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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:


Ontario Government announces recipients of the second year of the Ontario Music Fund

Today, the Hon. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the 2014-15 Ontario Music Fund recipients, with 123 recipients receiving more than $14 million in grants in the second year of the program. The fund, which is administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), supports music entrepreneurs, record labels, managers, agents, industry trade associations, and training institutions across Ontario.

Premier Wynne made the announcement at Coalition Music in Scarborough, where she highlighted the music sector’s value to the Ontario economy and stated “music makes the earth move for Ontario.” The press release notes that the recorded music industry generates more than $429 million in revenue in Ontario annually, and that support from the first year of the Ontario Music Fund helped create or retain 2,000 jobs and produced $24 million in additional revenue for music-related businesses in Ontario.

“By establishing Ontario as one of the leading destinations in North America to record and perform, we are supporting the music companies, artists and cultural institutions that bring our sound to the world, boosting a vibrant and important industry, and helping to create good jobs,” said Premier Wynne in the release.

The Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and The Hon. Brad Duguid, Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, also spoke at the event, which featured music performances by The Good Lovelies and Myles Castello.

“By investing in the music sector through initiatives like the Ontario Music Fund, our government has ensured that Ontario remains Canada’s top jurisdiction for making, producing and performing music, said Minister Coteau. “I’m proud that Ontario continues to be one of the most diverse music sectors in the world and a place where artists can grow and thrive right here at home.”

“The Ontario Music Fund has positively changed the landscape for music, and signals that the Government of Ontario agrees that music is a good investment for this province; in fact, that it is one of our competitive advantages,” said Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “We commend the Government of Ontario for creating the conditions that encourage the private sector to invest in music in order to create jobs and stimulate growth.”

For further information on the Ontario Music Fund, visit the OMDC’s website at


The Rambler by Graham Henderson: 3 Ways John Tory’s Announcement Will Help Toronto’s Music Sector

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting South by Southwest in Austin, TX, as part of the delegation that included Mayor John Tory, Councillors Michael Thompson and Josh Colle, as well as Zaib Shaikh and Mike Tanner from the City of Toronto, Jeff Cohen of Collective Concerts, Sari Delmar of Audio Blod, Jesse Kumagai of Live Nation, and my Music Canada colleague Amy Terrill, and I am pleased to see the mission bearing fruit as this week the Mayor announced the steps the City of Toronto will take to better utilize the terrific competitive advantage that music offers our city.

The mayor ran on a platform that specifically included music, which was an amazing first for Toronto. By choosing to make his first business mission all about music, the Mayor not only demonstrated his belief in the importance of music to Toronto, but he also sent a strong signal to Toronto’s music community that he intends to make good on his promises. Many of the changes that Mayor Tory promised this week are very achievable and will bring swift improvements to the livelihood of Toronto’s artists and others working in the music sector, and in turn, benefit the entire city.

For example, Mr. Tory announced that he will conduct a thorough review of existing city bylaws and the permitting policies that affect music events and musicians. There are many small steps that can be taken to remove red tape, which will have an immediate impact on Toronto musicians and venues. A perfect example: last Friday I attended an excellent show at Hugh’s Room, and was dismayed to learn that the venue received a $490 fine for a poster on a nearby utility pole.

Who does this help? It makes it harder for the venue to operate, certainly. For many venues, it would wipe out their profits for the night – too many of those, and they may decide it’s not worth the hassle and close their doors. Fortunately, Mayor Tory has recognized that this type of red tape counters our efforts to establish Toronto as a Music City. During Monday’s press conference he stated: “We will miss opportunities where our own talent will get impatient with us and go somewhere else.” This is very true, and I am glad the Austin example has impressed the importance of City Hall working in concert with the music sector on the Mayor.

The Mayor also spoke of the need to promote Toronto specifically as a music destination for tourists. This was one of the key recommendations from our Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas report, and Music Canada has already started down this path with the creation of the 4479 initiative, which celebrates what makes Toronto one of the greatest music cities in the world: the music, the people, the places, and the city. Mr. Tory identified several opportunities to include a strong music presence in large Toronto events that the City is already taking part in, such as the Pan Am Games, Pride, and Caribana. The Mayor also spoke of looking into public-private partnerships in this space, which presents many opportunities. For example, Tourism Toronto has been a fantastic champion of the power of music tourism, highlighting local music offerings in their 2014 and 2015 editions of their flagship Toronto Magazine. A coordinated music tourism promotion campaign would also dovetail very nicely with Ontario’s Live Music Strategy, which is strengthening the live music scene across the province. At his announcement, the Mayor mentioned Austin’s live music guidebook and smart phone app, which helps tourists find live music easily in the city, helping promote local artists and venues., which was developed by Music Canada under contract to the Ontario government, provides a comprehensive listing of live music in Ontario – the Toronto data could be localized and licensed for the City’s use to quickly create a comprehensive listing for Toronto.

Another major point from Mr. Tory’s announcement was how a strong music scene can benefit businesses in other sectors. “The table stakes for economic development in cities like Toronto and Austin is the ability to compete successfully for talent,” said Mayor Tory. “I have been to Austin and I have seen how creative sectors like music, film and technology drive economic growth, job creation, investment and tourism – and help attract and retain young talent. If we’re going to bring more jobs, and attract and keep world class talent in Toronto, we need to focus on promoting and growing our creative sectors and this summit will be critical to that process.”

This is an important point, and something that we learned through our research with the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) last year. The ICTC report, Music – A Catalyst For Technology Hubs And Innovative Talent, found that a strong cultural scene can be a significant advantage for a city looking to retain the creative and innovative workers that today’s creative industries require. Austin has utilized this strategy very effectively, and now makes music an explicit part of their economic development pitch to tech companies. We have also completed research in Alberta, and found that a strategic approach to developing their music sector could lead to economic diversification, and help attract the young, affluent workers that other industries desperately need. Currently, Music Canada is developing a report that examines global best practices for music sector development, which will be released this summer.

Mayor Tory also outlined several other steps and goals in driving economic development through music, including:

  • Hosting a summit with business and key music industry stakeholders from Toronto and Austin this fall
  • Strengthen the City’s Entertainment Industries Office to assist in putting music on a growth path similar to that of film.
  • Explore the opportunity in the initiation/expansion of an interactive conference similar to the SXSW Interactive Festival

As always, it will take both effort and commitment to achieve these goals. But as our research indicates, the benefits will make our efforts worthwhile – both for our musicians and those working in the music sector, and for the community at large. Mayor Tory has shown that he recognizes the opportunities that the music sector presents, and he has sent a strong signal that he intends to achieve these goals. I am glad to have a strong champion of music at City Hall, and I look forward to working together to harness the power of music in Toronto.


Graham Henderson is the President and CEO of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at


Music Canada Receives Tourism Toronto’s President’s Award

Yesterday, in front of an audience of tourism leaders from Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, Music Canada’s Graham Henderson accepted Tourism Toronto’s President’s Award for an organization outside tourism that makes a significant contribution to tourism.

Music Canada was chosen in recognition of driving the agenda relating to live music, said David Whitaker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Toronto.

Since Music Canada began work on this initiative, the province has launched a Live Music Strategy and a live music portal, the City of Toronto has established a music advisory board, music development officer and has signed a music city alliance with Austin, Texas.  Other cities around the province, including Hamilton, London, Kitchener and Peterborough have also established music strategies.

“We’re honoured to receive this award from Tourism Toronto which has been a supportive partner in our efforts to highlight the power of music tourism.  Our music scene is perhaps the most diverse in the world and promoting it not only helps the tourism community, but also will ultimately create more opportunities for artists and musicians who rely so heavily on live performance .” says Graham Henderson.

Previous recipients of the President’s Award include Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (for developments at Air Canada Centre and Maple Leaf Square), Ryerson University (for the Ryerson Image Centre), Scotiabank (for Toronto Caribbean Carnival and Nuit Blanche), CTV (for its “My Toronto Is…” campaign), David Peterson and the Pan Am Bid Team, and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (for developments such as TIFF Bell Lightbox and Royal Conservatory/Koerner Concert Hall.)

OBAA AwardPhoto Credit: Grant W Martin Photography


Thank you to our many partners in the promotion of music tourism for sharing their regards on Twitter:


Boots and Hearts Music Festival announces move to Barrie area

The Boots and Hearts Music Festival has announced that their 2015 festival will move to a new home at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ontario. The festival will take place August 6th – 9th, and Florida Georgia Line has already been announced as one of the headline performances.

The move to Burl’s Creek will allow Boots and Hearts to expand capacity and camping grounds, said Shannon McNevan, executive director of festival promoter Republic Live. “We needed to expand our camping and our festival. That was our biggest complaint from fans, is that we didn’t have enough,” said McNevan. “The newly renovated grounds at Burl’s Creek will allow us to offer way more camping and add to the amazing #Bootslife community onsite,” he added.

Burl’s Creek was recently sold to the majority shareholder of Republic Live, which is good for the region, said Tourism Barrie executive director Kathleen Trainor. “We are thrilled to learn that Burl’s Creek has been sold to a concert promoter,” said Trainor. “The Wynne government is investing heavily into making Ontario the music capital of Canada and having a major concert venue in the region is good for Barrie. Molson Park’s concerts brought millions of dollars in revenue into Barrie every summer and now we can have a whole new generation of music lovers coming into the region for music festivals.”

The success and impact of Boots and Hearts is a testament to the opportunity provided by live music. Last year’s festival had an economic impact of approximately $17 million in the Bowmanville area, drawing approximately 35,000 country music fans to the region over three days.

Music Canada has promoted the value of music tourism to regions and municipalities throughout Ontario, and identified music tourism as one of five critical areas for development in our Next Big Bang report. Noting that music tourism and marketing offer rewarding opportunities for economic growth and brand development at the provincial, regional and city levels, the report considers how we can harness the power of live music as an economic asset by developing a comprehensive music tourism strategy.

Music Canada’s Graham Henderson will speak on the opportunities for music tourism next month at the 2014 Ontario Tourism Summit, in a keynote presentation entitled Ontario’s Music Tourism Pitch., Ontario’s live music portal, will also be on-site at the Ontario Tourism Summit, showcasing the comprehensive live music listings to hundreds of tourism professionals from across the province.

The Boots and Hearts experience is on display in the festival’s 2014 After Movie, embedded below. For tickets or more information, visit


Ontario Government launches Live Music Portal and announces recipients of the first year of the Ontario Music Fund

Today, the Hon. Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, announced the recipients of the first year of the Ontario Music Fund, as well as the official launch of Ontario’s live music portal,

The first year of the Ontario Music Fund, which is administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), is providing 108 grants to artists and music organizations that produce, distribute, and promote Canadian music and artists.

“We’re turning up the volume on our diverse and dynamic music industry,” said Minister Coteau. “Through the Ontario Music Fund, we are making important investments to help the industry grow, create jobs and ensure Ontario’s talent thrives here at home.”

Minister Coteau also announced the official launch of Ontario’s live music portal,, which was developed by Music Canada under contract to the Ontario government. The site is a comprehensive and reliable source for information on live music in Ontario, including concert listings and venue promotions. As part of Ontario’s Live Music Strategy, the portal will promote live music in Ontario to boost concert attendance, visitor spending, and economic impact.

“The Ontario Music Fund has positively changed the landscape for music, and signals that the Government of Ontario agrees that music is a good investment for this province; in fact, that it is one of our competitive advantages,” said Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “We commend the Government of Ontario for creating the conditions that encourage the private sector to invest in music in order to create jobs and stimulate growth.”

For more on the Ontario Music Fund, visit


Music Canada’s Graham Henderson discusses Tariff 8 on Newstalk1010’s In The Studio

Last month, Music Canada President Graham Henderson joined Bob Reid and Blair Packham on Newstalk1010’s In The Studio to discuss the Copyright Board of Canada’s recent decision on Tariff 8. The rates set by the Copyright Board are approximately 10% of the rates negotiated by Re:Sound in its direct agreements with digital services, and less than 10% of the comparable U.S. rates.

“This is a problem that actually can be fixed by the Government of Canada,” said Henderson. “Because it’s Government of Canada who sets the rules by which something like the Copyright Board decides how rates will or won’t be set. And it would be very helpful, we think, if the Government of Canada could step in, take recognizance of the ludicrousness of this decision, and maybe help us try and fix it.”

The full segment is now available on Soundcloud, and is embedded below:

A growing coalition of artists, labels, industry associations, and music fans are speaking out against the Copyright Board decision; to learn more and to add your voice, Like and Share the I Stand For Music Facebook Page, or tweet using the hashtag #IStand4Music.

For more information on the Tariff 8 decision, see our Backgrounder.


Report Identifies New Directions to Drive Growth and Job Creation in the Economy at Large and Canada’s Commercial Music Business in Particular

Report Identifies New Directions to Drive Growth and Job Creation in the Economy at Large and Canada’s Commercial Music Business in Particular

Music Education, Digital Innovation, Music Tourism, Export Expansion and Interconnected Tax Credits identified as critical areas for development

Toronto, March 21, 2013: Music Canada today tabled a new report identifying programs and public policies to stimulate the development of Canada’s commercial music sector. The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada proposes a renewed industrial strategy for music and pinpoints key recommendations in the following areas: music education, digital innovation, music tourism, export expansion and interconnected tax credits.

The report demonstrates that by addressing these areas, music can contribute more substantially to the broader economy. The commercial music industry employs thousands of people in a highly creative and dynamic field that has been reshaped by the digital revolution.

“The commercial music sector has the potential to support government efforts to improve economic performance and job growth at all levels. We want to get the message across that music can help in a multiplicity of ways,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Music’s potential can be fully realized, and Canada can secure its place on the global cultural map, by updating current policies and programs from the analog era in which they were created.”

The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada is intended to stimulate a broader conversation about how best to strengthen Canada’s music business. The report was developed after months of research, interviews and expert submissions. Contributors include the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Nordicity, digital expert Darlene Tonelli and Austin’s Titan Music Group.

The report’s recommendations are designed with the realities of today’s music industry in mind. Among these realities: (i) digital revenues have grown significantly but do not yet make up for the massive losses in physical sales; (ii) legitimate music services still must contend with unlicensed music sources that do not pay artists and music companies; (iii) in 2012, for the first time in over a decade, the global market for recorded music increased slightly over the previous year; (iv) music companies, despite the implosion of revenues, continue to invest in talent development; (v) music discovery has largely moved online; and, (vi) live performance constitutes an increasingly important part of an artist’s income.

The report contains 17 recommendations, including:

a) Given the strong evidence that music education prepares workers who are more creative, better problem-solvers, and possess soft skills that are critical in the digital economy, as well as the correlation between music scenes and tech clusters, governments should invest more in music education and should consider music scenes as a tool for economic development;

b) Music funding programs should reward innovation;

c) Efforts should be made to support the discovery of Canadian music online through partnerships with digital music services;

d) Cities and regions should develop a music tourism strategy in partnership with their local music community;

e) Canada should develop a national music export office to better assist music companies and artist entrepreneurs to expand their export markets;

f) A presence for the music industry should be established in Los Angeles to stimulate exports to the US market and attract more music recording activity to Canadian recording studios; and

g) Tax credits for music companies should be modernized and expanded, (replicating the best practices established in film and TV at the federal and provincial levels) resulting in jobs, economic activity and contributions to the tax base.


“Ontario is home to a wealth of talent – from the artist to the industry. Our government is a proud partner of our music sector, working in concert with stakeholders like Music Canada to identify key priorities to further enhance the vitality and vibrancy of music in Ontario. Together, we are working in concert to develop a Live Music Strategy for Ontario that will firmly place our province on the map as a premier destination for live music on the international stage.”
Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“Music and technology are, in our view, inextricably linked. Tech jobs today require discipline and logical thinking, as well as creativity and an ability to innovate on the basis of strategic thinking. Music education, and lifelong involvement with music made possible in cities with strong scenes, could be Canada’s competitive advantage. Educators, parents, policy-makers and business leaders concerned with Canadian economic prosperity should consider the role music might play as a global competitive advantage.”
Jeff Leiper, Chief Policy Advisor, Information and Communications Technology Council

“Tax credits have been very effective as a creative industry stimulus. Properly enhanced, they could power even more growth in the music sector and its spin-offs in the economy at large. For instance, music could take a leaf from success in the film and TV business – and leverage foreign as well as domestic investment in Canada through tax credits.”
Peter Lyman, Senior Partner, Nordicity

– 30 –

For more information:
Amy Terrill – Vice President Public Affairs, Music Canada 647-963-6044

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record labels in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also provides membership benefits to some of the leading independent record labels and distributors. Its members are engaged in all aspects of the recording industry, including the manufacture, production, promotion and distribution of music.


The Rambler by Graham Henderson: The Next Big Bang in Kitchener-Waterloo

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Earlier this month I gave a presentation on The Next Big Bang to the ultra-organized music community in Kitchener-Waterloo. They seem to have ALL the right pieces in place and enormous drive and ambition.

You can visit the Music Works to see the great work the K-W community is doing to accelerate their local music cluster.

The Next Big Bang is Music Canada’s new report identifying programs and public policies to stimulate the development of Canada’s commercial music sector, available for download here.

My thanks to Silvia Di Donato, Manager of Arts and Culture at the City of Kitchener for the invitation to speak, and to Earl McCluskie, producer with Chestnut Hall Music for uploading the video.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at


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