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Tag archive: Music Tourism (6)

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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’s submission to the Ontario Cultural Strategy Consultation

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

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

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

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

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

View the submission

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Music Canada’s Graham Henderson: Junos show culture is a smart investment for Hamilton

Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson has an op-ed in the Hamilton Spectator today, congratulating Hamilton on hosting a very successful JUNO Awards earlier this month. In ‘Junos show culture is a smart investment for Hamilton,’ Henderson notes the multi-million dollar economic impact the four-day event had in Hamilton, as well as the added benefits that a strong cultural scene brings, like improving residents’ quality of life and attracting creative and innovative workers.

“From the dozens of downtown streets and stores that featured free performances, to the 15 venues that took part in JunoFest, to the spectacular closing show at FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton delivered on all counts,” wrote Henderson. “More than 3,000 musicians and industry personnel attended Juno Week, and Hamilton’s tourism sector welcomed them with open arms and exhibited terrific hospitality. Hotels were at full capacity, bars and restaurants were bustling, and taxis were kept busy shuttling attendees around town. Tim Potocic, chair of the Junos host committee, has estimated the economic impact of the four-day event to be between $11 million and $12 million in Hamilton.”

The op-ed comes as Hamilton City Council is scheduled to continue the city’s 2015 budget deliberations, which include a proposed $500,000 added investment in the arts, which would represent the first major arts funding boost in Hamilton in 15 years.

Yesterday, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Keanin Loomis issued a strong statement on the economic value of music & cultural events to a city in an op-ed in the Hamilton Spectator. In ‘Arts and culture now drive Hamilton,’ Loomis notes that a city’s quality of life is among its strongest tools for economic development.

“It is indisputable that the arts activity that’s been buoying Hamilton’s cultural renaissance over the last decade led directly to the economic boost we got from hosting last week’s Junos,” wrote Loomis. “Considering the type of returns we are receiving from the limited investments we are making to enhance this city’s quality of life, more investment in the arts is an economic imperative.”

Hamilton City Council will deliberate the arts investment motion today in Council Chambers. Members of Hamilton’s arts community are attending in the gallery as a show of support for the motion. The final budget vote is scheduled for April 8th.

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What last night’s municipal election results mean for music sector development in Ontario

Last night, voters across Ontario went to the polls to vote in municipal elections, determining new leadership in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Brampton, London, Windsor, and more.

In Toronto, residents elected John Tory to be the city’s 65th mayor. Music Canada has congratulated Mayor-Elect Tory, and we look forward to working with him and the newly elected council to continue to develop Toronto’s music sector. Many of the returning councillors have demonstrated a deep understanding of the value of music in Toronto and have supported efforts to promote and stimulate this important sector.

Early in his election campaign, Tory announced plans to support the growth of the music industry in Toronto. His plan is made up of three main points:

  1. Support the creation of a stand-alone Music Office: one stop shop to get things moving
  2. Work with the live music community to attract more music tourists to Toronto
  3. Work with the Music Community to Create a Plan for a more active Outdoor Festival Schedule

Tory reiterated his plans for the music sector in our music policy survey, stating that Toronto’s “Music Office will be established within the Economic Development department and will open in 2015” and adding “the importance of the music community and the broader creative sector cannot be understated.”

In his acceptance speech, Tory spoke of the need to tackle unemployment for youth in Toronto, and spoke of plans to work with business partners to foster opportunities for young people. Music can help. Our Next Big Bang report recommends municipalities work with their music communities in order to support local music scenes, and leverage them to attract music tourists, attract and retain creative workers, and attract businesses from all sectors of the economy. A 2009 report on the future of tourism in Ontario found that tourism is the single largest employer of young people in the province, and our Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas report applies specific best practices to Toronto.

Toronto has made great strides in the development of its music sector in recent years; notably with the hiring of a music sector development officer last month, the creation of the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council last December, and the partnership with Austin, Texas in the world’s first Music City Alliance, signed in October 2013. Tory’s plans to create a stand-alone Music Office will continue this momentum by reducing red tape and stimulating greater activity in the music community.

 

Elsewhere in the province, a number of strong candidates who have been strong advocates for the music sector were elected as well:

Congratulations to Berry Vrbanovic, who was elected mayor of Kitchener last night, building on his 20-year experience as a city councillor. As a councillor, Vrbanovic championed music as an economic driver and a vital contributor to local culture. Vrbanovic represented Kitchener at last summer’s Music Cities Exchange panel, which was hosted by Music Canada, 4479, and NXNE, and featured public and private representatives from six cities that are working proactively to develop their local music sectors.

Vrbanovic promoted the development of Kitchener’s arts and creative sectors as part of his platform, calling for further development of Kitchener’s Music Works program by creating a film and music officer position and pursuing provincial funding to develop a music resource centre. Vrbanovic also states his support for the continued development of the live music scene in Kitchener’s downtown entertainment district, and intent to work with Waterloo Region Tourism to develop tourism promotion opportunities.

 

Congratulations to Jeff Leiper, who was elected councillor in Ottawa’s Kitchissippi ward. In his recent role as Vice President, Strategic Communications, Research and Policy at the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Leiper was instrumental in the development of the Music – A Catalyst For Technology Hubs And Innovative Talent report, which was supported by Music Canada and released last year. The report found that support from all levels of government for music education and scenes can help foster a talented tech workforce. Music education, the report finds, helps bridge gaps between technical know-how and critical soft skills, while the presence of music scenes in cities can help attract and retain skilled workers.

Leiper has also promoted music tourism and the development of Ottawa’s music sector as part of his platform, campaigning on the creation of a Music Office in Canada’s capital city. “As a researcher, I’ve taken a look at the economic benefits of focusing on music performance in a city – specifically using great music scenes as a way to attract tech workers,” wrote Leiper in June.

 

Several other cities have implemented or explored ways to build and capitalize on their music sector for greater economic benefits, including Windsor, London, Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Peterborough. Music Canada looks forward to working with municipal leaders throughout the province to help them advance their communities through music.

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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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Make Music Part of the Ontario Place Revitalization

On February 1, 2012, the Government of Ontario announced plans to revitalize Ontario Place to make it a ‘must visit’ destination and landmark for Ontario families and tourists from around the world. The government of Ontario is seeking public input on how to revitalize Ontario Place: Music Canada is promoting the idea of putting an outdoor green space for live music at the location.

Why?

Live Music Generates Jobs and Spending in Toronto
  • Total economic impact of sound recording industry in Canada: $455.2 million with much of that in Toronto (Economic Impact Analysis of the Sound Recording Industry in Canada, PwC)
  • 2011 TD Toronto Jazz Festival generated total economic impact of $22.7 M
    • 298 full time equivalent jobs
    • 1/3 attendees live beyond 40 km radius of city
  • 40th anniversary JUNOs in Toronto had an estimated economic impact of $14.1M
  • NxNE generates more than $47M annually in economic impact to City of Toronto
Live Music is One of Toronto’s Key Assets
  • 4th highest ratio of music establishments per 100,000 residents in North America (Martin Prosperity Insights) with incredible indoor venues of all sizes including: The Horseshoe Tavern, Phoenix, The Sound Academy, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Massey Hall and the Air Canada Centre

However, Toronto lacks a key component: a viable downtown outdoor green space for live music.

Ontario Place can build on the success of the Amphitheatre to fill the gap.

Why Ontario Place?
  • The Amphitheatre is one of the few success stories in the park in the last decade
  • Experience shows that there is the market for a permanent outdoor venue
  • Toronto’s current assets do not have permanent facilities that include concession areas, backline, fencing and lighting
How to Help:

Add a comment on the Ontario Place Revitalization site to urge the government to develop a viable downtown outdoor green space for live music!

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