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Tag archive: live music (7)

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New research from SOCAN provides more evidence for the value of Music Cities strategies

The results of a new survey commissioned by SOCAN provide new evidence to support the development of Music City strategies, like those detailed in Music Canada’s landmark study, The Mastering of a Music City.

The SOCAN study titled Live Music & Urban Canadians confirms that most Canadians living in urban centres think it is important to live in a neighbourhood “with a vibrant local arts scene that includes live music” and support a portion of funds from new property developments going to community arts and culture developments.

Some details of the survey were initially shared in an opinion piece for the Toronto Star by SOCAN’s CEO Eric Baptiste titled Cities can create conditions for live music to thrive. The article was followed by another release expanding on the results of the survey and proposing ways that municipalities and music fans can support live music.

Results from SOCAN’s research include:

  • “Nearly two-thirds (63%) of urban Canadians agree that it is important to live in a neighbourhood with a vibrant arts scene that includes live music.”

Respondents with a university degree (71%) were more likely to agree with this sentiment versus those with a college (58%) or high school (49%) education. Urban residents in Atlantic Canada (74%) were also most in agreement versus residents in other parts of Canada, followed by Quebec (68%), British Columbia (67%), Ontario (63%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (54%) and Alberta (50%).

  • “The vast majority (80%) of urban Canadians would support a portion of funds going to community arts & culture developments.”

SOCAN’s survey stated that “currently new property developers in some municipalities are required to put a portion of funds towards community development, city parks, etc,” and asked respondents whether they would support a portion of these funds being put towards arts & culture developments like live music venues and local theatres.

Urban Canadians who agreed that living in a neighbourhood with a vibrant arts and live music scene was important to them were significantly more likely to agree (91%) that development fees should support arts & culture developments than those who did not agree (62%).

  • “Roughly half (49%) of urban Canadians would enjoy owning and living in a condo that offered live music in the lobby.”

SOCAN’s survey noted that many condos in the US and Europe have restaurants and bars in their lobbies. Of the urban Canadians who responded that they would enjoy live music in their lobby, young Canadians aged 18-34 were most likely to agree (66%) and respondents living in Quebec were less likely to agree (39%) than Canadian outside of Quebec (55%).

As noted in The Mastering of a Music City, music can play a powerful role in city brand building, and also in attracting and retaining talent and investment in a city’s broader economy. In a world where talent is highly mobile, some cities are focusing on the vibrancy of their music and arts scene as a way to stand out from the competition. SOCAN’s research adds further evidence to support this observation.

Access to the spaces and places in which music can be made – from education to rehearsal to recording to performance – is also one of the seven key strategies to grow and strengthen a local music economy identified in The Mastering of a Music City.

But the relationship between residential buildings and these spaces, including live music venues, rehearsal spaces, and arts hubs, is one in which cities across the world are attempting to strike the right balance. New residential developments have, in some cases, been developed on properties formerly occupied by live venues or community arts hubs. Other venues have been threatened by rising rents, property values and taxes that do not consider the social value of these cultural spaces.

What tools are at a city’s disposal that might be, given SOCAN’s research, supported by urban Canadians?

401 Richmond, a live-work community arts hub in Toronto, was recently confronted with a property tax increase that threatened its closure. Recognizing the cultural significance of venues such as 401 Richmond, the Province of Ontario announced it was prepared to, in conjunction with the City, develop a new tax class for heritage properties.

Toronto City Councillor Joe Cressy then brought a successful motion to council to formally begin the process of establishing “Toronto’s new Culture and Creative property tax sub-class.”

Another tool adopted by cities like Melbourne, San Francisco, Montreal and London is the Agent of Change principle in land use planning. The Mastering of a Music City describes the principle as such:

“The Agent of Change Principle determines which party is required to adopt noise mitigation measures in situations of mixed land use. If the ‘agent of change’ is a new apartment building that is being built near a pre-existing music venue, the apartment building is responsible for sound attenuation. On the other hand, if the music venue is undergoing renovations and therefore is the ‘agent of change’ in the neighbourhood, it is responsible for noise mitigation.”

In Toronto, while various measures are under consideration and review, the City’s Film & Entertainment Industries’ Music Unit can now add comments to applications circulated by the Planning Division for any new development within 120 metres of an existing live music venue so that staff can identify any potential conflicts and make recommendations.

These and other policies, like reviewing noise bylaws, can go a long way in allowing live music venues and residential properties to coexist, facilitating the conditions for the vibrant arts and cultural communities that SOCAN’s research has shown are important to nearly two-thirds of urban Canadians.

This research comes as regions across Canada, including London, Vancouver, Hamilton, Windsor-Essex, Moncton, Ottawa, Barrie-Simcoe County, and more have implemented or are considering strategies to better support and grow their music ecosystems. SOCAN’s new findings provide even more evidence for the value in municipal strategies that create the environment for music ecosystems to flourish.

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Polyphonic Ground seeks input on diversity in Toronto’s live music industry

On July 19, a new initiative called Polyphonic Ground was announced, with the aim of strengthening Toronto’s culturally-diverse music industry. The initiative is spearheaded by Small World Music, and is composed of 12 Toronto live music presenters: Ashkenaz Foundation, Batuki Music Society, Good Kind Productions, iNative, Link Music Lab, Lula Music & Arts Centre, MonstrARTity Creative Community, Music Africa, Revolutions Per Minute, Small World Music Society, Uma Nota Culture, and World Fiddle Day Toronto. The collective plans to foster engagement with a monthly collaborative concert series and diverse professional development programming.

In partnership with Music Ontario, City Hall Live, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) and Music Canada Live, Polyphonic Ground will be hosting a series of conversations about diversity in the live music industry. To inform these conversations, and ensure as many voices as possible are heard, Polyphonic Ground has launched an online survey.

The survey states:

The lack of gender and cultural diversity reflected by the larger Toronto music industry has been a hot topic of late. Ad hoc conversations around these issues have taken place at recent panels and forums focused on topics such as venue closures, noise bylaws, the media etc. However, there have been few opportunities to deal with these issues head on and explore how inequities can be addressed.

Have your say and help shape these important conversations. The survey closes Friday, August 11th at 5pm.

Complete Polyphonic Ground’s Diversity & Live Music Conversation Series Survey.

For more information on Polyphonic Ground, check out the press release and follow their Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Celebrate Canada Day 2017 with free live music across the country

Photo Credit: City of Calgary

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of confederation, free and family-friendly celebrations featuring exciting musical performances are taking place all over the country.  From Deadmau5 in Halifax to Bruce Cockburn in Yellowknife, there is something for everyone this Canada Day weekend.

Toronto’s Queen’s Park Canada Day celebrations have been a tradition since 1967, and this year will feature artists like Ginger Ale and the Monowhales on top of fun activities, workshops, and meet and greets.  Exciting performances from the Barenaked Ladies, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and many more will be featured at Nathan Phillips SquareMel Lastman Square, Humber Bay Park West, and the Scarborough Civic Centre will also host amazing performances by local, national and international artists.

Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot will be joined by rising Canadian superstar Alessia Cara and many more for performances at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  Meanwhile, Canadian acts like Ruth B will be playing at Major’s Hill Park and The Lost Fingers will be featured at the Canadian Museum of History.

To be followed by a fireworks celebration, the Old Port of Montreal will feature fun activities for families and musical acts like Charles Papasoff.  At another historic site, The Forks in Winnipeg, there will be fun and free programming taking place on five stages. Musical acts include the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and headlining duo Whitehorse.  Meanwhile, Sam Roberts Band will be one of many musical acts featured at Canada Place in Vancouver.

On Riverfront Avenue, in Calgary, Tegan and Sara are returning to their hometown to join a lineup including a Multicultural Orchestra and Inuit throat singers.  Alberta Legislature in Edmonton will feature artists at both a Diversity stage, showcasing the richness of Alberta’s cultural landscape, and a Discovered Stage, featuring performances from exciting musicians including another Edmonton native, Alyssa Reid.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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“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.

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

Photos by Sarah Rix, OntarioLiveMusic.ca

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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.

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In Australia, Victorian Coalition Government announces red tape reduction reforms to boost live music sector

Today in Australia, the Victoria Coalition Government announced a series of red tape reduction reforms in an effort to boost productivity and reduce costs for businesses in the state, including reforms for live music venues.

The reforms will make it easier for venues to host live music by easing unnecessary regulations related to liquor licenses.

”The hospitality sector will see the removal of an unnecessary regulation that requires liquor licensees to apply for approval to hold alcohol-free underage concerts on licensed premises, while other processes, including those around hosting live music, will be simplified,” said acting Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan.

The main reforms affecting music include:

Under age venues : Currently licensees must obtain approval to hold alcohol-free underage and mix-aged live music events on licensed premises. This reform will remove that requirement

Small live music venues: Currently small live music venues wishing to undertake work to adapt or renovate to host live venues music attract permit and approval requirements based on the Building Code of Australia, Building Classification 9(b). This reform will simplify and reduce planning approval for change of land use for small venues seeking to host live music.

Temporary liquor licences: Currently a temporary limited liquor licence application must be lodged at least 8 weeks before an event. This reform will streamline the approval process for temporary liquor licences and examine the feasibility of introducing a notification process for repeat and low risk events run by licensees with a sound reputation.

The government has also promised to do whatever it can to implement an “agent-of-change” planning principle that would require residents who move into an area with established live music venues to foot the bill for any desired soundproofing.

Calling live music “one of Melbourne’s greatest tourism and cultural assets,’ Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the government would find a way to “give certainty” to the live music industry and its patrons.

Victoria’s State Government says the reforms were accepted following extensive consultation by Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd, who met with 25 associations, including Music Victoria .

Over a year ago, Music Canada’s report highlighting the best practices in Austin, Texas hit Melbourne’s radar prompting city officials to contact Austin to learn more about their success .

Red Tape issues persist in Canadian live music sector:

In Toronto, some examples include:

  • Ambiguous licensing requirements: in response to concerns about dance clubs, the city created a new “entertainment license” that is not supposed to apply to live music venues, and yet, numerous venues have been fined for not having one.
  • Approvals for road closures often take many months, even for festivals that have a long track record.
  • Some public spaces are governed by Transportation, others by Parks Forestry Recreation. Lines of delineation are not clear.
  • Postering bylaw is ill-conceived and poorly enforced, with little understanding by City staff and bylaw enforcement personnel.

Music Canada and our partners in the live music sector have been advocating for the reduction in red tape at all three levels of government. Federally, we remain concerned about the effect of recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program that reduce the ability of bars and restaurants to hire international performers. We were pleased to see red tape reduction in the music sector identified as a priority in a recent whitepaper from the Ontario PC party. In Toronto, the establishment of the new Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council is a significant achievement for the music community, promising an opportunity to address concerns.

Music Canada is continuing to advocate for the creation of a Music Office at Toronto City Hall, which was one of the recommendations outlined in our aforementioned report, Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth – Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas , commissioned and released by Music Canada in 2012. A Music Office would “create a valuable alignment between the City and the commercial music industry in Toronto,” the report found.

The Music Office could provide coordination across the various city departments that deal with issues relating to live music events and venues, as well as act as an Ombudsman and clearing house for music business operators. The report notes this could make a significant impact in “re-engineering the business/government interface to stimulate job creation and investment attraction,” one of key recommendations made by the Toronto Prosperity Institute’s 2011 report, Establishing The Path To Growth . The Music Office could also play a strong business development role, stimulating the growth of activity in the music sector.

The groundwork for a Music Office has already been laid; the City of Toronto recently issued a job posting for a Sector Development Officer (Music) , working in the Economic Development & Culture division.

We will share today’s news out of Australia with our government contacts, and continue to advocate for music in Canada in 2014.

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