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The Unison Fund, the Canadian Live Music Association and Music Canada Welcome Direct Funding from the Province of Ontario

March 12th, 2021, Ottawa: The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA), and Music Canada welcome support received from Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries with today’s announcement of funding for the Unison Fund, Canada’s music industry charity and the CLMA, in support of the broader music community. 

$2M to the Unison Fund
Funding to Unison will provide much-needed emergency assistance to artists, creators, and industry from local communities across Ontario. Artists and the broader live music ecology have been deeply impacted, and this vital support to Unison comes at a time when it is desperately needed. 

“We sincerely thank Minister MacLeod and the Government of Ontario for their support and acknowledgement of the Unison Fund and the crucial and very necessary role the organization plays in providing critical assistance to vulnerable members of our music community in times of crisis. In March 2020, Unison, began the largest relief effort in our history and while we are no stranger to helping people during difficult times, truly nothing has reached the scope of the last twelve months. The investment will go a long way toward directly supporting those in the Ontario music community with the greatest need, as the urgency for assistance remains high,”  said Amanda Power, Executive Director, Unison Fund.

“As a provider of both emergency support and 24/7 free mental health counselling for the entire music industry, Unison has had and will continue to have a crucial role in making sure no one in our community falls through the cracks,” said Miranda Mulholland, artist and chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council.

$500k to the CLMA for Province-Wide Music Cities Framework Development
The CLMA has been working tirelessly since the beginning of the crisis to save cultural infrastructure and protect jobs, seeking ways for the industry at large to not only recover from the devastating blow COVID has dealt, but to ultimately return, bigger and stronger than ever.  Many continue to face a staggering 92% average revenue loss within the industry, and 64% say they are at risk of permanent closure. Today’s announcement creates the opportunity for the association to take additional action for, and on behalf of, live music’s collective future: 

“It has been a year, and it isn’t over, something our Minister recognizes. Minister MacLeod also understands that supporting the business of live music is essential so our industry can get back to doing what they do best: creating exponential economic, social and cultural impact for artists, communities and tourism. We were just beginning to harness the true power of live music when COVID struck,” said Erin Benjamin, President & CEO of the CLMA. “With this support we will be able to take all that we have learned and continue to entrench the value our members bring to cities, towns and neighbourhoods across the province through the Music Cities lens.” 

Music Canada’s ‘Music Cities’ framework will provide a proven model to help support communities across the province better leverage their own local live music assets. Designed with world-renowned research that identifies key strategies large and small cities have used to grow their music economies, plans will be implemented to guide the development of local policy and bylaws, and community support that focuses on artists, venues and festivals, the wider supply chain and tourism. 

“A strong, healthy music industry can generate diverse benefits for a community including economic growth, job creation, increased spending, greater tax revenues, and cultural health. Our Music Cities framework has helped communities achieve this success,” said Patrick Rogers, CEO of Music Canada. “Recent research conducted by Music Canada shows that Canadians view live music venues as economic and cultural lifelines within their communities, and they understand that the pandemic will have severe impacts on the long-term viability of the live music sector which affects Canadian culture in the long run. This announcement of support from the provincial government is timely, and necessary support.”

Aimed at bridging the gap to bring the live music sector out of the pandemic, CLMA and Music Canada will seek to explore and recommend initiatives for towns and cities across the province along several categories. These include:

  • Advancing policies that support music and musicians, 
  • Expanding music offices and music Advisory Boards across the province, 
  • Developing initiatives that engage a broader community, 
  • Furthering programs that provide access to music spaces, 
  • Developing audience retention strategies for when it is safe to return to venues, festivals and music spaces, 
  • Nurturing and leveraging strategic relationships with the tourism, business and other key sectors to align and advance rebuild and recovery efforts.

“As our experience in London has demonstrated, music can bring enormous value to the economic and social fabric of a community. The Ontario Government’s financial commitment to live music will create opportunities for artists, reinvigorate venues, delight audiences and will allow us all to revive live,” said Cory Crossman, Music Industry Development Officer, London Music Office.

Additionally, the CLMA and Music Canada will work with a range of organizations within the music community to ensure that our shared commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion remain at the forefront.

For more information on the announcement from Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries please click here.

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About Unison Benevolent Fund
Unison Fund, Canada’s music industry charity, provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community in times of hardship or difficulties. For over a decade, Unison has been committed to helping producers, engineers, singers/songwriters, musicians, production crews, and thousands more through our financial assistance and counselling and health solutions programs. For more information, please visit: www.unisonfund.ca. If you can, PLEASE make a donation by visiting www.unisonfund.ca or text the word ‘UNISON’ to 45678 and follow the prompts to donate $10, $20, or $25.  Every donation counts.  Every donation helps.  Let’s keep Canadian music and entertainment ALIVE.

About The Canadian Live Music Association
The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) is the voice of Canada’s live music industry. Established in response to an identified need in the live music industry, the CLMA represents venues, clubs, concert promoters, festivals, talent agencies, arenas, performing arts centres, industry associations and networks, as well as suppliers to the sector. Its mission is to entrench the economic, social and cultural value of live music – creating the conditions for concerts to thrive, from coast to coast to coast.

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Charlotte Thompson, Red Umbrella P.R.
Unison Fund
[email protected]

Erin Benjamin
Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA)
[email protected]
(613) 769-5559

Erica Meekes, Music Canada
[email protected] / (416) 462-1485

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Music Cities Summit 2018: ‘Music Officers Meet their Match’ Panel Recap

Grant W. Martin Photography

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. 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 kicked off with a panel discussion between Seattle, WA’s Kate Becker and London, ON’s Cory Crossman, two Music Officers doing exciting work to build up their Music City. The topic centered around exploring their methods of turning music strategies into concrete results, and learning about different approaches they used to address common barriers and problems.

The Music Officers began the conversation discussing the importance of developing a comprehensive music strategy that allows for flexible planning and policy-making. Cory Crossman, London’s Music Industry Development Officer, touched on the importance of branding when developing a profile as a Music City. He highlighted how the city’s path to promoting a ‘rock and roll revitalization’ in London was a key component of their approach and direction.

Crossman also discussed the growing economic and cultural impact of music tourism for a city. Events like the Jack Richardson London Music Week, Jack Richardson Music Hall Of Fame, and the upcoming 2019 JUNO Awards have greatly contributed towards elevating London’s brand as a Music City attraction.

Kate Becker, Director of Seattle’s Office of Film and Music followed up with touching on some of Seattle’s major music accomplishments. Some of the most notable milestones include an annual City of Music Career Day (now in its seventh year) and the Sea-Tac Airport “Experience the City of Music” initiative, a public-private partnership that features local musicians playing throughout the airport and exciting overhead announcements by renowned Seattle artists, such as Macklemore.

The Music Officers also discussed the importance of ensuring an adherence to safety principles and conditions at music venues or events. Becker reflected on an example in 2015 where the city was faced with a troubling spike in incidences of drug-related issues at Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festivals and clubs. To address this, she implemented an approach that incorporated the input and participation of all the important players in this issue: promoters, venue owners, medics, harm-reduction experts, and more.

In particular, the Office of Film + Music collaborated with the city to host an annual ‘Music Safety Summit’ (now in its 4th year) that serves as a crucial public forum for key actors to work together towards progressive and effective solutions. Becker highlighted how this collaborative approach serves as a model that her office tries to utilize to address different situations that arise.

Becker and Crossman also touched on the critical importance of demonstrating the economic value of music to a city. Crossman credited the London Live Music Census as a major factor in gaining city and political support for the music strategy, and mentioned taking inspiration from Becker’s approach by ensuring that economic impact was measured and incorporated into policy-making. Becker agreed, and discussed how a 2008 economic impact study on Seattle’s music scene was the driving force behind the Office of Film + Music being established.

Prior to taking questions from audience members, Becker and Crossman ended their discussion with a reflection on the importance of audience development, and ensuring that the fans and public are properly engaged and connected.

Watch a video of the full discussion below, and stay tuned next week for a recap of another exciting panel.

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CARAS announces that London, Ontario, will host the 2019 JUNO Awards

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today that London will host the 2019 JUNO Awards, as well as all the JUNO Week events, from March 11 through March 19, 2019. JUNO Week 2019 is supported by the Province of Ontario, the City of London, Tourism London, and the 2019 Host Committee.

“We’re excited to be bringing the 2019 JUNOS to London. This city has seen incredible growth with its music scene and as such, is the perfect platform to celebrate Canadian talent,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts. “We want to thank the Government of Ontario for their support in bringing the JUNOS back to Ontario. We look forward to supporting and showcasing the city’s diverse music scene.”

While this marks the first time that London has hosted Canada’s music awards, the Forest City is well-positioned to deliver strong results as host of the JUNO Awards, thanks to several years of steady progress on music-friendly policies and programs via the London Music Strategy. In recent years, London has hosted an incredibly successful Country Music Week and CCMA Awards; completed its first ever music census;  taken steps to modernize noise bylaws for music and dancing on outdoor patios; and hosted its first Music Career Day. In recognition of these efforts, Music Canada presented London’s Music Industry Development Officer, Cory Crossman, and Chris Campbell, Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, with our 2017 President’s Award for their incredible commitment to making London a Music City.

“We are thrilled to host the 2019 JUNO Week celebrations here in London. As one of Canada’s emerging cultural scenes we are excited to show the world how culturally rich and diverse London is,” said Chris Campbell. “The JUNO Awards is London’s opportunity to bring artists and music fans to our great city to showcase our hospitality and our growing music scene and we could not be happier to be the 2019 Host City.”

JUNO Week 2019 is expected to drive approximately $10 million in economic impact in London, a figure which is consistent with results in previous host cities. The CARAS release states that since the JUNOS began touring across Canada in 2002, the awards have driven more than $120 million in economic impact.

“Ontario is a key music hub in Canada and North America,” said Daiene Vernile, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Our vibrant culture is driven by our exceptional talent and diversity, making Ontario a great fit for hosting the JUNO Awards in 2019. We have a thriving music industry that makes a significant contribution to Ontario’s economy by creating jobs, generating sales and building the province’s profile at an international level. I am thrilled to welcome the JUNOS to London.”

The 48th Annual JUNO Awards will be broadcast live on CBC from Budweiser Gardens, on Sunday, March 17, 2019.

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Playback 2017: Music Canada President’s Award presented to Cory Crossman and Chris Campbell

The Music Canada President’s Award is presented to an individual working outside the music community who displays a deep passion for music and the people who make it.

The recent past has been filled with many firsts and milestones for music in London, Ontario. The city hosted an incredibly successful Country Music Week and the CCMA Awards in September 2016; completed its first ever music census; has taken steps to modernize noise bylaws for music and dancing on outdoor patios; and on November 17, will host its first Music Career Day. Credit for these outstanding accomplishments is due not only to one individual, but two passionate community leaders.

At Playback 2017, Music Canada’s annual industry dialogue and celebration, London’s Music Industry Development Officer, Cory Crossman, and Chris Campbell, Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, were both presented with the 2017 President’s Award for their incredible commitment to making London a Music City.

The first ever President’s Award was presented to Mark Garner, Executive Director of Downtown Yonge BIA in 2015.

Watch below as Chris Campbell and Cory Crossman accept their awards, presented by Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson.

News of the award presentation received cheers and praise on social media.

https://twitter.com/_woodbethany/status/920702993896321024

Below is a selection of photos from the award presentation.

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London City Council to consider two motions aimed at making the Forest City more music-friendly

Next week, City Council in London, Ontario, will consider two motions aimed at encouraging more music in the downtown core. The motions support the development of the London Music Strategy, which was unanimously supported by Council in 2014 with the goal of building London as a live music city and music tourist attraction. The Strategy has made major strides in recent years with the hiring of Cory Crossman, London’s first Music Industry Development Officer, and the subsequent launch of the London Music Office. The Office recently launched the London Music Census, which will assess London’s music assets as well as barriers to growth.

The first music motion before council would allow a temporary exemption of a by-law contained in the City of London Special Events and Procedures – Section 13, which states that amplified music cannot go later than 11pm, with a 15 minute grace period. The motion, put forward by Tourism London, asks Council to allow shows on September 8, 9, and 10, to go later than 11pm but no later than 1am. This would permit outdoor events during Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, which London will host for the first time this fall. The pair of events are expected to directly benefit the local economy with the booking of approximately 2,000 hotel room nights and an anticipated economic impact of $6-8 million dollars. The motion was supported by London’s Community and Protective Services Committee on July 18th.

The second music motion before council is File Z-8625, a pilot project which temporarily amends Zoning By-law Z-1 to permit amplified music and dancing on existing patios in the Downtown Business Improvement Area and the Old East Village. The temporary amendment would run from August 1 to September 30, 2016. The motion was brought forward by the London Music Office, via the Culture Office, and was supported by the London Planning and Environment Committee last month.

“London is a diverse and eclectic music community that houses many great venues. Current by-law restricts amplified entertainment on commercial patios whether that is a radio, TV or musician singing,” said Cory Crossman, London’s Music Industry Development Officer. “To best serve the community, the Music Office wishes to launch a pilot project focused on establishing best practices to work forward from. This project is temporary and focused on creating practical solutions for amplified music on patios at restaurants, bars and dedicated venues.”

Music Canada research has shown that seemingly minor adjustments to municipal policies can paid major dividends in the growth of a city’s music scene. The Mastering of a Music City, which identifies best practices for growing a city’s music scene, cites an example from the State of New South Wales, which eliminated a special license needed by venues to host live music in 2009. Music-friendly policies allow music and culture to flourish in downtown areas. Creating a vibrant music scene not only brings economic benefits in the form of business activity and tourism, it adds a ‘cool’ factor to a city that can accelerate other benefits such as attracting and retaining investment and talent. For example, Montreal has invested heavily in its cultural district, the Quartier des Spectacles, which hosts over 30 venues and even more festivals, which, according to officials with the city of Montreal’s cultural office, has increased the quality of life for those living and working there.

The two motions before Council are indicative of the continued growth of the London Music Strategy, and a sign that the London Music Office, Tourism London, and the London Arts Council are committed ensuring the Forest City is a music-friendly city.

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