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Tag archive: Music Cities (51)


Vancouver City Council to Consider Music Friendly Policies

The Commodore Ballroom
Earlier this week, a motion to explore options for increasing city support for music and musicians was brought before Vancouver’s City Council. The motion was raised by Councillor Heather Deal and was referred to the City’s Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities.

“Vancouver is home to a vibrant, multicultural music ecology,” the motion reads, calling attention to the numerous musicians, live music venues, independent music producers, and recording studios which call the city home. It also recognizes the recent announcement by the Government of BC which will see $15 million in funding towards the creation of a BC Music Fund.

The motion proposes that city staff explore options which would make the city more music and musician-friendly. These include:

  • creating a working group focused on music,
  • advocating for and supporting music education,
  • exploring a multi-city music alliance with other cities with a strong music community,
  • working with Tourism Vancouver and Business Improvement Areas to identify and support tourism opportunities,
  • seeking further opportunities to leverage city-owned properties for use by artists, including musicians,
  • continuing to reduce unnecessary processes and regulations which affect music production and performance.

The Downtown Vancouver BIA was instrumental in sparking the conversation regarding city music policies, by bringing together Vancouver’s business and music community, as well as City staff and Councillors Elizabeth Ball, Heather Deal, and Adriane Carr, for a discussion on music cities earlier this month. Music Canada’s Graham Henderson spoke at the event regarding the role cities can play in incubating music scenes, and presented findings from Music Canada’s The Mastering of a Music City report, which outlines a roadmap that communities of all sizes can follow to realize the full potential of their music economy, as well as our new report, BC’s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity, which highlights British Columbia’s wealth of talented artists and music assets and the factors that have put these assets at risk.

The report, citing in-depth interviews with more than 100 individuals in BC’s music sector, details the numerous benefits that a vibrant music economy, alongside supportive city policy, can bring. These benefits are not limited to quality of life and cultural development, but include economic diversification, the attraction and retention of talent in other industries, and music tourism.


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 Cities article featured in Huffington Post

Music Cities bannerWhat is music’s place in our heritage? How important is its preservation? In Making Music History Work For The Present, Music Canada’s first article published on Huffington Post Canada, Amy Terrill (VP Public Affairs) discusses music’s importance in honouring a city’s cultural heritage as well as ensuring a healthy and vibrant future, citing specific examples from Music Cities around the world like London, Nashville, New Orleans, and Toronto.

For further information on the topic of Music Cities, you can download Music Canada and IFPI’s 2015 report The Mastering Of A Music City.


Music City Focus comes to Melbourne

The first ever Melbourne Music Symposium, which takes place later this week, will feature a presentation by Music Canada’s Amy Terrill on The Mastering of a Music City report.

Terrill is one of three keynote speakers during a sold-out full-day symposium that will gather key elected officials, staff and music community leaders, as well as some of the preeminent thinkers on music strategy from around Australia.  The day will include four workshops designed to produce tangible outcomes for Melbourne as it continues to set a gold standard when it comes to engaging the local music community in the development of comprehensive music strategies.

The day will begin with an address by The Right Honourable Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and end with closing comments by Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of Arts and Culture Portfolio.

In addition to the symposium, Terrill will participate in the Face the Music conference which immediately follows in Melbourne, as well as meetings in Sydney.

For more information on Melbourne’s Music Symposium, read here.

For more information about Sydney’s Face the Music, read here.


London UK Tackles Failing Music Venues

Today in London, one of the world’s most prominent Music Cities, Mayor Boris Johnson made an historic announcement in hopes of stemming the threats posed against live music venues in the city.

As described in The Mastering of a Music City, Mayor Johnson established a Music Venues Taskforce earlier this year that was chaired by Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust. The task force has paved the way for a commitment by the City of London to a number of key policies described and recommended in our report, including:

  • The Agent of Change principle which has been effectively used in Melbourne and Montreal;
  • The London Music Development Board, an advisory board with broad representation from the music community and key public sector departments;
  • A champion for the night-time economy; and,
  • A pro-music planning approach with such things as a Culture and Planning Guide that provides ideas as to how planning policy can protect venues and cultural spaces, and an upcoming symposium with developers.

In addition, the Mayor’s announcement says that his office “will continue to work closely with local authorities, developers and the music industry to encourage a pro-culture approach, particularly in areas where there are music zones and clusters for example Camden, Denmark Street, Hackney and Soho.

The Mayor’s Venues Taskforce conducted a census of the live music venues in the city and found that 35% had been lost since 2007. The Mayor’s press release notes the importance of venues as incubators of talent, and drivers of music tourism. Musicians Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran also commented on the announcement, reinforcing the importance of the availability of spaces for new talent as they hone their skills and develop an audience.

We’re pleased that The Mastering of a Music City has been helpful in this exercise, but the real work has been done by the members of the task force and local advocates like Shain Shapiro of the Music Cities Convention and Tim Arnold of Save Soho. Congratulations! A lot is at stake in London, a great Music City where artists from around the world go to perform.


Columbus, Ohio: Percolating Ideas for a Music City

Creativity is practically flowing in the streets of Columbus: from artists and musicians to business leaders and city agencies, everyone is walking to an up-tempo beat in this city of more than 800,000.


During the Independents’ Day Festival, a local music, arts and food experience located in the East Franklinton neighbourhood, the city’s newest cultural hub, I participated in a discussion about an effort to build a Music City. The “How To Build A Music City” initiative has been spearheaded by the Columbus Songwriters Association but has quickly gained the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the city’s tourism agency, Experience Columbus, as well as roughly 100 volunteers. Signs look promising that the initiative will soon receive city funding. At the helm is organizer Joey Hendrickson, who leads the initiative with passion and drive, and a willingness to learn from other cities.

While the initiative is in its early days, some of the program ideas that have broad appeal in the community are live music venue support, honouring “Columbus Sound” and history, a music tech incubator, and an annual music conference.

Columbus impressed me with its investment in creative spaces, a key component for a successful Music City. While that hasn’t translated yet into the much aspired-to music tech incubator, or live music venue support, the city has definitely figured out how to leverage public-private partnerships in order to stimulate creative growth. The East Franklinton area is a case in point. Once a rundown area of the city, just a short walk from City Hall and the State Legislature, East Franklinton is now brimming with creative activity.

I toured two large factories, one that has been converted into artist studios, event and performance spaces and a restaurant. The “How to Build a City” event was held in this building, immediately followed by a music performance. 



The second factory has been renovated to house what is apparently the largest “makerspace” in the U.S. The Idea Foundry. The Idea Foundry consists of more than 20,000 square feet of space divided into work areas by discipline, including woodworking, metalworking, blacksmithing. It has over 200 members who pay a monthly fee to use the machinery and tools, and who also gain access to lower priced workshops and training.


Each of these co-op spaces was created with a combination of public and private investment; according to Hendrickson, this is typical of Columbus’ approach to revitalizing neighbourhoods, and has earned the city much recognition.

With built-in affordable living and working spaces for artists of all descriptions, East Franklinton seems less likely to fall victim to the often-quoted sequence of gentrified neighbourhoods that we reference in The Mastering of a Music City: rundown area; artists and musicians come in, make it ‘cool’; rents go up and artists and musicians can’t afford to stay there any longer.

If the How to Build a Music City initiative is predicated by this same balanced approach, I am confident it will be very successful.


Music Cities: Australia Puts a Dollar Figure on Live Music

A recently produced study of live music in Australia makes a thoughtful contribution to the discussion around the importance of a vibrant music scene. The Economic & Cultural Value of Live Music was released earlier this month by the University of Tasmania and Australia’s Live Music Office, as well as partnering organizations, Creative City Sydney, the City of Melbourne, and the Government of South Australia.

Big Benefits

Tjintu Desert Band2The headline in this report is that for every dollar spent on live music in Australia, three dollars of benefits are driven back into the community. This cost-benefit analysis framework makes this study unique. It tries to capture the economic benefits of live music under three categories: commercial, civic, and individual.

As a starting point, the report demonstrates that the usual way of measuring live music benefits (by using information gathered from producers of live music) captures less than half of the real value. Producers can report on such things as ticket sales and food and alcohol sales. However, data is often limited to activities like festivals or licensed live music venues, often not capturing the full scope of live music presentation. In addition, according to the report, “producers are unlikely to be able to reliably account for the secondary markets that exist within their venues, such as ticket scalping and merchandise sales.” Further, this initial spending also triggers things like accommodation and travel expenditures, and according to the study, things like memberships and subscriptions, clothing, phone and internet.

For that reason, in addition to interviewing producers of live music, the researchers surveyed consumers.

When all of these categories of value are calculated, the researchers estimate that live music delivers benefits of $15.7B to the Australian economy.

A Spotlight on Live Music Capital 

Tjintu Desert BandOne the areas explored in depth in this report is the impact live music has on commonly accepted forms of capital: physical, human, social and symbolic.

Physical capital refers to the physical assets that are created by the live music scene. There is a large list including performance spaces, rehearsal spaces, training institutions, production companies, touring companies, acoustic manufacturers and media. The report also includes the “neighbourhoods where musicians and other creative individuals choose to live.”

Human capital refers to the knowledge and skills, education and training, and physical and mental wellbeing that results from live music.

The community benefit most commonly identified by both consumers and producers of music is social capital. To put it simply, live music encourages a sense of community. In Toronto, people reported observing the same thing during Panamania events this summer.

Finally, symbolic capital is the value of being known or recognized. This can apply to individuals as well as regions, cities, and venues. In The Mastering of a Music City, we reference the ways in which a music scene contributes to a city’s brand or identity.

Putting an Economic Value on Live Music Capital

Tina Harrod_Marble BarThe commercial benefits were valued at $AU2.1B. This is a combination of profits achieved by producers of live music after the net costs are subtracted; a productivity calculation for those businesses, and an additional productivity calculation for those consuming music – essentially, the degree to which live music consumption made them more productive at work.

Civic benefits include the number of jobs generated by live music in Australia. This study estimates that 65,000 full-time and part-time jobs have been created, valued at $AU2.2B, as well as the taxation revenue of $AU950.6M. The job calculation is based on consumer spending modelling and the authors note it is very conservative which will explain why it differs from other studies in Australia.

The individual benefits are calculated to include both the actual spending by consumers, as well as what they would have been willing to pay. The actual market value of what consumers spent on live music was estimated at $AU5B with an additional surplus value of $AU5.4B.

Live music delivers strong ROI

Tina Harrod_Marble Bar2In order to assess the true meaning or value of live music, the researchers compare this net benefit ($15.7Billion) to the cost of inputs ($AU5B) in order to come up with the benefit-cost equation of 3:1 –for every dollar invested in live music, more than three are returned.

This report is the most comprehensive valuation of live music I have come across. So often we speak generally about the social and cultural benefits of live music but seldom do we assign them an economic value. In trying to do this, the researchers bring a greater understanding to the multitude of benefits of live music and provide a strong argument for continued government investment in Australia. The Live Music Office in Australia was also a valuable contributor to The Mastering of a Music City.

Later this year, I will be speaking about our report at the Melbourne Music Symposium, an invitation-only event, along with Robert Kronenburg, Roscoe Chair of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, and Producer and Musician James Black.


Music Cities: Mannheim Music Model

There are Music Cities dotting the globe – from Toronto to Melbourne to Liverpool. Music Canada has spent the last year researching best practices from 22 of them. From musician-friendly practices, to the creation of designated cultural districts, to affordable housing incentives, there are many ways that we can encourage music in the heart of the city. In this series, we’ll be profiling countless cities around the globe and what they’re doing that’s unique to foster the principles found in our report. In our last post, we visited Pemberton, BC. In this edition, we’re thrilled to highlight our friends from Mannheim, Germany!

Mannheim, a city of 320,000 in the southwest region of Germany, has embraced the creative economy, putting it on equal footing with the city’s traditional manufacturing sector. A top-down strategy, initiated by city officials, has identified 11 sub-sectors of the creative economy. Music is one of the largest and according to Matthias Rauch, the city’s music cluster manager, the strategy has succeeded in positioning Mannheim as a centre for competency and knowledge in the music sector.

Rauch recently visited Music Canada and we arranged for a meeting with a number of Toronto city officials, community leaders and members of the Toronto Music Advisory Council where he described the Mannheim Music Model. The model combines infrastructure investment and programming support. As a top-down strategy, it has been heavily influenced by the Lord Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz, who was recently reelected to a second term, boding well for its continuation.

Toller Austausch zu den Themen Clustering, Music City und Startup- Förderung mit den großartigen KollegInnen von Music…

Posted by Clustermanagement Musikwirtschaft on Thursday, July 30, 2015


Main Pillars: Young Talent and Culture Support; Education; Start-up Support; and Cluster Management

The first pillar is managed by the culture office at the city and includes funding for individuals and bands as well as a two year coaching program for artists selected by a jury. The office also has a tour bus available for rent at lower than market value.

The main thrust of the education pillar is the Popakademie which is a public/private partnership that provides both bachelor and master programs on pop culture and the music business. This institution complements the existing music education programming available in Mannheim, including the University of Music & Performing Arts.

The third pillar consists of the business start-up centre comprised of two buildings (Music Park 1 and 2) which currently house 250 employees in 80 enterprises. 6000 square feet is available for rent and co-working space. As a start-up centre, companies are limited to eight years in residence and the music parks also create the opportunity for interaction among the companies through a café and other social spaces.

The cluster management office is the fourth pillar. It is the contact agency for all professionals in the music industry whom it brings together through a series of working groups based on genre, as well as the Entrepreneurship Club. This club puts creative innovators together with potential investors.

How does it measure up?

All of this activity is focused in an area of Mannheim which was once known more for crime and drug use. The Popakademie and Music Park buildings, as well as other creative centres, have remodeled the Jungbusch area into a hub for the creative industries. Live events take place in the area including the city’s largest festival, Time Warp. The city has now set its sights on the Taylor Barracks, a former military barracks, for a new creative hub with production studios, clubs, and affordable housing.

The strategy has received a great deal of support from outside Mannheim. In the last 12 years, €42 million has been invested into the creative industries program, with a portion of that funding coming from the European Union. It was this strategy that led in large part to Mannheim receiving the UNESCO City of Music designation.

Measured against our research, Mannheim certainly is a “music-friendly” and “musician-friendly” city. Rauch says that the strategy has improved the atmosphere for music in the city and led to increased activity overall, although he points out that there remain some gaps including a few of the rungs of the “venue ladder” that is needed to provide artists with performance spaces at each stage of their career. He also admits that Mannheim has yet to adequately leverage its music program for tourism.

For other cities, Mannheim provides some tangible examples of creative hubs and accelerators, and an interesting model for a post-secondary education institution dedicated to pop music and the music business.

Mannheim’s success reinforces a number of the themes that appear in The Mastering of a Music City – the single point of contact, for instance, for music, and focus on training for musicians and music professionals have all been instrumental in making the city grow. If you haven’t had a chance to read our full report, you can find it here. Want to share your story of how your organization is helping to foster a music city? Contact us – we’d love to hear from you!


Discussing Building a Scene / Maintaining a Music City at the Summit at Pemberton Music Festival

There are music cities dotting the globe – from Toronto to Melbourne to Liverpool. Music Canada has spent the last year researching best practices from 22 of them on how to foster a music city. From musician-friendly practices, to the creation of designated cultural districts, to affordable housing incentives, there are many ways that we can encourage music in the heart of the city. In this series, we’ll be profiling our travels to various music cities worldwide to present our report, The Mastering of a Music City. We’ll also be featuring countless cities around the globe and what they’re doing that’s unique to foster the principles found in our report.IMG_0830

First stop: The Summit – a gathering of leaders from various music cities at the Pemberton Music Festival in British Columbia!

Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre

In the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre, an inspiring museum dedicated to telling the stories of the Squamish and Lil’Wat First Nations, about 200 people gathered to hear presentations by music leaders from Washington, New York City, Los Angeles, Adelaide, Vancouver and Toronto. We delivered our stories in the Japanese Pecha Kucha style: 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. They were both personal and analytical. I was privileged to provide highlights of The Mastering of a Music City.

Drawn from their personal experience, the presentation by Katrina Jones and Adam Nanji of The Belle Game was a definite highlight. With a clear sense of responsibility, Kat and Adam, chronicled the challenges facing musicians in BC’s largest city – boiling it down to money and space. Finding affordable living space and rehearsal space is a definite challenge for artists.

Vancouver is not alone. In The Mastering of a Music City we contrast the critical importance of creating an environment that attracts and retains artists and musicians who are the heart of a music city, with the tendency for living costs to rise as inner cities become more attractive, often as a result of the level of creativity occurring there. Affordable housing, like that found in Nashville, is a key way to address this challenge. Kat and Adam contrast Vancouver with Montreal and indeed, our report points out that the lower cost of living in Montreal has been a key factor in its ongoing attractiveness for the creative community.

The Future of Music Coalition’s Casey Rae identified affordability as a key concern in the US as well. Rae suggests that cities can find solutions in adaptive reuse – repurposing empty buildings for creative activities without a large arts or infrastructure budget commitment.

Adaptive reuse is the goal behind a project in Marrickville, an area in Sydney, Australia, where the Marrickville/Sydenham Industrial Lands have been identified for development as a creative industries hub. Development proposals will only be considered that plan to use the business and industrial spaces for creative industries.

Daniel Seligman of Pop Montreal provided a very positive overview of his Music City, including describing the city’s alternative spaces that are available for occupation permits – places like the space underneath the city’s bridges that have been used for Bridge Burner parties. Montreal is featured in The Mastering of a Music City for a number of its best practices including the single office at the city that handles special events including music, making navigating City Hall an easy undertaking. Seligman confirms that Montreal is a very music-friendly city.

IMG_0908The balance of presenters shared positive elements of their Music Cities – great spaces and places for performance, favourite haunts of musicians and the industry professionals who support them, memorable moments in the cities’ musical past, and iconic bands and artists who have put their cities on the map.

The only thing left, after a day of sharing inspiring stories and discussing common challenges, was to spend time at one of BC’s terrific music festivals. More than 115,000 people attended the Pemberton Music Festival last weekend – some from nearby in parts of British Columbia while others travelled many miles to get there. The hotels and restaurants in nearby Whistler and Squamish were jammed. It’s a classic story of music tourism. The 2014 festival is estimated to have injected more than $40 million into the BC economy. Not bad. And a beautiful location for a music festival.

Each of these themes appears in The Mastering of a Music City. If you haven’t had a chance to read our full report, you can find it here. Want to share your story of how your organization is helping to foster a music city? Contact us – we’d love to hear from you!


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:


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