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Ontario Music Fund launched to help support and create jobs, and position the province as a leading destination to record and perform

The Ontario Music Fund was officially launched today, which will help support create jobs in Ontario’s music industry, and position the province as a leading destination to record and perform. The announcement was made by the Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, at Revolution Recordings studio in Toronto. 

As per the release, the new fund will support Ontario-based music companies and music production and distribution through four streams: 

  • Music Company Development – Helps Ontario-based music companies increase recording, production and marketing, which boosts sales of music and supports job creation.
  • Music Industry Development – Provides support for initiatives such as digital innovation, music training and new approaches to increase home-grown music exports.
  • Music Futures– Helps leverage Ontario’s diverse and emerging music industry by supporting small music companies and artist entrepreneurs, for example those who create music and also handle the business and promotion of their music.
  • Live Music– Helps increase the number of live music events in the province and generates more opportunities for new and emerging local artists — boosting tourism and growing local economies.

“Our government is proud to partner with our music industry through the new Ontario Music Fund that will capitalize on our infrastructure, critical mass and competitive edge to drive economic growth and jobs,” said Minister Chan. “Home to the largest and most diverse music industry in the nation, we are committed to amplifying our success on the world stage and place Ontario on the map as a cultural and creative capital.”

“Music is a superpower that’s primed and ready to perform for Ontario. It’s a smart investment given the globally competitive advantage we have in the recorded and live music sectors,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Research has shown that targeted support for music will pay off with enormous dividends including job growth, increased investment, tourism and the transformation of Ontario into one of the recording capitals of the world. As we in the music community like to say, music can help.”

Applications for the Ontario Music Fund are open now, and can be made through the OMDC Online Application Portal at https://apply.omdc.on.ca/. Applications may be submitted on an ongoing basis until January 31, 2014.

At today’s event, Kim Cooke, owner of Revolution Recordings, introduced Minister Chan, saying it’s “important to acknowledge Minister Chan and his staff. In tough times, with a major workload and competing demands, he has fought hard for the cultural sector and embraced the Ontario Music Fund file with vigour.” OMFCooke

“Ontario has proven itself as a powerhouse competitor with other jurisdictions across a wide range of creative industries. The Ontario Music Fund will help us to build an even stronger music industry in the province and to ensure that our music continues to reach global audiences,” said Kevin Shea, Chair, Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).

OMFShea
Artists Kardinal Offishall and Ladies of the Canyon were on hand for today’s announcement, as well as a wide range of industry stakeholders, including representatives from Music Canada, the Canadian Independent Music Association, The JUNO Awards, Polaris Music Prize, Music Managers Forum, and all of Canada’s major record labels. OMFChanKardinall

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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.

QUOTES:

“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

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For more information:
Amy Terrill – Vice President Public Affairs, Music Canada
aterrill@musiccanada.com 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.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Analyzing Premier Wynne’s Inaugural Throne Speech’s Impact on Music

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.

After having gone MIA for a few weeks in terms of my contributions to the Rambler, I am back with an analysis of Premier Wynne’s inaugural throne speech.

The last few months have been good ones for music in Ontario. Under the leadership of Minister Michael Chan, the Ontario government launched an ambitious plan to turn Ontario into one of THE global destination for music tourism. And with good reason. Music tourism is Ontario’s hidden, un-accessed super power, fueled by our live music scene. This is timely and visionary because the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, just this week, identified Canada’s poor performance in the tourism sector as one of our top 10 barriers to competitiveness. You can read about Ontario’s plan here.

So what do we know about Ontario? We know from our economic impact study that there are more than 7400 employed in live music in Canada, and we have estimated that over HALF of them are here. We know that we have one of the largest, most diverse music scenes in the world. That gives us a built in advantage. We know from the Discovering Ontario report that tourism is the largest employer of young people in this province. We know from a report by the Ontario Arts Council that 9.5 million overnight tourists to Ontario participated in arts and culture activities during their trips in 2010. For almost half of them music was the motivation for their trip. It is also a fact that arts and culture tourists stay longer and spend more. And that’s without a coordinated marketing plan. Imagine what we could do if we had a plan and devoted even modest resources to this? Well, that plan in underway NOW.

Last Friday I was honoured to have been invited to Premier Wynne’s first “Jobs Roundtable”. Meeting participants were asked to share their insights and recommendations on what the government and businesses can do together to create jobs – particularly for youth – in the immediate term. I had three specific, achievable recommendations in the areas of tax credits, music tourism and music education. All of which seemed to have been very well received.

Then today came the Throne Speech which included, likely for the first time in history, a mention of music. While the reference was muted, it nonetheless came in a key economic section and in the same breathe as sectors that have long enjoyed powerhouse status in Ontario, automotive and agriculture. Here is the reference:

“[The Government] will look to stimulate productivity across all sectors, from automotive and agriculture to film, music, and digital media; from small business to start-ups and social entrepreneurs.”

The proposals we have put in front of the Government would help to do exactly this, and in an achievable, manageable way. Ontario’s music cluster is ripe for growth. Over 80 percent of the economic activity of the sound recording industry in Canada takes place here. This sector is one of Ontario’s competitive advantages, as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has noted. Revenues for the Ontario sound recording industry totaled $408 million in 2010. Ontario has not yet fully capitalized on the strategic advantage it enjoys in the global music industry. Targeted provincial support is needed. According to an independent analysis, strategic productivity and jobs-focused supports for Ontario’s sound recording industry would trigger 60 million dollars in additional spending, generate 1,300 new jobs and result in almost $300 million in new economic output. This proposal was highlighted in the Ontario Chamber’s Emerging Stronger 2.0 document.

While music was not specifically mentioned again, arts and culture was highlighted as one of the aspects of our society that makes Ontario a great place to live:

“It will prove once again that Ontario is a great place to work and live, but also to visit, to invest in, to believe in. It will celebrate our hard work, our ingenuity, our diversity, our arts and culture, and protect the beauty of our natural environment.”

And this is the message that we have delivered repeatedly to all levels of government for the past year or more. Arts and culture and in particular music, serve to both attract and retain talented people. This in turn has a significant impact on business recruitment, retention, and expansion, as well as local entrepreneurship. An economic plan that stimulates the music community will in turn help to stimulate the economy at large. The Throne Speech noted that creative jobs are in every region of Ontario noting as an example that “We have authors and artists and actors in Timmins…”

On the subject of education, the Throne Speech noted that:

“Our young people will experience a world of which we can now only dream, and we must all work together to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate tools for their time. They must be literate in the languages of tomorrow; encouraged to pursue the paths of their choosing and prepared for the challenges ahead. We must emphasize critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and an entrepreneurial spirit.”

What is encouraging here is that while not specifically mentioned, music education is widely regarded as a key component in developing young minds and preparing them for careers in not just music, but in science, technology and mathematics. But as I pointed out at the Jobs Roundtable, music education is Ontario’s abandoned “game changer”. There are many people reading this who will understand me when I point out that music has a transformative power to open minds, to enhance collaborative skills and to change lives. Highly successful people in various fields, including Commander Chris Hadfield, have spoken of the important role music education played in preparing them for their career. It should not be discarded and lost in the shuffle. Music Canada recently announced a major donation to music education through our partners at MusiCounts. A $250,000 dollar grant to acquire musical instruments for at risk music programmes. You can read about it here.

Our hope, therefore, is that this government will easily grasp the role music can play in helping to achieve its educational objectives. We will certainly stand ready to help.

All in all, another great day for music in Ontario.

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

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Music Tourism – Cranking it up a Notch

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.

Music tourism is big business and represents a major opportunity for Toronto and Ontario. This is one of the primary conclusions from Music Canada’s study on accelerating the music industry in Toronto that we released in June this year. And people are taking notice.

In 2011, Music Canada commissioned two landmark studies. The first was designed to estimate the economic impact of the recorded music and live performance sectors in Canada. Music Canada retained the services of PwC to perform the former study and the Titan Music group to perform the latter.

The impact study was released publicly at our Annual General Meeting on June 13th in Toronto. Then, the following day, at NXNE, we released Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas. The two studies were designed to work together and to afford for the first time an understanding of the importance of recorded music and live performance to the economy of Ontario and, in particular, Toronto.

This is familiar history by now. What may not be known is the extent to which these studies have gained traction in the music community and at all levels of government. While the role our community plays in weaving the cultural fabric of our country is well understood in the general population and is understood by the federal government and to some extent at the provincial level, the importance of music as an economic driver in Canada was virtually unknown. Assistance was provided to the music community, not because it was thought to be an important economic actor, but because it was “the right thing to do”, because it was thought possible in this way to safeguard a distinctive Canadian culture. No government ever thought to assist the music community in the way, say, the film and the video game sectors are supported – because it is a large, vibrant, desirable economic actor. It’s the difference between looking at music as “art” or as “commerce” – a key difference noted in our second study between Toronto and Austin. In Toronto, and indeed in Ontario and Canada, the tendency is to look at music as “art”.

Well, the PwC study established beyond a doubt that music was about high quality jobs, largely focused in the younger demographic. It proved beyond a doubt that music had an economic impact and not just a cultural one. This is an impact that, by the way, extends far beyond our borders. I would argue that Canada, Ontario and Toronto have failed utterly (to their collective detriment) to recognize the importance of music to the cultural and economic cocktail that makes up “brand Canada”. The cultural and economic one-two punch of music makes it more than a lightweight, more than a middleweight, it makes music a HEAVYWEIGHT. Understanding this has helped us to bring music in from the “policy maker’s cold”; it has helped us to gain respect for our community; it has put us on the map.

And speaking of maps, one of the more stunning conclusions of the PwC study was that the majority of economic activity in the music sector is concentrated in Ontario and particularly the GTA: over 80% of it. For a province and a city desperate to differentiate themselves from other regions, a healthy and in the case of live performance, booming, music sector represents a godsend. Aside from the sort of intangible benefits that a thriving music sector can lend to a city (as so amply demonstrated in the writing of Richard Florida), aside from the jobs it can provide to enthusiastic young people, there is yet another aspect which has gone completely unnoticed and undervalued: music tourism.

The reason we commissioned our unprecedented “tale of two cities”, comparing the music scenes in Toronto and Austin, was to demonstrate exactly how valuable an asset music can be to a local economy. The Austin study demonstrated in a graphic manner what a community like Austin can do when it harnesses the economic potential of music: it is worth hundreds of millions to the economy, possibly billions.

Beginning in the late 1980s, and founded largely on two principal assets, Austin City Limits and the SXSW music festival, Austin developed a plan and worked what amounts to an economic miracle. The economic impact on the economy was astonishing, first measured at around 600 million dollars, it rapidly almost TRIPLED. Austin began marketing itself as the Live Music Capital of the World and ensured that visitors don’t go home without experiencing live music.

The result? Nearly half of all economic activity generated by the commercial music sector in Austin is music tourism – about $800 million in 2010. Austin’s two largest music events, South by Southwest Film, Interactive and Music Conference, and Austin City Limits Festival, each grew by $25 million per year from 2005 to 2010. A whopping 20% of the economic activity generated in ALL tourism in Austin is attributed to music tourism.

Now, imagine what Toronto and Ontario could do….if they only understood the nature of the asset and had a plan. As the study’s authors pointed out, Toronto starts from a place far ahead of where Austin is even now. Toronto has the 4th largest number of live music establishments per capita in North America; we have world class recording studios; we produce international stars who have received their start in the Toronto music scene, creating a bevy of musical “landmarks” for the avid fan; Toronto is home to the head offices of all three major labels and 16 of the largest domestic independent labels. Any night of the week you can find music of every genre, from every Diaspora of the world – performed at famous, brilliantly equipped venues such as the Horseshoe Tavern and the Molson Amphitheatre. Toronto is, without a doubt, the music capital of Canada and one of the great music centres of the world.

People already travel to Toronto to see concerts, festivals and to experience the myriad of diverse live music events the city offers. This organic activity has created a strong foundation. It’s time to crank it up a notch or two.

It’s time to INVITE people to our city to experience live music.

This idea has galvanized two levels of government. At the City of Toronto, the Economic Development Committee, with strong leadership from Councillors Thompson, Colle and Carroll, received the Austin study with enthusiasm, sending it to staff with a demand that they bring forward recommendations. Support has been voiced across the political spectrum at council and right to the Mayor’s office. At the Provincial level, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, The Honourable Michael Chan, who seems to be remaking himself as the “music minister”, similarly sought ideas from his staff about how to harness the power of music tourism. My impression is that at both levels of government, the uptake is moving at near light speed. Both City and Province are behaving in an exemplary, entrepreneurial and business-like manner.

One very concrete example of our progress can be found here.  For the first time Ontario Tourism has undertaken a specific focus on music. Their fall travel guide highlights live music events in Ontario – music festivals, concerts and clubs get profiled beside some of the more traditional features like fall driving trips and wine and culinary experiences. Though surprisingly slower on the uptake, Toronto Tourism seems to be recognizing the potential as well. In a recent interview on Here and Now, Andrew Weir of Tourism Toronto mentioned the music scene as a key attraction for overseas visitors.

Toronto and Ontario have one of the most active and most diverse live music markets in the world. It’s time we started telling someone. The new, global digital environment has changed the rules of the game for all of us. In the music industry, we need a new industrial strategy. Music tourism represents an enormous opportunity to stimulate the live music sector, generating more activity, gigs and dollars, and thereby creating a healthier, more vibrant music industry for all. Our country’s musicians are under unprecedented pressure, it is increasingly difficult for them to make a living as professional musicians. One way we can help is to attract tourists to Ontario and Toronto….it could be the difference between two paying gigs and one, or one instead of none. The treasure is here. Let’s bring the world to Ontario to find it. We are home to one of the great musical wonders of the world.

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

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Canadian Recording Industry an Important Wealth Generator and Employer: Report

Toronto, June 13, 2012: The Canadian Recording Industry makes a significant contribution to Canada’s economy with a vast majority of the activity taking place in Ontario, according to a new report by PwC for Music Canada.

The analysis examines the spending of major and independent music companies in Canada and estimates their impact on the GDP as $240 million in 2010 with a staggering 81% of the activity taking place in Ontario. This generates $37 million dollars in government revenues in Ontario alone.

“This is music to my ears,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Ontario is home to gifted professionals – from musicians, to producers to record labels that promote our province’s unique culture while generating highly skilled jobs that strengthen our economy. The McGuinty Government is proud to partner with our music sector, solidifying Ontario’s reputation as a competitive creative market and a national industry leader.”

Quebec is the next largest market, and with the Atlantic and Prairie regions, accounts for about 32% of the independent companies’ spending and 12% of the major companies’ spending.

Thousands of high paying jobs are supported by record companies in Canada with 3300 direct and indirect jobs across the country, and roughly 7400 more in the live performance sector.
“The recording industry in Canada is providing highly skilled, high-paying jobs today, even after a long period of contraction due to the effects of piracy,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “In Ontario alone, our study shows that large and small recording companies have created more than 2600 jobs and this doesn’t even include the broader music sector of artists, musicians, live performance and retail for instance. At an average wage of $60,100, those working for record companies in Ontario are making well above the average wage of industries across the province.”

The report was released today at the Annual General Meeting of Music Canada, the trade association representing the major music companies in Canada. The report was prepared by PwC. An executive summary, and full report with detailed industry analysis, quantitative regional analysis and source tables is available at www.musiccanada.com/research.aspx.

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For more information:

Amy Terrill – Vice President Public Affairs, Music Canada
aterrill@musiccanada.com 647-963-6044

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada, namely EMI Music Canada, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also provides certain 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.

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