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Tag archive: Mastering of a Music City (4)


#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



London City Council to consider two motions aimed at making the Forest City more music-friendly

Next week, City Council in London, Ontario, will consider two motions aimed at encouraging more music in the downtown core. The motions support the development of the London Music Strategy, which was unanimously supported by Council in 2014 with the goal of building London as a live music city and music tourist attraction. The Strategy has made major strides in recent years with the hiring of Cory Crossman, London’s first Music Industry Development Officer, and the subsequent launch of the London Music Office. The Office recently launched the London Music Census, which will assess London’s music assets as well as barriers to growth.

The first music motion before council would allow a temporary exemption of a by-law contained in the City of London Special Events and Procedures – Section 13, which states that amplified music cannot go later than 11pm, with a 15 minute grace period. The motion, put forward by Tourism London, asks Council to allow shows on September 8, 9, and 10, to go later than 11pm but no later than 1am. This would permit outdoor events during Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, which London will host for the first time this fall. The pair of events are expected to directly benefit the local economy with the booking of approximately 2,000 hotel room nights and an anticipated economic impact of $6-8 million dollars. The motion was supported by London’s Community and Protective Services Committee on July 18th.

The second music motion before council is File Z-8625, a pilot project which temporarily amends Zoning By-law Z-1 to permit amplified music and dancing on existing patios in the Downtown Business Improvement Area and the Old East Village. The temporary amendment would run from August 1 to September 30, 2016. The motion was brought forward by the London Music Office, via the Culture Office, and was supported by the London Planning and Environment Committee last month.

“London is a diverse and eclectic music community that houses many great venues. Current by-law restricts amplified entertainment on commercial patios whether that is a radio, TV or musician singing,” said Cory Crossman, London’s Music Industry Development Officer. “To best serve the community, the Music Office wishes to launch a pilot project focused on establishing best practices to work forward from. This project is temporary and focused on creating practical solutions for amplified music on patios at restaurants, bars and dedicated venues.”

Music Canada research has shown that seemingly minor adjustments to municipal policies can paid major dividends in the growth of a city’s music scene. The Mastering of a Music City, which identifies best practices for growing a city’s music scene, cites an example from the State of New South Wales, which eliminated a special license needed by venues to host live music in 2009. Music-friendly policies allow music and culture to flourish in downtown areas. Creating a vibrant music scene not only brings economic benefits in the form of business activity and tourism, it adds a ‘cool’ factor to a city that can accelerate other benefits such as attracting and retaining investment and talent. For example, Montreal has invested heavily in its cultural district, the Quartier des Spectacles, which hosts over 30 venues and even more festivals, which, according to officials with the city of Montreal’s cultural office, has increased the quality of life for those living and working there.

The two motions before Council are indicative of the continued growth of the London Music Strategy, and a sign that the London Music Office, Tourism London, and the London Arts Council are committed ensuring the Forest City is a music-friendly city.


Ben Purkiss Design wins Gold at 2016 Muse Creative Awards for ‘Mastering of a Music City’ report

Congratulations to Ben Purkiss Design, who won Gold in the Muse Creative Awards’ Annual Report category for his design of Music Canada & IFPI’s The Mastering of a Music City report. The announcement was made this past weekend by the Muse Creative Awards, which is an international competition for creative professionals who “inspire through concept, writing or design, whether through traditional or electronic media.” The 2016 Awards featured more than 1,200 submissions from 33 countries around the world.Gold Award Site Big

Purkiss designed the cover art, layout, and infographics for The Mastering of a Music City from scratch, creating a cohesive look for the 100+ page report. The report presents a roadmap to help local authorities, businesses, community groups, and the creative sector capitalize on the potential of music to build, grow and strengthen their cities.

“I had the incredible opportunity to work with IFPI and Music Canada on their publication Mastering of a Music City: Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why It’s Worth Pursuing,” said Purkiss. “IFPI and Music Canada are those clients every designer dreams about; they EXPECT you to push your creative boundaries. It’s a very challenging, yet incredible experience that I am very grateful to have had.

“When I started the initial research ‘phase’ of this project, I looked for inspiration wherever I could find it; from movie intros, online ads and the far reaching depths of online portfolios,” he continued. “I wanted to create a visual masterpiece that challenged who I was as a designer and my abilities to use the software I work with every day. It certainly did not disappoint.

“I quickly discovered what was to be my main source of inspiration – clouds. Clouds are ever changing and evolving – they can hide something beautiful, or in this case, elements within a design. I took that idea to create layer upon layer of design elements – mixing colours and objects to create the overall visual cues. This was unbelievably challenging yet incredibly rewarding.”

The stunning design is a big part of the reason that the report has been so well received around the world, said Amy Terrill, Music Canada’s Executive Vice President, and lead author of the report. Since its release in June 2015, The Mastering of a Music City has been cited by an array of cities around the globe, including Sheffield, United Kingdom, Sydney, Australia, and Bogota, Columbia. To date, more than 800 printed reports have been distributed at more than thirty presentations to conferences and business association meetings in locations such as Pemberton, British Columbia, Columbus, Ohio, Aarhus, Denmark, and Brighton, United Kingdom.

“Winning a Muse Award was completely unexpected for me,” said Purkiss. “I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet, but it’s a gratifying experience knowing my work is truly recognized and rewarded.  I’ve never given myself much credit (let’s face it, most people are their own worst critics) but this is really showing that hard work can, and does, pay off – especially when you are given creative liberties from clients like IFPI and Music Canada who value the work of all artists.”

The Muse Creative Awards is administered by International Awards Associate Inc., and judged by a panel of internationally-recognized creative professionals. The panelists identified “the most innovative and creative concepts, the strongest executions, and the highest quality in messaging,” said an MCA release.

Photos of Ben’s design are available on his Behance page, and the full report is available for download in our Resources section.


Lockouts a Losing Strategy in Sydney, New Report Finds


A new report released by the Live Music Office of Australia and APRA-AMCOS (the Australian organization who collects and distributes royalties to creators) has proven that the lockout laws that were implemented in Sydney by the New South Wales (NSW) state government in February 2014 have proven to be very costly to the live music community and artists in the city.

These laws prevent people from entering a venue in the Central Business District (CBD) after 1:30 am and mandate a 3 am “last call”. The laws have been blamed for the closure of many venues, and called a blight on the reputation of Sydney’s live music scene.

The report provides strong evidence of the negative impacts the lockouts have had on the local music community:

  • Ticket sales by live performance venues in the CBD have fallen 40% since the laws were implemented;
  • Venues spent 15% less on live performers in the same period.

The lockouts were a major topic of discussion at a round table meeting held in Sydney last fall in which I was asked to present the findings of The Mastering of a Music City.

Members of the music community, including venue owners and promoters, as well as representatives of both state and local governments gathered at Sydney Town Hall to hear about our research, the best practice from around the world, and to come up with a local action plan.

John Wardle of the Live Music Office in Australia has called on the NSW government to establish a regulatory roundtable, as has been done effectively in the states of Victoria and South Australia. Certainly, our global research shows that music industry advisory groups make it easier for governments to engage with the music community – they can act as a “focus group” that can provide comment on existing and proposed regulations and build consensus. They also provide a forum for the music community to raise concerns. Ultimately, these advisory groups create an opportunity for two-way dialogue between cities and their music communities.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government has announced a review of the lockout laws which, from an outsider’s view, seems like a good sign.

John Wardle of the Live Music Office is one of the speakers who will be coming to Toronto for The Mastering of a Music City Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week. John will talk about the various policy options available to cities and states that are looking to improve the viability and sustainability of their live music scenes. We look forward to learning more about the challenges and opportunities in Sydney as well as other cities in Australia.


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