relationship to creative city-planning.
The morning kicked off with opening remarks from Music Canada’s Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives Sarah Hashem, as well as remarks from Ashlye Keaton of the Music Policy Forum.
Pictured here: Chris Campbell (Grant W. Martin Photography)
The keynote address was given by Chris Campbell, Director of Culture & Entertainment Tourism and Tourism London. Campbell spoke about the journey to get Canadian music’s biggest milestone to London, Ontario: the JUNO Awards.
As Chair of the JUNOs host committee, Campbell worked with a team to pitch London as the right home for the awards in 2019. He discussed how the city was a bit of an underdog in the selection process as it was much smaller than many of the cities that have hosted the JUNOs in the past. Campbell also outlined the steps the team took to successfully stage a series of live music events throughout JUNO Week across London.
Pictured here: Ana Bailão, Mirik Milan, Kate Becker (Grant W. Martin Photography)
Chris Campbell’s illuminating keynote presentation was followed by a fascinating conversation on theintersection between the nighttime economy and music strategies. This immersive discussion took place between Mirik Milan, the first Night Mayor of Amsterdam; Kate Becker, the former Director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music; and Toronto City Councillor Ana Bailão, who has long been a champion for locally based projects in the arts space.
The trio discussed the economic and social benefits of having a thriving night time economy, and Councillor Bailão emphasized how a city’s vibrancy is enhanced by having a strong community of artists and musicians living, working, and creating.
Pictured here: Dominique Grant, Charlie Wall-Andrews, Kanika Gupta, Amy Terrill (Grant W. Martin Photography)
The next session examined the topic of inclusivity and diversity in the context of a music city. Amy Terrill introduced the keynote video, given by Mark Roach of Recorded Music New Zealand. In the video, Roach spoke about the efforts taken by his city of Auckland to ensure that the Māori language and culture was given proper respect, and incorporated into their music strategy and policies.
The panel component of the session then commenced, moderated by Charlie Wall-Andrews. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the SOCAN Foundation, Wall-Andrews was also selected as the Vice-Chair of Music Canada’s recently instituted Advisory Council. Joining her on stage was artist and creator Domanique Grant and Kanika Gupta, an artist and social innovator. The discussion ranged from steps organizers can take to ensure that their events are inclusionary in nature, to how cities can ensure the the foundation of their music strategies provide support for segments of the music community that may be traditionally underrepresented.
Participants in ‘the ‘Hypothetical’ session on DIY Music Spaces and the City
For many, the highlight of the Music Cities Summit was the session exploring the topic of DIY music spaces, and their relation to the cities they reside in. Inspired by an event hosted by Melbourne Music Week in 2018, this innovative session was based on a hypothetical scenario: in a fictional city, a beloved underground music venue has just been forced to close. The reaction on social media has been swift. A local artist posts on social media how disappointed they are – this is the venue they got their start at. A public backlash ensues. As the days pass, more information regarding how and why this venue shut down becomes available, making the situation even more complex.
The session was hosted by Darlene Tonelli, founder of Inter Alia law and member of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, who guided the room through this exercise as they collectively worked through the twists and turns of this social dilemma. The session featured a ‘panel,’ composed of key stakeholders including artists, DIY venue operators and promoters, City officials, music industry professionals, and fans. As the scenario developed, they were called upon to offer their insight and expertise, and describe their course of action at critical flashpoints of the scenario.
Session participants included: Ian Swain (Bonjay); Brian Wong (Gingy, ‘It’s not U It’s Me’); Said Yassin (‘It’s OK’); Kwende Kefentse (Memetic, City of Ottawa); April Aliermo (Hooded Fang, Phedre); Erin Benjamin (CLMA); Toronto City Councillor Joe Cressy; Cory Crossman (City of London’s Music Development Officer); Kate Becker (City of Seattle); Rod Jones (Director of Bylaw Enforcement, Municipal Licensing & Standards); Mark Garner (Downtown Yonge BIA); Errol Nazareth (CBC’s Big City, Small World); Tracy Jenkins (Lula Lounge); Shaun Bowring (Garrison, Baby G); Gavin Le Ber.
After a networking lunch, the afternoon kicked off with an engaging panel that explored the topic of music incubators and co-working spaces. Moderated by Sarah Hashem – Music Canada’s Vice President, Strategic Initiatives – the session featured input from some fantastic panelists: Chris Corless, Founding Partner at Toronto’s Signal Creative Community; Toni Morgan, founder of the Beat Academy; and Mustafa El Amin, founder and Executive Director of MyStand Mentorship and NorthBlock Entertainment.
The conversation highlighted how creative incubators and hubs can help artists gain access to resources and support that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to. The panelists went on outline the various ways that new models of co-working can help level the playing field for creators – particularly young and emerging artists and producers.
The next session examined how to effectively build a coalition when developing a music city. A keynote presentation was given by Erin Benjamin, the CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, and took a deeper look at the organization’s successful first five years. The session then moved into a panel discussion, moderated by Michael Bracy of the Music Policy Forum. Participants included Katherine Carleton, Executive Director of Orchestras Canada; Cody Cowan, founder and Executive Director or Red River Cultural District in Austin; and Katie Tuten, co-founder of Chicago music venue The Hideout.
This year, the Music Cities Summit also featured two exciting ‘Masterclass’ sessions. These interactive, discussion-based seminars allowed the speakers to interact directly with participants in the room, often answering questions and offering direct advice based on their extensive experience in the music city world.
The first Masterclass was entitled ‘Strategy Development – Back to Basics’. Leading this in-depth conversation were four practitioners in this space: Mike Tanner, Toronto’s Music Sector Development Officer; Jarrett Martinaeu, Cultural Planner from the City of Vancouver; the City of Ottawa’s Kwende Kefentse; and Maryann Lombardi, Chief Creative Economy Officer at the DC Office of Cable, Film, Music and Entertainment.
The second Masterclass featured cutting-edge research from two major players in the music city field. Amsterdam’s Mirik Milan – who spoke about the research being conducted at Creative Footprint, a global civic initiative that measures and indexes creative space – and Peter Schwarz of Sound Music Cities, who took the attendees through his organization’s work implementing their Austin Music Census method in Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
Pictured here: Ashlye Keaton, Leah Ross, Chris Campbell, MP Michael Barrett (Grant W. Martin Photography)
The last session of the day was a spotlight on the impact and benefits of music tourism for a city. The panel was moderated by Ashlye Keaton (the Ella Project; Music Policy Forum), and featured opening remarks by MP Michael Barrett (Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes). MP Barrett also participated in the panel discussion, alongside London’s Chris Campbell and Leah Ross, the Executive Director of the non-profit Birthplace of Country Music.
The panel explored questions related to how a city can make sure its music tourism is authentic to the city, has an economic impact, balances the needs of residents, and – ultimately – benefits the artists who help drive this attraction.
The day ended with a post-summit reception at the co-working space Signal Creative Community, hosted by the City of Toronto. Mayor John Tory also attended and provided some insightful remarks highlighting the benefits of municipal support for music, touching on some of the recent exciting achievements in Toronto.
The Global Forum at Canadian Music Week is an annual thought leadership event that Music Canada has been programming for more than a decade. It brings together 150 Canadian and international music industry figures, artists, journalists and political decision makers to explore some of the most important topics in the industry, and society at large. The forum also celebrates and recognizes individuals and organizations who are working to improve the music industry, and those using music to make the world a better place. In the past two years, the Global Forum has focused on the power of music for Indigenous peoples in Canada, and highlighted work being done to bring more accountability and inclusivity to the music industry.
2019’s Global Forum, titled The Soundtrack to Democracy: Music’s political and social power, will take place on Thursday, May 9. Across genres, continents, and generations, artists have harnessed the unique power of music to rally imaginations and propel ideas into action. The 2019 forum will explore why the winds of change so often blow from the lips of artists, and how musicians can most effectively create social and political change with their art.
The event will begin with a keynote from musician, author and activist Dave Randall, whose book Sound System: The Political Power of Music is described as “a book of raves, riots and revolution.” In the book, Randall finds political inspiration across the musical spectrum and poses the question: “how can we make music serve the interests of the many, rather than the few?”
Following his keynote, Randall will join two leading musicians from Canada who have used art to drive change – Lorraine Segato of The Parachute Club and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots – for a panel discussion moderated by Miranda Mulholland. Titled Rise Up: Using creativity to make change (a reference to The Parachute Club’s 80s anthem for equality and shared power) the panel will explore effective strategies artists have used to create and inspire change on issues close to their hearts. In addition to moderating the panel, Muholland will host the event and share opening remarks at the 2019 Global Forum.
Guests at the forum will also participate in table discussions about their own experiences and feelings towards the political power of music, and be treated to a performance by the supremely talented hip-hop group The Sorority.
You can learn more about the speakers at the 2019 Global Forum below.
Dave Randall is a musician, writer and political activist. He has contributed to Grammy Award winning albums by Dido and toured the world playing guitar with Faithless, Sinead O’Connor, Emiliana Torrini and others. He has released his own critically acclaimed albums under the artist names Slovo and Randall, and composed music for screen and stage. His book Sound System: The Political Power of Music is a book of raves, riots and revolution. It looks at examples from Beethoven to Beyoncé and poses the question: how can we make music serve the interests of the many, rather than the few? It has been described as:
“A deeply intelligent look at music and society. Thought provoking, readable and clever” Mark Radcliffe (BBC 2 / 6Music)
“A thrilling trip through the dark corners and secret gardens of the music world” Maxi Jazz (Faithless)
Miranda Mulholland is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, label owner, artist advocate, and Founder and Artistic Director of the Sawdust City Music Festival in Muskoka, Ontario. Currently she is a member of Harrow Fair and BelleStarr. Her touring and recording credits include Great Lake Swimmers, Bowfire, The Jim Cuddy Band and many more. She has performed on over 70 albums as well as TV shows and film scores. Not limited to band performances, Miranda has appeared in various theatre productions including the Dora winning productions of ‘Parfumerie’ and ‘SpoonRiver’ with Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto.
Over the past three years, Miranda has emerged as one of the world’s foremost artist advocates, speaking at the World Trade Organization, a NAFTA negotiating round in Washington, Midem, Canadian Music Week, and is the first music creator to take the podium at the Economic Club of Canada.
For the past 37 years Lorraine Segato has powered up an impressive artistic career that has produced some edgy and excellent cultural work. Segato’s extensive experience as a respected songwriter, musician, filmmaker, event producer, artistic director, speechwriter, and social justice activist makes her one of Canada’s respected cultural commentators and iconic recording artists.
As the co-founder and lead singer of The Parachute Club, one of the most critically lauded and commercially successful groups of the eighties, Segato enjoyed an impressive career in the music industry before turning her attention to a large array of diverse creative endeavours. Even before her chart topping hits with The Parachute Club, Segato had already staked a claim as one of the few female artists of the time able to succeed on her own terms.
From her touching performance at Jack Layton’s funeral to her generous mentorship of young artists, Segato’s work, no matter what the medium, remains consistently topical and relevant. Her passion, empathy and charisma have served a career, on stage and in production, that has educated and inspired Canadians for close to four decades.
ShoShona Kish is an Anishinabekwe community organizer, producer, activist, songwriter and JUNO award-winning touring artist. This year ShoShona was recognized for her work internationally with the prestigious “Professional Excellence Award ” from the WOMEX organization “for her role in the ongoing revolution of upheaving Indigenous communities and their culture – using the medium of music as an agent of change, to awaken our humanity and help us connect.”
ShoShona leads the multi-award-winning band Digging Roots, with her husband, Raven Kanatakta. Their music breaches categorization, seamlessly blending global and traditional Indigenous sounds with roots-rock, blues, and trip-hop. They have brought their unique musical marriage of unvarnished truth and unconditional love to venues and festivals around the world.
Music Canada’s fourth annual The Mastering of a Music City Summit is returning to Canadian Music Week. This exciting full-day event is being held on Saturday, May 11th 2019 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto.
The summit this year is being hosted in partnership with the Music Policy Forum. The event will feature a plethora of local and international speakers, and will bring together policy-makers, industry executives, City staff and music community members to explore issues around the value of music and its relationship to creative city-planning.
Some of the themes and topics of the day include:
Inclusivity, equity and diversity in the context of a music city
The intersection between the night-time economy and developing music strategies
Underground music venues, and their relationship to the city
The value of music tourism to a city
Exploring co-working spaces/incubators, and how they level the playing field for artists
Building successful coalitions in the music community
Register for this exciting event, and check out the full program agenda to learn more about the full conference.
Click here to see full recaps of last year’s summit.
Titled Inclusivity & Accountability: Bringing Measurable Change for the Music Industry, the 2018 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week brought together, artists, academics and advocates working to make the music industry more reflective of, and accountable to, the wider community.
The event began with a keynote by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founder and Director of the the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the leading think tank in the world studying issues of diversity and inequality in entertainment through research, advocacy and sponsored projects. Following extensive work in the film and television industries, including pioneering the popular “inclusion rider,” the group is now bringing their renowned work to the music industry. At the Global Forum, Dr. Smith discussed the striking findings of their preliminary music industry study Inclusion in the Recording Studio?Based on the extensive data they have gathered, the group plans to roll out practical solutions “so that the needle will move quickly, so that everyone who has the talent has the ability to participate not only equitably, but in safe work environments, so that they might thrive.”
Following Dr. Smith’s keynote, a diverse panel of artists and advocates discussed initiatives currently underway, and other possible solutions, to improve inclusion across various parts of the music industry. The panel featured Lido Pimienta, Polaris Prize-winning musician, curator and visual artist; JUNO-winning rapper, producer and youth advocate TONA; chief executive of PRS Foundation and the Keychange initiative, Vanessa Reed, and; JUNO-winning Quantum Tangle member, producer and solo-artist Greyson Gritt. The discussion was moderated by Samantha Slattery, Chairperson and Founder of Women in Music Canada.
Watch the full panel discussion below.
Sometimes, even with the artist community, it feels like there’s a constant tug of war between power and then opportunity. What ends up happening is that the people who are trying to capitalize and obtain the power – I’m going to refer to it as a meritocracy – because the people who are actually in control of things in this industry, especially in Canada, are the ones that are making the decisions. In our communities that we come from, there’s already a lack of opportunity. There’s already an imbalance of education as well, and even job opportunities. When people come in it feels like they’re kind of parachuting in to our communities and not integrating with us the way they need to. And it feels like a photo opportunity. You know, what are you really trying to accomplish as far as integrating artists? Is it more about filling a quota in the stats sheet? Or is it really about pushing the needle with your job description and what you’re doing? – TONA
Your point about respect is something that audiences have obviously been talking about a lot now. At least in the UK, we’ve been hearing a lot more from audiences than artists about some of the struggles they have. So, obviously sexual assault of women at festivals, and accessibility for anyone who’s got any kind of disability. There’s some interesting not-for-profit grassroots movements which have really been helping with that. There’s an organization called Attitude is Everything, which has got lots of venues and festivals to sign up to different kinds of charters ensuring that people of all backgrounds can access these brilliant festivals and stages. And then there’s an initiative called Girls Against, which has been working with festivals to start tackling the issue around sexual assaults. But I mean there’s still a long way to go, but it’s interesting that those first steps often come from the grassroots, not-for-profit, voluntary sector, and then it starts to be normalized, and eventually it will become something that hopefully will be part of everyone’s practice. But I think audiences and artists talking about the challenges together could be interesting. – Vanessa Reed
Instead of men having their own conversations and starting their own initiatives and being like ‘yeah we need this too and we’re going to work with women’ it’s often this polarized response, ‘well you want that, but what about us? You shouldn’t have that unless we have it.’ And it ends up being this thing of ‘choose your side’ instead of everyone working together and recognizing you need this and I need this. And so I think about two-spirit people and transgender people, and we need that too, but I don’t want it to be in response to ‘what about me’ and to take resources away from that. I definitely believe women need more representation, always, and I would love to see more things of like 100%. It’s been 100% men for how long? Just to be equitable, you’d almost think it’d need to be 500 years of Indigenous and racialized folks, and women for about another 500 years first, and then we can talk about having half and half, right? – Greyson Gritt
Another approach that was just brought to my attention recently as well, and I believe it’s Harris Institute, has consciously hired back female students as professors, and originally it was about four or five years ago he said, there was about 5% female students – so we’re not even getting them into the pipe, it’s not that we’re losing them – and since adjusting his professor dynamic, it has gone up to 20% female students now in a very short period of time, so to your point, I think when people see people that they can relate to doing things that would maybe traditionally be white men doing them, I think it’s really important to be able to showcase everybody being able to do all those things. Just seeing it seems to make a huge impact on people actually following through. – Samantha Slattery
The best music right now is being produced by women. It just happens to be the case. The stuff that excites me, I listen to it once and I look at the credits and I look at who’s behind it and it just happens to be a woman. So I wouldn’t even call it that I get out of my way. It just happens. Brilliant women who are in music and in the music industry and in sound and sound engineering are there, and available and ready. And if I’m going to pay anyone, that’s the people that I’m going to pay because it’s just natural to me. It’s not even a question to me. – Lido Pimienta
On May 10, the 2018 Global Forum took place at Canadian Music Week. The annual event, which Music Canada has been presenting for more than a decade, seeks to tackle the most pressing issues in the music industry with a global perspective. This year’s theme was Inclusivity and Accountability: Bringing Measurable Change for the Music Industry and discussions were focused on challenges, solutions, and actions to make the industry more reflective of, and accountable to, the wider community. This includes initiatives to improve representation of all gender identities, ethnicities and sexual orientations across the industry, and to ensure all community members have equitable access to performance and career development opportunities, funding programs, and more.
The forum’s keynote speaker was Dr. Stacy L. Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the leading think tank in the world studying issues of diversity and inequality in entertainment. Dr. Smith is at the forefront of inclusion in the film industry and pioneered the now viral concept of an “inclusion rider.” In 2018, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative also began to study the music industry and published a preliminary report titled Inclusion in the Recording Studio?During her keynote, Dr.Smith discussed the group’s preliminary findings, next steps, and areas for further research. Watch the full keynote below.
Dr. Smith began with a warning: “I am going to depress you.” Though her keynote described an industry where women and underrepresented groups were sorely lacking in many areas, members of the music industry, and those in other creative fields, were not shocked by the statistics.
One clear feeling among guests was that it’s time for action. Guests were all encouraged by Music Canada to complete an “Inclusion Pledge” detailing a specific action they will take to improve inclusion in their own field. Dr. Smith commented early on how refreshing it was to work with an organization that is committed to ensuring everyone feels they belong. “It’s an honour to be here amongst a group that cares so deeply about this issue,” said Smith.
After thoroughly detailing the problems facing the industry with data and statistics, Dr. Smith concluded by stressing the need for action. “What’s more important I think than the numbers themselves, is the solutions that we will be rolling out based on the data,” she said. “What we plan to do, just like in television, film and digital, is to roll out practical solutions so that the needle will move quickly, so that everyone who has the talent has the ability to participate not only equitably, but in safe work environments, so that they might thrive.”
To keep up with the latest from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, visit their website and follow them on Twitter. A selection of photos from the 2018 Global Forum is available on Music Canada’s facebook page.
On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week. City professionals, policy-makers, industry executives, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship.Click hereto view more recaps from the summit.
The last panel of the day was Making Space in the Public Realm: How Public Spaces Can Contribute to Scenes and Strategies. It examined how cities are utilizing publicly-owned buildings to create partnerships and develop initiatives with the music community. Business and community leaders from Denver, Seattle, Vancouver and Montreal discussed how public facilities can work in collaboration with their local music scene, and touched on issues like how to avoid competition with the private sector.
The panel was moderated by Farzaneh Hemmasi, Assistant Professor of Music & Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. Panelists included: Catherine Planet, Artist & Founder of La Chasse-Balcon; Dawn Ibey, Vancouver Public Library; Ismael Guerrero, Executive Director of the Denver Housing Authority, and; Tom Mara, Executive Director, KEXP.
Final panel of 2018 #MusicCities Summit, “Making Space in the Public Realm: How Public Spaces Can Contribute to Scenes and Strategies,” ft. reps from Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Denver, & Seattle. #CMW2018pic.twitter.com/ajTAhFgNJn
The discussion kicked off with Catherine Planet providing some background on La Chasse-Balcon (founded in 2014), a series of music events with the mission of bringing neighbours together in residential areas. She discussed how her time spent living in Louisiana had a profound impact and inspired her to create an initiative that celebrates the musical vivacity of her hometown of Montreal once she returned.
Planet also touched on how these types of events help blur the lines between what is perceived as solely public and private spaces, and highlighted how a balcony can act as a symbolic bridge that enables these two spaces to become connected. Through La Chasse Balcon, free outdoor concerts are staged on balconies in different neighborhoods and have the surrounding community and crowds join in the festivities.
The panel then moved on to Dawn Ibey, who spoke about the role that libraries can play in building a vibrant Music City. She discussed how one of the core business activities of the Vancouver Public Library is to ensure free public programming for adults and children, with programs that support music creation, music education, as well as the staging of performances.
Ibey highlighted some of the major accomplishments of the Vancouver Public Library, such as the partnership with Sun Life Financial in 2016 to establish the city’s first musical instrument lending library. She discussed how public libraries should be included in the development of music strategies, as they contribute towards achieving some of the essential elements featured in The Mastering of a Music City report.
Next, Ismael Guerrero spoke about the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and the impact that arts and music can have in addressing community justice issues. Through partnerships with community organizations as well as private sector initiatives, the DHA has taken steps to rebuild neighborhoods and modernize housing with a focus on building vibrant, mixed-income communities.
Guerrero touched on some of the other social entrepreneurial ventures the DHA has undertaken in recent years that are guided by a community-led, and sometimes, arts-centric framework and priorities. With investments supporting community organizations like Youth on Record, the establishment of community hubs have helped establish spaces where marginalized youth can create art and music.
The final panelist Tom Mara spoke about KEXP, a public radio, listener-supported station and non-profit arts organization in Seattle. Mara discussed the ‘music discovery-centred’ mission of KEXP to design their programming and initiatives in a way that supports music lovers, artists, and the wider arts community.
Mara touched on how one of the key commitments of KEXP is to support live music in Seattle, and highlighted how the organization stages around 300 live music performances every year at their facility. This exciting achievement was partly made possible through a partnership with the City of Seattle that enables KEXP to receive a favorable lease rate on their property, and is a key example of the different kinds of cross-sector collaboration that can exist.
The panelists went on to discuss several different topics and reflected on the unique opportunities that public facilities can provide, and that are currently not being leveraged.
To listen to the full discussion, you can watch the video below.
On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week. City professionals, policy-makers, industry executives, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship.Click here to view more recaps of panels from the summit.
The morning featured a panel entitled From Scratch: Imagining and Implementing New Programs and Partnerships, which discussed lessons imparted by successful music industry leaders on topics including identifying the needs in their communities, strategies to persuade partners and funders, and methods of benchmarking programs for sustainability.
The discussion was moderated by Gene Meneray of the The ELLA Project, and included panelists Elizabeth Cawein, Founder/Director of Music Export Memphis; Enzo Mazza, CEO of the Federation of Italian Music Industry (FIMI); Kelly Symes, Ontario Festival of Small Halls; Madalena Salazar, IMTour, Western States Arts Federation.
The panel kicked off with a conversation of the importance of engaging both the music and wider community when building up the programs. Kelly Symes discussed on how for an initiative like the Ontario Festival of Small Halls, securing community buy-in was an essential component of the process.
Elizabeth Cawein similarly touched on the role of audience development for a project like Music Export Memphis, which acts as an international export office to create opportunities for Memphis musicians to showcase outside the city.
Another major topic of discussion was the role of funding for non-profit initiatives, and strategies that can be utilized to help ensure proposed funding is robust enough for the program’s needs, and consistent enough to start building towards sustainability.
Madalena Salazar described how the US-based organization IMTour worked to diversify their funding sources to not only rely on the National Endowment for the Arts, but to also utilize fundraising and other strategies.
The panelists also touched on the positive impact that fostering strategic partnerships can have on a growing organization. Enzo Mazza discussed the important role that local political support had on the organization FIMI in its early stages, and how this attracted the interests of other prominent companies. Mazza highlighted how media organizations in particular were crucial to FIMI’s success, as the support of companies like VH1 helped lead to sponsorships by other major companies.
Watch a video of the full discussion below, and stay tuned next week for a recap of another exciting panel.
On Saturday, May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week 2018. Conference delegates, policy-makers, urban planners, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship.Click here to view more recaps of panels from the summit.
The discussion was moderated by Lynn Ross, who works as a Cultural Planner at the City of Vancouver. Panelists included: Adrian Tonon, City of Detroit; Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle; Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, Owner/Manager of a prominent record label in Memphis, Tennessee; Omar Lozano from Visit Austin, Austin Tourism.
The conversation kicked off with a discussion of some of the major challenges facing each of the panelists’ cities. Councillor Josh Colle touched on the exciting growth of Toronto as a Music City, but highlighted how this rapid growth puts pressure on every aspect of the music industry – particularly for venue owners and artists who face barriers to affordability and livability.
Adrian Tonon went on to discuss how the economic crisis that plagued the City of Detroit for the last several decades meant that music, film, and other cultural services were delegated to lesser priorities. But the city has been making recent steps towards a strong recovery, and Tonon described how his work leading the Mayor’s Film, Music and Night Time Economy initiatives have helped contribute to the development of the city’s thriving arts and culture scene.
The panel also touched on the role celebrity artists can play in building up and promoting their city on a global stage. Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell highlighted the deep, rich musical history of Memphis that produced legendary icons like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Mitchell discussed the importance of not just promoting the biggest names, but to instead use that as a foundation and work towards embracing some of the newer artists whose musical catalogue could also put Memphis on the map.
Councillor Colle went on to reflect on the importance of artists like Drake and The Weeknd, who have become de-facto Toronto ambassadors, and whose success shined a light on youth hip hop scenes that were quietly thriving in cities across Canada.
Toronto Councillor @JoshColle responding to Drake/Weeknd’s impact on city. Feels there’s now kids in all corners of the city who want to break into industry, and residents need to dig beyond the surface to help grow #TOMusicCity. pic.twitter.com/T5jIBvhFp5
Another major topic of discussion was the important relationship between city government and music stakeholder groups in the journey to develop their Music City. Detroit’s Adrian Tonon highlighted how critical it was from the city side to ensure all the key players who had been previously working in silos were brought together to have a seat at the table, and in turn, collectively strive towards implementing the city’s strategic music priorities.
Omar Lozano also touched on the uniquely important role that non-profits play in Austin. Organizations like Austin Music People and the Austin Music Venue Alliance have worked with the municipal government on various initiatives, and more broadly, are continuing to make important strides towards progressive change.
Watch a video of the full discussion below, and stay tuned next week for a recap of another panel from the summit.