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Quoted: BC Music Fund Announcement

Last month, at an event at the historic Warehouse Studios in Vancouver, Premier Christy Clark announced a $15 million grant towards the creation of a BC Music Fund, which will be administered by Creative BC. The event also included remarks from Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson, Jon Garson, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Diamond-certified artist Michael Bublé, and Scott Johnson, Chair of Music BC. A selection of quotes and video from the event are available below:


“Music, as it turns out, doesn’t just drive our culture, but our economy. We now understand that thriving music scenes attract and retain young talented workers and the businesses that employ them. Music, in effect, can be the glue that holds our communities together.” – Graham Henderson, President & CEO, Music Canada


“No matter who you are, no matter how young, how old, no matter how esoteric your art may be, we want you to have a chance to succeed in British Columbia. And we want you to know that our province supports and is passionate about what you are doing in the way that you are changing the place that we live.” - Premier Christy Clark

“No matter who you are, no matter how young, how old, no matter how esoteric your art may be, we want you to have a chance to succeed in British Columbia. And we want you to know that our province supports and is passionate about what you are doing in the way that you are changing the place that we live.” – Premier Christy Clark


“Thanks to you Premier, people who want to pursue a music career here will be able to do so and not have to leave home, which is pretty incredible. I mean, for a long time, people have had to go to Ontario if they want to be able to afford to make the record…Truly, it’s never been tougher to develop a career as an artist. The 15 million dollars that Premier Clark has committed to this industry, is going to help that BC does everything it takes to make a thriving and strong music scene.” - Micheal Bublé

“Thanks to you Premier, people who want to pursue a music career here will be able to do so and not have to leave home, which is pretty incredible. I mean, for a long time, people have had to go to Ontario if they want to be able to afford to make the record…Truly, it’s never been tougher to develop a career as an artist. The 15 million dollars that Premier Clark has committed to this industry, is going to help that BC does everything it takes to make a thriving and strong music scene.” – Micheal Bublé


“All children need the opportunity to express themselves through music as part of their education, and know that this is a viable career path for them.” - Jon Garson, President & CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

“All children need the opportunity to express themselves through music as part of their education, and know that this is a viable career path for them.” – Jon Garson, President & CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce


“I’ve often thought, this is the Nashville of the North…it’s time we stand up and represent ourselves as such.” - Scott Johnson, President, Music BC

“I’ve often thought, this is the Nashville of the North…it’s time we stand up and represent ourselves as such.” – Scott Johnson, President, Music BC


Mother Mother performs.

Mother Mother performs.







Music Canada’s Graham Henderson remarks on ‘BC’s Music Sector – From Adversity to Opportunity’ report

Yesterday, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson unveiled our latest report, BC’s Music Sector – From Adversity to Opportunity, at an event at the historic Warehouse Studios in Vancouver. At the event, Premier Christy Clark announced a $15 million grant towards the creation of a BC Music Fund, which will be administered by Creative BC. The event also included remarks from Jon Garson, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Diamond-certified artist Michael Bublé, and Scott Johnson, Chair of Music BC.

Supporting BC Music

Henderson’s remarks on the BC Music Sector report are available below:

“My name is Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada.

The social media hashtag for this event is #musiccanhelp.

Welcome to the official launch of Music Canada’s study of the music industry in BC which we have titled “From Adversity to Opportunity.” A study perhaps long overdue given the importance of the BC music scene to Canada’s national and international identity.

Now, obviously, based on who is up here on this stage with me, we are here to do more than talk about the realm of possibility…about what could or might happen.

I think we are here to talk about action, about what IS going to happen. But we will need to wait a moment longer to hear about THAT.

Music Canada is a national organization that aspires to be a trusted source, a respected forum and an inspirational advocate for all things music. Our members, Sony, Warner and Universal are the folks who stand behind and funded this research. And we all owe them a debt of thanks for what is a very significant investment.

But it is the music community of BC who supplied the impetus, the motivation and the passion upon which our work was based.

And while the instigators are many, a few do stand out. My dear friend Garth Richardson who literally berated me on FB to stand up for the BC music scene. Bob Deith and Scott Johnson, Rick Baker, Patrick Aldous and the entire team at Music BC who laid so much of the groundwork and who supplied us with local wisdom and know how. Nick Blasko whose advice and connections were indispensable. And, of course Bruce Allen – what can I say – when Bruce Allen starts demanding your attention….well…I think we all know where that leads – ACTION!

So why are we here? We are here because BC has one of the world’s great music scenes. We are here because the people of BC – and its government – care passionately about their music and their artists. But we are also here because this great natural resource is imperiled.

We heard this message loud and clear from the over 100 music community leaders that we interviewed. Their opinions and recommendations form the basis of our report.

The genesis of the idea was simple yet daunting. Why not imagine, why not implement, a provincial programme which would take into account the vast changes that have swept through music’s ecosystem.

To do this requires us to change the way we think about music. In international surveys people repeatedly rank music as one of life’s supreme sources of pleasure and emotional power, says a recent NYT article. But a new MIT study goes further — apparently our brain gives more a specialized treatment to music than it does to speech itself. This clearly underscores the absolutely crucial importance of music education to the growth and development of young minds. Music also has a cohesive, healing potential – a subject which will be celebrated by Music Canada at our upcoming Global Music Forum at CMW in May where we will celebrate the pioneering work of Laura Hasler and Musicians Without Borders.

Musicians without Borders is a global network of musicians and music lovers based in the Netherlands that uses music to heal the wounds of war. They design community music projects around the world that help people deal with trauma, fear, isolation and the effects of conflict.

Music in a very real and meaningful sense can be said to be who we are as a species.

Studies undertaken by Music Canada demonstrate the importance of music to tourism, to education, to the diversification of municipal, provincial and federal economies. Music, as it turns out drives not just our culture, but our economy. We now understand that thriving music scenes attract and retain young, talented workers and the businesses that employ them. Music, in effect, can be the glue that holds communities together.

It is this aspect which is attracting the attention of Chambers of Commerce across the country, including our friends at the BC Chamber of Commerce, the “Voice of Business” in BC. We are so thankful to have the endorsement and support of the BC Chamber and it is a sign of the importance of music to the economy that Jon Garson is here and that the Chamber has partnered with us in this launch.

Our report has collected a wealth of wisdom from the people of BC. From those inside the music industry and in government itself. The report was in effect a collaborative effort with the government of BC. They were excited by what we were telling them and we were urged to press on and come up with recommendations.

Embracing our recommendations would help BC to:

  • Create and retain jobs
  • Grow and diversify the economy
  • Attract foreign direct investment
  • Build more vibrant music scenes
  • Boost tourism development
  • Attract talent to other sectors like the digital arts
  • And contribute to cultural and artistic growth

We argue that BC does not just need a fund, BC needs a Music Strategy. BC needs to brand itself nationally and internationally as the music mecca that it is. BC needs to provide the policy framework to offer a turbo boost to that which it already has.

Our recommendations in this report are tailored to the specific needs of BC and are designed to position the province to compete in an increasingly global marketplace while also creating more opportunities for emerging BC artists to succeed and earn a living from their music.

We suggest in this report that a $15 million investment will produce an estimated total GDP impact of $73 million for BC’s economy.

Additionally, further red tape reductions would boost music activity relating to venues and festivals throughout the province.

Importantly, we believe more focus and funding on music education is a linchpin to this strategy. And in this regard our discussions with Minister Bernier have been fantastically encouraging.

Surely all of this suggests that music deserves special attention from policy makers. Surely you would think governments should respond to these new ways of understanding the importance of music. Surely governments should act! But, oh! People will tell you that governments do not move at the speed of business. That they are incapable of nimbly responding to the rapidly changing environment. That the bureaucracy of government is impenetrable – change takes years.

Well…..they are WRONG!! At least in the case of BC. At every point, our message has been embraced with enthusiasm by the government of BC and in particular by the Premier. We have received valuable guidance and advice. All of which has led to to where we are right now. Trembling in anticipation of what the Premier is about to tell us!

Now, before I turn the podium over to Jon Garson, President of the BC Chamber of Commerce who will introduce the person everyone REALLY wants to hear from, there is someone else I must acknowledge. And he is not here today only because he is performing a sold out show tonight in New York. And that is Bryan Adams.

From the first moment that Bruce Allen put me in touch with Bryan, it was clear that this was a cause he would embrace wholeheartedly. He has been a passionate supporter of our work and I can say without a hint of exaggeration that his involvement was pivotal. Bryan flew in especially to attend our reception at the Museum in Victoria. In addition to speaking, folks who were there will recall that he doubled as Jesse Roper’s guitar tech when a microphone failed. But what he said there I think reflects what this all about.

This is not about preserving the past, or even the now. This is about the future. Young musicians, he said, face a very different reality. There was a system, a “ladder”, if you will, that yesterday’s aspiring young musicians were able to ascend. Well that world has vanished and businesses, governments, and yes fans, need to think about how we can all work together to create a more congenial, and yes, PROFITABLE environment for our musicians. They must be able to earn a decent living as professionals. If music is one of life’s supreme sources of pleasure and emotional power, then we should all honour and support those who create it.

And with that said I will turn the podium over to Jon Garson who will introduce the premier.”



Premier Clark announces new $15M BC Music Fund

Today we thank Premier Clark and the Government of British Columbia on their announcement to dedicate a $15 million grant to support the creation of a BC Music Fund as part of a comprehensive strategy to protect and promote the province’s music industry.

“This is an historic day for the province,” says Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada. “The creation of a BC Music Fund as part of a fulsome strategy to strengthen the province’s music industry, will enhance BC’s competitiveness as a location for the production and presentation of music. The BC Music Fund will help music businesses produce, distribute, promote, and stage the province’s emerging and well-known artists. It will allow the province to retain its deep inventory of talented music professionals, and create new opportunities for jobs and investment, contributing to a more diversified economy.”

Premier Christy Clark announced the $15 million grant as part of the launch of Music Canada’s report, BC’s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity, at Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios. The event also included remarks by Michael Bublé, Jon Garson, President & CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce and Scott Johnson, Chair of Music BC.

“B.C. is one of Canada’s leading centres for music with talented musicians in every corner of the province,” says Premier Clark. “Our record labels, recording studios, concert venues and music festivals draw people from all over the province, the country and the world. Music develops culture, promotes talent and diversifies our strong and growing economy.”

BC’s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity was prepared by Music Canada after interviews and consultations with more than 100 individuals in BC’s music sector, the broader business community, municipal and provincial governments, provincial agencies, and community leaders.

The report highlights British Columbia’s wealth of music talent and the factors that have put these assets at risk. The report encourages decisive action on the part of the provincial government, municipalities, and music stakeholders to put BC’s music sector firmly back on the map and secure the benefits it can generate.

“The landscape and culture in BC has always been a huge catalyst in my creative process,” says Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother who performed at the event. “It’s where we came together as a band, and where we’ve cultivated our creative community. There is an incredible wealth of talent here, and until now, the resources and infrastructure haven’t been able to properly support and elevate the art that is constantly being created. It’s incredibly heartening to see the powers that be sit up and take notice of the cultural and economic benefit the BC music industry provides for our province. Dedicating more resources to this sector will have a lasting positive impact on our cultural landscape.”

BC’s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity is available at


Music Canada hosts Ontario live music study launch

On Tuesday afternoon, Music Canada hosted the launch of our new report Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario, which is the first comprehensive study of Ontario’s live music industry completed with the assistance of Nordicity and funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The report provides critical data and information that will help guide decision-making within the sector, in all levels of government, and with other allied stakeholders.

Music Canada President Graham Henderson providing opening remarks at the intimate event, proclaiming, “Today marks the result of what turned out to be a herculean effort and the first-ever true measurement of live music’s impact on Ontario.”


Henderson continued to provide facts gained from the report, adding that in 2013, live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals alone contributed just under $1.2 billion to Ontario’s GDP and just over $430 million dollars in combined tax revenue for all levels of government.

“In total the live music industry accounted for approximately 20,000 full time equivalent jobs in Ontario’s economy that year,” Henderson added, “almost three times what Stats Canada reported in 2010 for the entire country.”

Henderson concluded his remarks stating, “Live Music Measures Up is just a starting point. For the first time we have actual benchmarks for the industry in Ontario against which, future studies can measure. For the first time, we have a model that can be used to accurately measure live music’s impacts across the country.”

Music Canada Live Executive Director Erin Benjamin also spoke at the event, relating this day to the excitement of Christmas morning.

“30% of the known universe of Ontario’s live music industry contributed to this report,” Benjamin revealed. “83% of those say they project their revenues to increase over the next 2 years. That spells progress, growth and opportunity.”


“This report will position the live music industry as critical to every economic, social and cultural policy discussion at every level of government in the country,” Benjamin concluded, “and it paves the way for new conversations, and opportunity, for all of us.”

Toronto and Whitehorse-based singer/songwriter Sarah MacDougall performed at the event, mesmerizing the attendees with her personal song lyrics and unique acoustic guitar playing. MacDougall’s performance was a reminder that Ontario’s live music industry cannot continue to grow without our underlying commitment to the artists and their creative output.

sarah3 sarah5

For full details of the new report, check out our Resources section.

Photos by Sarah Rix,


First-ever study of live music in Ontario is released

Live - Newsletter Banner - 800x457 for Mailchimp - RGBToday, Music Canada releases the first comprehensive study of the live music industry in Ontario. Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario provides critical data and information that will help guide decision-making within the sector, in government and other allied stakeholders.

“This report provides a comprehensive picture of the benefits live music brings to Ontario. In fact, it only enhances our understanding of data collected in our 2012 economic impact study, and cements what we know about Ontario as a powerhouse for the music industry. It shows that a vibrant music scene drives value in many important ways, including job creation, tourism development, brand building and artistic growth. With the new data from this study, we now have the necessary benchmarks to measure and support its growth. Live Music Measures Up allows us to look at live music through a new lens, and to better understand how critical it is to the entire music ecosystem.” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada.

Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada Live, participated in today’s launch. “Measuring Live Music represents an historic, timely and monumental opportunity; one which will enable us to entrench the true value of the live music economy in the minds of our stakeholders, government and audiences alike. It’s inspiring to see the sector organize, work together and build on the momentum we can all feel – here in the Province and around the world – the kind that will help guarantee live music takes its rightful place as one of Ontario’s greatest natural resources,” says Benjamin.

Prior to this study, there existed no comprehensive data set on Ontario’s live music industry. Music Canada engaged Nordicity to complete the profile, which they did after conducting interviews and surveys of artist managers, promoters, agents, music venues, and festivals in the province. The study was completed in partnership with Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and with the financial support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation through the Ontario Music Fund.

In 2012, Music Canada studied the economic impact of the sound recording industry in Canada utilizing 2010 Statistics Canada data. The new data collected for Live Music Measures Up provides a more fulsome and detailed look at the live music sector in Ontario. A more comprehensive data set is necessary to understanding where the live music sector is, has been, and will be in the future. This report will provide necessary benchmarks to understand and support the sector’s future growth.

The economic profile is organized into four key areas: revenue, audience, economic impact, and future outlook. The key takeaways are as follows:

  • Revenue: Live music companies in Ontario generated $628 million in revenue from live music activities in 2013 as well as profits of $144 million. Artist management revenue from Canadian artists totalled $34 million in 2013, 54 percent of all artist management revenue, and Canadian artists generated $75 million in ticket sales.
  • Audience: In 2013, 558 festivals across Ontario sold a total of 15.7 million tickets, representing 7 million unique visitors. Ontario’s 616 venues have a combined capacity of 3.6 million. The 775 promoters operating in the province in 2013 promoted 81,600 shows, which sold a combined total of 5.4 million tickets.
  • Economic Impact: The total economic impact of live music in Ontario’s economy is $1.2 billion. Live music companies in Ontario were responsible for $484 million in total expenditure in 2013 and contributed $432.4 million in taxes to all levels of government combined. The economic impact of live music companies includes 10,500 full-time equivalent jobs, and tourism activity accounts for an additional 9,520.
  • Future Outlook: Survey respondents reported that access to tax credits and other forms of government funding, along with the availability of local Canadian talent, were the factors that most positively impacted their company growth. And 83 percent of live music companies in the province expect revenue growth within the next two years.

“Live music is a powerful force, and we thank Music Canada for their leadership in helping to quantify the extraordinary work of the sector,” adds Benjamin.

Download the full report here.


Music Canada’s 2015 Annual General Meeting

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.

John Tory - Graham Henderson

Video: Toronto’s Music City – View from the Top: in conversation with Mayor John Tory

For more on Tory’s remarks, visit our blog.

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.

Graham Speaking

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.

Music Cities panel

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.

Modern Space

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…

Posted by Music Canada on Thursday, September 24, 2015


Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks at 2015 Music Canada Annual General Meeting

Yesterday we had the pleasure of not only coming together with our peers in the industry for the Music Canada AGM, but to host a number of wonderful speakers on the subject of Music Cities. Since the release of our report The Mastering of a Music City in June 2015, we have passionately pursued this subject around the world, learning from our colleagues in more than 40 cities. Yesterday it was especially special to talk about what Toronto is doing at home, with our own “music-friendly mayor” and champion of the music city: Mayor John Tory.

John Tory - Graham Henderson

In last year’s municipal election, Mayor Tory had a music platform that included tourism, enhanced live performances and festivals, and a standalone music office. Now, nine-months into his term, many of those things have become a reality in a short period of time. In a candid conversation with Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson, Mayor Tory spoke about the strides we’ve made so far, what’s next, and what inspires him in his vision of a music city.

We asked whether he remained optimistic about continuing to see this music platform develop – he looked to his trip to Austin, saying: “I stand here more committed because I’ve now seen another place where they made this a success – and we aren’t going to be Austin. We’re different. But I’m encouraged…and I think we’ve got to put our energy…with perhaps getting some more help behind making some of this stuff happen.”

Looking at Austin, he realized that “when the city is fully committed to all aspects of music, and the performance of music, and to the attraction of musicians to the city…they got great things done…It had gigantic economic benefits for the city that went way beyond the jobs created by the music industry and spoke to the whole question of the attraction of global companies, technology companies and so on.”

This is a vision he has for Toronto: seeing the same kind of support rallied around music in the same way as we have done for film for the past 30 years.

According to the Mayor, “we have all of the ingredients here” to build this. He elaborated, saying that the music industry is further ahead of where film was 30 years ago, but that we haven’t yet fully pulled together the industry and the infrastructure. He committed support from the government, saying they could provide support “by way of helping to make opportunities available, helping to showcase, helping to facilitate things, helping to modernize regulations, and secondly, helping by sort of getting out of the way.” In recognizing the ongoing struggle against bureaucratic red tape, he said “if you’re really committed to being a music city, you have to put your money where your mouth is.”

His determination was clear – “I’m very determined at the end of 4 years…when my term happens to be up, that we can look back and say: we actually got something done here, moving us towards what we are in film, and what we can be for sure in music…It starts with yes, the regulatory framework that is better defined and better accommodating of music, but it also starts with an administration that…says we’re going to find a way to say yes as opposed to automatically saying no. And I think that’s going to be big and…start to come next year with the plans people have to do bigger things. They’re going to be a little bolder because we’ve got to be bolder, we have to find places to do bigger and more things…it’s all part of building a great city.”


Music Canada’s Graham Henderson on Toronto Pearson’s Economic Impact

In a new video, Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson speaks about the economic impact of Toronto Pearson, Canada’s largest and busiest airport.

In conjunction with the Economic Impact Study, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority wanted to hear firsthand from those who rely on the airport to keep their business running. In the video, Henderson highlights the impact of Toronto Pearson in supporting Toronto’s music scene and connecting Canadian and international recording artists with global audiences.

“They need access to the world. We no longer live in a world where your market is your home. In order to be a successful recording artist in today’s world, it has to be a global marketplace. Without access to that global marketplace, it’s going to be very, very difficult. Making it easier is essential,” said Henderson. “We have domestic musicians who come from literally every culture in the world. And musicians from literally every culture in the world come here to perform. I don’t think that type of a music scene would have developed and flourished if it was not for an access point like Toronto Pearson.”

The importance of easy access by air travel was highlighted in The Mastering of a Music City, a new report released by Music Canada and IFPI that presents a roadmap that communities of all sizes can follow to realize the full potential of their music economy. The report found easy access via air travel is important in establishing a Music City as a destination for both touring artists and music tourists, and recommends communities consider the importance of international travel when planning for airports and routes.


Music Canada’s Graham Henderson on “The Mastering of a Music City” at the Canadian Club of Toronto

Yesterday, Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson delivered a speech at the Canadian Club of Toronto on ‘The Mastering of a Music City’, a new report that sets out how cities worldwide can take simple steps to help develop their music economies.

Video from the speech is now available online, courtesy of the Canadian Club of Toronto.

In his speech, Henderson highlighted some of the effective strategies outlined in the report, the benefits of a vibrant music economy, and early reactions to the report.

“There is a growing interest in Music City strategies,” said Henderson, as evidenced by the municipal leaders from around Ontario in attendance, as well as the recent Music Cities Convention in Brighton, UK, which was attended by representatives of 49 cities, as well as the widespread use of Music Canada’s 2012 Austin-Toronto report.

The Austin-Toronto report was cited in places as far away as Sydney, Australia, and adopted by cities like Chicago, explained Henderson. Community leaders in Tampere, Finland, and Kuala Lumpur, as well as throughout Ontario began asking for a road map, said Henderson. In order to satisfy this demand, Music Canada and IFPI set out to study music cities around the world, said Henderson.

In recapping reaction to the report, Henderson cited quotes from Kate Becker, Director of Seattle’s Film and Music Office, who said the Music Cities report is “brilliant and so important to advancing music cities and the music industry overall.” Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada Live, called the report “a powerful tool for the live sector especially, to leverage ongoing and future conversations in our cities and towns across the country.”

Henderson also shared a quote from Toronto Mayor John Tory, who said:

“The Mastering of a Music City report reinforces in my mind the real potential of what supporting the music industry can do to transform and grow a real 21st century city. The report will provide the City recommendations on how to support the industry as we work on our aggressive timeline to develop a music strategy in consultation with the music community.”

On the topic of what makes Toronto a great Music City, Henderson cited elements identified in the development of the 4479 Toronto brand: “our city’s unique offering is that we have the most diverse – globally sourced music experience of any city in the world. Period. Our venues, many, like Massey Hall, steeped in music lore, range from intimate to world tour-worthy. Our audience is informed, passionate and open minded. And all of this is housed in this amazing, culturally diverse metropolis.”

On top of that, Toronto is “a city where music leaders and advocates are working alongside municipal leaders to enhance the music economy,” said Henderson. To that point, Henderson citied the City’s recent review of its postering regulations, an issue first raised in Music Canada’s Austin-Toronto report. Henderson then gave a shout out to Mike Tanner, Toronto’s Music Sector Development Officer, and Zaib Shaikh, Toronto’s Commissioner for Film and Entertainment Industries, for their efforts on this file.

Henderson also gave credit to London, Ontario, who recently announced a new music incubator, and Kitchener, who has established Music Works, a world-class ten point plan developed through a grassroots community consultation.

“Ontario communities are in the forefront of work being done to stimulate growth of the commercial music sector,” said Henderson, citing town hall meetings in Barrie, Collingwood, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Toronto and Windsor. The Government of Ontario has fostered these initiatives through the Live Music Strategy, said Henderson, which is intended to make Ontario a global destination for music tourism.

Henderson then went through some of the effective strategies identified in the report.

“Artists and musicians are undoubtedly the heart of a music city,” said Henderson, recapping a discussion with artist Miranda Mulholland, who said “it’s one thing to be music-friendly; let’s make sure it’s also musician-friendly.”

To this point, “you only need to look at the current musical landscape to understand why this piece is so critical today,” said Henderson, citing a study from the Canadian Independent Music Association, which found the average annual income of a musician is $7,000.

“In this environment, affordability becomes increasing crucial,” said Henderson. The Music Cities report provides recommendations on musician-friendly policies that cities like Austin are exploring to find a solution for artists’ growing costs of living.

Henderson also discussed the range of “music-friendly” policies outlined in the report, such as loading zones for musicians, progressive planning laws, and transportation or transit that facilitate access to venues for fans.

Most important for a music city is the establishment of a music advisory council, said Henderson, which creates the opportunity for two-way dialogue between the city, the music community, and other interested groups like tourism or BIAs.

On the topic of music tourism, Henderson cited Austin, Memphis, and Nashville as beneficiaries of an effective music tourism plan. Music provides one of the most compelling tourism products, said Henderson, calling it a “24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year opportunity.”

“Music tourism packs a punch,” said Henderson, noting that tourism is the largest employer of young people in the province. “It generates millions of dollars in concert and festival tickets, merchandise, hotels and restaurants – it creates jobs at all these businesses – and builds a city’s global brand.”

On the topic of why a city would want to grow its music economy, Henderson cited social and cultural benefits, as well as the unifying aspect of music, which is outlined in the report with examples from South Africa and Finland.

Henderson also outlined the tangible financial benefits of music, such as job creation, investment attraction, and dollars spent in the community. Examples from the Music Cities report include:

  • In Melbourne, live music alone generates over 116,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in spending at small venues, concerts, and festivals;
  • Music tourism in Austin accounts for almost half of their $1.6 billion economic output and contributes $38 million in tax revenue to the city
  • In 2013, the music industry helped to create and sustain more than 56,000 jobs within the Nashville area, supported more than $3.2billion of annual labour income, and contributed $5.5billion to the local economy.

While Toronto is cited throughout the report in terms of initiatives that could be emulated in other cities, Henderson also outlined some recommendations from other cities that could be adopted here, such as:

  • affordable housing for musicians as well as, additional training and professional development;
  • a plan to address the compliance issues that crop up on a frequent basis; and,
  • land use planning that takes into account culturally significant zones.

In addition, Toronto should develop:

  • An inventory of existing venues, recording studios, etc. in order to identify gaps; and,
  • A music hub or accelerator.

Henderson closed with another portion of Mayor John Tory’s reaction to the report, as an example of Toronto’s commitment to developing music and music-friendly policies.

“As City Hall pursues its vigorous agenda in supporting Toronto’s music sector, we look to sector leaders like Music Canada to continue their invaluable work in elevating and solidifying Toronto’s position as a world-leading music city. It is partnerships between the City and the music industry that will ensure Toronto becomes a thriving music city.” – Toronto Mayor John Tory

The full report is now available, and we welcome music leaders and advocates to utilize the recommendations – because the global music community only stands to gain if music-friendly, musician-friendly cities dot the globe.


Many in the audience tweeted highlights from the speech; below is some of the social media reaction:

@music_canada honcho Graham Henderson speaking about the The Mastering Of A Music City report. Impressive, as usual.

A photo posted by Stephen Coady (@commandercoady) on


‘Music Cities’ Report Sets Out Roadmap To Economic Growth

Cannes, France, June 5, 2015: Recording industry groups IFPI and Music Canada have today released a new report that sets out how cities worldwide can take simple steps to help develop their music economies.

The Mastering of a Music City was launched at Midem, the world’s largest music industry conference.

The report provides a simple checklist to help local authorities, businesses, community groups and the creative sector capitalise on the potential of music to build, grow and strengthen their cities.

It cites examples from 22 cities from all continents to explain what a music city is, why it is beneficial, and – critically – the most effective strategies and policies that can be implemented to nurture active music hubs.

Graham Henderson, President and CEO, Music Canada, says: “A vibrant music sector delivers an extensive array of social, cultural and economic benefits to its community; from job creation and retention to city identity and music tourism, to social cohesion, music can play an essential role.”  

“Communities of any size, anywhere in the world, can assess the extent to which they have the essential ingredients for a Music City, and deploy the strategies successfully used in the likes of Nashville, Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin and other renowned Music Cities, in order to enhance or grow theirs. These strategies don’t necessarily require heavy investment – addressing red tape and establishing dialogue between leaders in the music community and city officials are inexpensive ways to grow music’s contributions.”

The Mastering of a Music City has identified recommendations in seven strategic areas that are an effective means to grow and strengthen a city’s music economy:

  1. Music and musician-friendly policies, from licensing and liquor laws to parking and planning regulations to affordable housing and artist entrepreneur training.
  1. The creation of Music Offices to help musicians and music businesses navigate the broad range of government policies and regulations that impact music.
  1. The formulation of Music Advisory Boards to engage the broader music community in a collaborative way and to facilitate dialogue with city governments.
  1. Engaging the broader music community to ensure the people most affected by music policies are involved and informed.
  1. Access to spaces and places for artists to practice, record, and perform at every stage of their career.
  1. A focus on audience development, ensuring that there is an engaged and passionate audience for local musicians as well as international touring artists, now and into the future.
  1. Music tourism or the development of a Music City brand to leverage a thriving live music scene, rich music history, or large music festivals in order to reap the significant benefits associated with music.

In addition, multi-level government support for music, a broader city infrastructure conducive to the sector, music education programmes and efforts to highlight music history and identity are important.

Frances Moore, Chief Executive, IFPI, comments: “We’re delighted to be a partner in the Music Cities project, and we will work with our affiliates in 57 countries to spread the good work that Music Canada has been doing elsewhere in the world. They will be taking this report into City Halls worldwide, recognising that each place has different needs and priorities, but urging leaders to seize the common advantages offered by a growing music economy.

“We realise this will benefit the recording industry too, and that is the other reason we are co-sponsoring the report. Our job at IFPI is to improve the environment in which our member companies operate and this is one way that we can do that. Just imagine a world where you can go from country to country and find music cities in every one. That would be good for artists, good for record companies, good for city leaders and good for the wider public that just wants to enjoy great music.”

The Mastering of a Music City was produced after more than 40 interviews with music leaders, city and tourism officials, international focus groups and secondary research. It cites best practices and case studies from 22 cities. IFPI’s affiliated national groups will share the report globally to assist municipal leaders and other stakeholders to develop local music strategies.

Download Report

About IFPI:
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 62 countries. It also has affiliated industry groups in 57 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for record producer rights and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.

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

For more information, contact:


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