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.
London, ON’s Cory Crossman (@LDNMusicOffice) & Seattle, WA’s Kate Becker (@downtownkate) discussing importance of crafting all-ages music scenes and safety of music community. #MusicCities #CMW2018 pic.twitter.com/SLK3zsOJQJ
— Music Canada (@Music_Canada) May 12, 2018
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.