Music Canada


Join Mailing List

Music Canada


Tag archive: Live Music Measures Up (7)


#EveryStage: How Music Canada’s Music Cities advocacy aims to make Canadian municipalities more music and musician friendly

Last week Music Canada launched our JUNOS 2018 #EveryStage campaign, intended to highlight the ways our advocacy supports artists at every stage of their career, with a blog about our aim to secure equitable access to quality music education for all young Canadians.

We’re proud to return as a Platinum Partner of the 47th annual JUNOS, sponsoring both the Album of the Year category as well as the official kickoff to JUNO weekend, the Welcome Reception.

In the second installment of our four-part series leading up the 2018 JUNO Awards, we’ll explore Music Cities and Music Canada’s efforts to help make Canadian municipalities more music and musician-friendly. A Music City is a community of any size with a vibrant music economy.

Why it’s important

Vibrant and actively promoted local music ecosystems bring a wide array of benefits to both cities and the musicians inhabiting them. Economic growth, job creation, increased spending, greater tax revenues and cultural development are just a few examples.

“Live music is a growth industry in Ottawa. It shapes our identity and who we are as a city. In addition to the cultural benefits, a thriving music industry helps to level the playing field for our homegrown companies who are competing to attract talent from around the world.” – Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

How we advocate

Music Canada’s world-renowned and globe-spanning research has identified several key strategies that cities both large and small can use to grow and strengthen their music economy. We work with municipal governments and regional partners to implement music and musician-friendly policies, establish music offices and advisory boards, as well as promote music tourism, audience development and access to the spaces and places where music is made.

Cities across Canada, including London, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Toronto, Barrie/Simcoe County, Halifax, Moncton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, Guelph and more have implemented or are exploring measures to maximize the impact, growth and support for their local music ecosystems, and Music Canada has been proud to provide support through our research and expertise in the development of these strategies.

Learn more

Our 2015 report The Mastering of a Music City represents a roadmap that communities of all sizes can follow to realize the full potential of their music economy. Truly global in scale, the report is the result of more than forty interviews with music community experts, government officials, and community leaders in more than twenty cities on every continent.

“This should remove barriers to performing and creating music. Ultimately the goal is to create a more sustainable music community where artists and professionals can enjoy successful careers.” – Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada

Our annual Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week brings policymakers, city planners and global music industry representatives together to discuss, learn and collaborate.

Chambers of commerce have an opportunity to carve out a leadership role in leveraging music as a driver of employment and economic growth. In 2016, Music Canada partnered with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to create a Music Cities Toolkit, designed to provide the CCC’s network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, in all regions of the country, with a guide to activate the power of music in their city.

“The cities of Kitchener and Waterloo have long recognized that a comprehensive and coordinated approach for live music allows us to not only expand our existing events such as the Kitchener Blues Festival but also attract new business and retain talent. As this document confirms, Music Canada is a tremendous resource for all stakeholders in formulating a local strategy, particularly in bridging municipal, business and cultural sector interests. Through national and international experience they know what works for the benefit of the entire community.” –  Ian McLean, President & Chief Executive Officer, Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

Live Music Measures Up is the first comprehensive economic impact study of the live music industry in Ontario. It provides critical data and information to help guide decision-making within the sector, in government and other allied stakeholders.

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.” – Erin Benjamin, Executive Director, Music Canada Live



Ontario study shows arts and culture attract top talent

Business for the Arts has released the results of a new study that details the extent to which arts and culture attract both skilled workers and the businesses that seek them. Culture for Competitiveness: How Vibrant Culture Attracts Top Talent was created with support from the Ontario Arts Council, with research conducted by Nanos Research.

The study shows that a vibrant arts and culture scene, including live music events, can be a major driver in attracting and retaining employees, and is based on a survey of 500 skilled workers, and 508 businesses in Ontario. While businesses recognize the magnetic nature of arts and culture to skilled workers, the study concludes that they can do more to support local arts communities. According to the study, only 25% of businesses in Ontario make financial contributions to arts and/or cultural organizations in their community.

“The study’s bottom line is that businesses need to make arts and culture more of a priority,” said Nichole Anderson, President & CEO of Business for the Arts. “Our culture for competitiveness study confirms that skilled workers seek out vibrant arts and culture hubs when making job decisions, but businesses who could benefit from the magnetic effect of culture are not investing in their arts and culture ecosystem.”

The study includes the following findings:

  • 60 per cent of businesses said that there are usually more qualified and attractive potential employees in communities with a thriving arts scene
  • 64 per cent of businesses said that a thriving arts and culture scene is something that would make it easier to attract top talent to their community
  • 49 per cent of skilled workers go to arts and cultural festivals two to four times per year
  • Just over half of skilled workers said that a healthy vibrant arts and culture community has influenced their choice regarding which city they would want to work in
  • Skilled workers in Toronto tend to value arts and culture more than those living elsewhere (85 per cent compared to 73 per cent)
  • 75 per cent of skilled workers agreed that government support for the arts makes a more livable community

Thriving Arts Scene Image

The results of this new study echo parts of Music Canada and IFPI’s Mastering of a Music City report. One finding in the report was that music branding undertaken by a city adds a “cool” factor, that can attract and retain investment and talent. In Berlin, the intermingling of music and tech businesses has demonstrated that a successful music economy can attract and retain talent in other industries as well.

The Mastering of a Music City looks to global cities where an understanding exists that arts, culture, and music specifically, help to attract talent and business. Fredrik Sandsten, Event Manager Music at the public tourism agency in Sweden says of Gothenburg, “We have a very industrial city with huge industrial companies. They want culture and music to flourish because they see the link to attracting young workers to their companies.”

Ontario is home to many communities with vibrant arts scenes, where music, in addition to attracting businesses and talent, contributes directly to the economy. Music Canada’s report Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario identified that live music companies generated $628 million from live music activities in 2013, and brought a total impact of 10,500 jobs to the province.

Music Canada welcomes the results of Business for the Arts’ new study, and encourages Canadian businesses to support their local arts communities, including local music scenes, so that those communities and businesses continue to flourish together.


The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport unveils Ontario’s Tourism Action Plan

Roots at Luminato

A crowd enjoying The Roots at Toronto’s Luminato Festival, via Ontario’s Tourism Action Plan

One of the final announcements made by Michael Coteau as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport was the release of Ontario’s Tourism Action Plan. Since the release, Eleanor McMahon has been appointed Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport, and Michael Coteau is now Minister of Children and Youth Services. In the Plan, the province’s tourism industry is said to generate over $28.5 billion annually, which represents 4% of the GDP.

According to the press release, sector wide engagement across the diverse tourism industry produced an agreement amongst leaders – the need for immediate action. The Plan identifies five priority areas the Government will focus on: Indigenous-led tourism, Francophone tourism, the sharing economy, culture and sport linkages, and events and celebrations.

Music Canada has found that live music events and celebrations contribute significantly to Ontario’s economy. In our report, Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario, we determined that in 2013, the total impact of music tourism in Ontario was 9,530 jobs, $405.1 million in labour income, and $609.1 million in gross domestic product.

The Action Plan’s five priority areas are further broken down into twelve action items.  Several of them provide clear opportunities for the live music, and music tourism sectors:

  • An Investment Approach for Economic Growth recognizes that investment from the private sector is critical to increasing visitation and creating jobs.
  • A New Approach to Data Collection to Improve Data Quality and Availability could allow for data relating to music events, whether it’s live or recorded music, to be collected in its own independent category.
  • Working Together to Improve the Business Climate for Tourism – Reduce Regulatory Burdens. The Government has expressed a commitment to improving the regulatory environment for the tourism industry, and plans to hold discussions with industry partners to prioritize regulatory challenges faced by the sector. In Live Music Measures Up, Music Canada found that the legal and regulatory environment was the only factor live music companies in Ontario identified as having a net negative impact on their success.

We encourage our partners involved in live music and events to continue to engage in discussions, and provide feedback to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport as more detailed plans are developed.


Ottawa’s MEGAPHONO to feature Music Cities panel


From February 2-5, 2016, Ottawa will host the 2nd annual MEGAPHONO music festival, showcasing the nation’s capital’s burgeoning music scene to fans and industry professionals alike. The festival will feature a packed schedule of club gigs, free shows in the Centretown & Hintonburg neighbourhoods, and daily panel discussions beginning February 3.

On Thursday February 4, the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC) presents the panel In Search Of The Music City: What Does Local Business Have To Gain? at Live On Elgin (230 Elgin, 2nd Floor). The discussion will be moderated by Music Canada Live‘s Erin Benjamin and will feature panelists Mark Garner (Downtown Yonge BIA), Councillor Jeff Leiper (City of Ottawa), Amy Terrill (Music Canada) and Tim Potocic (Sonic Unyon / Supercrawl).

The discussion comes at a crucial point in Ottawa’s push towards growing its thriving music scene, an effort panelist Councillor Jeff Leiper has shown favourable support for. At MEGAPHONO 2015, festival director and Kelp Records’ Jon Bartlett revealed the Ottawa music report Connecting Ottawa Music: A Profile of Ottawa’s Music Industries.

“It’s an exciting time to be working in music in Ottawa,” said Jon Bartlett at the report’s launch. “It’s like nothing I’ve felt in 15 years of living here. We are in the middle of a musical boom here in Ottawa.”

Also in 2015, Music Canada released its Live Music Measures Up report analyzing the economic impact of live music in Ontario, as well as the report The Mastering Of A Music City.

Panel attendance is open to delegate pass holders and MEGAPHONO artists. Delegate badges are still available for $100, as well as general festival passes for $50.


Music Canada’s submission to the Ontario Cultural Strategy Consultation

As part of the Ontario government’s first Cultural Strategy consultation, Music Canada was pleased to submit the following letter, as well as two of our recent reports, Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario, and The Mastering of a Music City.

The submission highlights the benefits of a vibrant music economy to Ontario communities, including job creation, talent retention, economic growth and diversification, tourism development, brand building and artistic growth, as well as music’s role in connecting communities and building a bridge across cultures, languages, and income levels.

Drawing from the results of our research, the submission identifies opportunities to strengthen the cultural sector, including:

  1. Provincial and municipal coordination
  2. Music tourism promotion
  3. Preservation of cultural heritage
  4. Investment in music education

We look forward to seeing the Ontario Cultural Strategy build on the creation of the Ontario Music Fund and the Ontario Music Tourism Strategy which were both launched in 2013.

View the submission


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.


This website made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.