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Tag archive: The Mastering of a Music City (21)

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Music Cities Summit 2018: ‘How Public Spaces Can Contribute to Scenes and Strategies’

On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week. City professionals, policy-makers, industry executives, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship. Click here to view more recaps from the summit.

The last panel of the day was Making Space in the Public Realm: How Public Spaces Can Contribute to Scenes and Strategies. It examined how cities are utilizing publicly-owned buildings to create partnerships and develop initiatives with the music community. Business and community leaders from Denver, Seattle, Vancouver and Montreal discussed how public facilities can work in collaboration with their local music scene, and touched on issues like how to avoid competition with the private sector.

The panel was moderated by Farzaneh Hemmasi, Assistant Professor of Music & Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. Panelists included: Catherine Planet, Artist & Founder of La Chasse-Balcon; Dawn Ibey, Vancouver Public Library; Ismael Guerrero, Executive Director of the Denver Housing Authority, and; Tom Mara, Executive Director, KEXP.

The discussion kicked off with Catherine Planet providing some background on La Chasse-Balcon (founded in 2014), a series of music events with the mission of bringing neighbours together in residential areas. She discussed how her time spent living in Louisiana had a profound impact and inspired her to create an initiative that celebrates the musical vivacity of her hometown of Montreal once she returned.

Planet also touched on how these types of events help blur the lines between what is perceived as solely public and private spaces, and highlighted how a balcony can act as a symbolic bridge that enables these two spaces to become connected. Through La Chasse Balcon, free outdoor concerts are staged on balconies in different neighborhoods and have the surrounding community and crowds join in the festivities.

The panel then moved on to Dawn Ibey, who spoke about the role that libraries can play in building a vibrant Music City. She discussed how one of the core business activities of the Vancouver Public Library is to ensure free public programming for adults and children, with programs that support music creation, music education, as well as the staging of performances.

Ibey highlighted some of the major accomplishments of the Vancouver Public Library, such as the partnership with Sun Life Financial in 2016 to establish the city’s first musical instrument lending library. She discussed how public libraries should be included in the development of music strategies, as they contribute towards achieving some of the essential elements featured in The Mastering of a Music City report.

Next, Ismael Guerrero spoke about the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and the impact that arts and music can have in addressing community justice issues. Through partnerships with community organizations as well as private sector initiatives, the DHA has taken steps to rebuild neighborhoods and modernize housing with a focus on building vibrant, mixed-income communities.

Guerrero touched on some of the other social entrepreneurial ventures the DHA has undertaken in recent years that are guided by a community-led, and sometimes, arts-centric framework and priorities. With investments supporting community organizations like Youth on Record, the establishment of community hubs have helped establish spaces where marginalized youth can create art and music.

The final panelist Tom Mara spoke about KEXP, a public radio, listener-supported station and non-profit arts organization in Seattle. Mara discussed the ‘music discovery-centred’ mission of KEXP to design their programming and initiatives in a way that supports music lovers, artists, and the wider arts community.

Mara touched on how one of the key commitments of KEXP is to support live music in Seattle, and highlighted how the organization stages around 300 live music performances every year at their facility. This exciting achievement was partly made possible through a partnership with the City of Seattle that enables KEXP to receive a favorable lease rate on their property, and is a key example of the different kinds of cross-sector collaboration that can exist.

The panelists went on to discuss several different topics and reflected on the unique opportunities that public facilities can provide, and that are currently not being leveraged.

To listen to the full discussion, you can watch the video below.

 

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Music Cities Summit 2018: ‘A Case Study On Cultural Heritage, Economic Development and Audience Development in New Orleans’ Panel Discussion

Grant W. Martin Photography

On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week. City professionals, policy-makers, industry executives, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship. Click here to view more recaps from the summit. 

The New Orleans: A Case Study on Cultural Heritage, Economic Development and Audience Development in NOLA panel examined the role that non-profit institutions have played in promoting historical and cultural preservation within the city. Panelists discussed how their organizations work to support the broader cultural ecosystem in New Orleans and advocate for a dynamic, creative city.

The panel was moderated by Ashlye Keaton, co-founder of The ELLA Project. Panelists included: Chief Howard Miller, President of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council; Jordan Hirsch, A Closer Walk with the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation; and Melanie Merz, WWOZ 90.7 FM.

The discussion kicked off with a presentation from Melanie Merz on the significance of the non-profit community radio station WWOZ to New Orleans and the city’s vast musical community. Merz touched on the history of the station and its development into a cultural institution within NOLA.

She discussed how WWOZ came to specialize in music that represents the city’s cultural heritage, and detailed how the station became known for its support of local artists and musicians. Merz also touched on how WWOZ has become praised for its location broadcasts of live music events within the city, such as the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

The panel then moved on to the next speaker Chief Howard Miller, who spoke about the history of the Mardi Gras Indians and their impact on the city’s Mardi Gras rituals and celebrations. Chief Miller recounted his experience growing up in the tribe, and detailed the extensive nine-month long process of creating hand-sewn, intricate suits for the parade each year.

Chief Miller went on to discuss the challenges faced by the Mardi Gras Indians in their fight to have their intellectual and creative ownership of their suits be legally recognized. Every year at the parade, photographs are taken of the Indians in their elaborate suits, which are then commercially sold in the forms of images, posters, as well as in magazines, books or art galleries. The heart of the issue is that these individuals are profiting off the community’s cultural and artistic creations without the Mardi Gras Indians being financially compensated for the use of their likeness.

Along with the legal assistance of Ashlye Keaton, Chief Miller successfully registered the first Indian Mardi Gras suit with the United States Copyright Office in 2010, under the basis of it being recognized as an artistic work (a sculpture), and not a piece of clothing.

The final panelist Jordan Hirsch discussed the significance of the project  A Closer Walk, an interactive map of New Orleans’ music history sites. A Closer Walk (ACW) project and site is presented by WWOZ New Orleans, the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, along with 3 other sponsors. The project aims to highlight the numerous musical sites that the city has to offer, and in particular, bring to light some of the sites that have remained unmarked or unrecognized.

Hirsch highlighted how ACW is a first-of-its-kind collaboration that features historical experts and music specialists drawing from extensive archival footage and chronicles, from both privately and publicly owned collections. The website currently has features on 104 landmarks, but the ultimate goal is to present 300 landmarks on the map in honor of New Orleans’ tricentennial in 2018.

The panelists went on to discuss several different topics and reflect on the city’s rich musical history, and how this musical legacy can be protected and promoted to a wider audience.

Watch a video of the full discussion below, and stay tuned next week for a recap of another exciting panel.

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Music Cities Summit 2018: ‘Celebrity Music Cities’ Panel Recap

On Saturday, May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week 2018. Conference delegates, policy-makers, urban planners, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship. Click here to view more recaps of panels from the summit. 

The morning featured a panel entitled Celebrity Music Cities: How Cities With Global Reputations Tackle Challenge and Leverage Noteworthiness. The panel examined how cities with a rich musical history approach the current challenges facing their music ecosystems, and how that reputation can either be a benefit or a hindrance.

The discussion was moderated by Lynn Ross, who works as a Cultural Planner at the City of Vancouver. Panelists included: Adrian Tonon, City of Detroit; Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle; Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, Owner/Manager of a prominent record label in Memphis, Tennessee; Omar Lozano from Visit Austin, Austin Tourism.

The conversation kicked off with a discussion of some of the major challenges facing each of the panelists’ cities. Councillor Josh Colle touched on the exciting growth of Toronto as a Music City, but highlighted how this rapid growth puts pressure on every aspect of the music industry – particularly for venue owners and artists who face barriers to affordability and livability.

Adrian Tonon went on to discuss how the economic crisis that plagued the City of Detroit for the last several decades meant that music, film, and other cultural services were delegated to lesser priorities. But the city has been making recent steps towards a strong recovery, and Tonon described how his work leading the Mayor’s Film, Music and Night Time Economy initiatives have helped contribute to the development of the city’s thriving arts and culture scene.

The panel also touched on the role celebrity artists can play in building up and promoting their city on a global stage. Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell highlighted the deep, rich musical history of Memphis that produced legendary icons like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Mitchell discussed the importance of not just promoting the biggest names, but to instead use that as a foundation and work towards embracing some of the newer artists whose musical catalogue could also put Memphis on the map.

Councillor Colle went on to reflect on the importance of artists like Drake and The Weeknd, who have become de-facto Toronto ambassadors, and whose success shined a light on youth hip hop scenes that were quietly thriving in cities across Canada.

Another major topic of discussion was the important relationship between city government and music stakeholder groups in the journey to develop their Music City. Detroit’s Adrian Tonon highlighted how critical it was from the city side to ensure all the key players who had been previously working in silos were brought together to have a seat at the table, and in turn, collectively strive towards implementing the city’s strategic music priorities.

Omar Lozano also touched on the uniquely important role that non-profits play in Austin. Organizations like Austin Music People and the Austin Music Venue Alliance have worked with the municipal government on various initiatives, and more broadly, are continuing to make important strides towards progressive change.

Watch a video of the full discussion below, and stay tuned next week for a recap of another panel from the summit.

 

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Music Cities Summit 2018: ‘Music Officers Meet their Match’ Panel Recap

Grant W. Martin Photography

On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities Summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week 2018. City professionals, policy-makers, industry executives, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship. Click here to view more recaps of panels from the summit. 

The morning kicked off with a panel discussion between Seattle, WA’s Kate Becker and London, ON’s Cory Crossman, two Music Officers doing exciting work to build up their Music City. The topic centered around exploring their methods of turning music strategies into concrete results, and learning about different approaches they used to address common barriers and problems.

The Music Officers began the conversation discussing the importance of developing a comprehensive music strategy that allows for flexible planning and policy-making. Cory Crossman, London’s Music Industry Development Officer, touched on the importance of branding when developing a profile as a Music City. He highlighted how the city’s path to promoting a ‘rock and roll revitalization’ in London was a key component of their approach and direction.

Crossman also discussed the growing economic and cultural impact of music tourism for a city. Events like the Jack Richardson London Music Week, Jack Richardson Music Hall Of Fame, and the upcoming 2019 JUNO Awards have greatly contributed towards elevating London’s brand as a Music City attraction.

Kate Becker, Director of Seattle’s Office of Film and Music followed up with touching on some of Seattle’s major music accomplishments. Some of the most notable milestones include an annual City of Music Career Day (now in its seventh year) and the Sea-Tac Airport “Experience the City of Music” initiative, a public-private partnership that features local musicians playing throughout the airport and exciting overhead announcements by renowned Seattle artists, such as Macklemore.

The Music Officers also discussed the importance of ensuring an adherence to safety principles and conditions at music venues or events. Becker reflected on an example in 2015 where the city was faced with a troubling spike in incidences of drug-related issues at Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festivals and clubs. To address this, she implemented an approach that incorporated the input and participation of all the important players in this issue: promoters, venue owners, medics, harm-reduction experts, and more.

In particular, the Office of Film + Music collaborated with the city to host an annual ‘Music Safety Summit’ (now in its 4th year) that serves as a crucial public forum for key actors to work together towards progressive and effective solutions. Becker highlighted how this collaborative approach serves as a model that her office tries to utilize to address different situations that arise.

Becker and Crossman also touched on the critical importance of demonstrating the economic value of music to a city. Crossman credited the London Live Music Census as a major factor in gaining city and political support for the music strategy, and mentioned taking inspiration from Becker’s approach by ensuring that economic impact was measured and incorporated into policy-making. Becker agreed, and discussed how a 2008 economic impact study on Seattle’s music scene was the driving force behind the Office of Film + Music being established.

Prior to taking questions from audience members, Becker and Crossman ended their discussion with a reflection on the importance of audience development, and ensuring that the fans and public are properly engaged and connected.

Watch a video of the full discussion below, and stay tuned next week for a recap of another exciting panel.

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Video: Amy Terrill’s Opening Remarks at 2018 Music Cities Summit

On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada launched its new report Keys to a Music City: Examining the Merits of Music Offices, Boards and Night Mayors at the third annual Mastering of a Music City Music Cities Summit during Canadian Music Week.

Executive Vice President Amy Terrill discussed the report during her opening remarks at the summit, and touched on some key highlights and takeaways.

This report serves as a follow-up to Music Canada’s groundbreaking 2015 study The Mastering of a Music City, which the summit was named after. Keys to a Music City draws on in-depth interviews with practitioners in 17 cities globally, and analyzes some of the most common structures utilized by municipalities to develop and implement their music strategies and policies.

The report examines the various ways that music officers, music advisory boards, arms-length music organizations, and Night Mayors are used in different jurisdictions, and provides important insights into the functions, advantages, and limitations of these models.

In her remarks, Terrill highlighted how Keys to a Music City offers a guide to both city officials and community members on how they can play an important role in building their Music City. The report also provides insights and answers to some of their most pressing and relevant questions.

Watch Amy Terrill’s full opening remarks below, and stay tuned to our blog for more coverage from the Music Cities Summit in the coming weeks.

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

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

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

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

Results from SOCAN’s research include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Mastering of a Music City Summit: Recap

Last Friday, policymakers, city planners and global music industry representatives took part in Music Canada’s and Canadian Music Week’s international music cities summit, “The Mastering of a Music City.”

The summit was based on Music Canada’s 2015 report of the same name, which set out a roadmap for cities to become Music Cities—by supporting the music sector and realizing the often-huge economic dividends from the creation, performance, and reception of music. The Mastering of a Music City Summit was curated and hosted by Music Canada Executive Vice President Amy Terrill.

In its second year, the event was a remarkable success, attended by a cross section of people from all over the world—from Canada and the United States to Poland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Jamaica, Columbia, and more. While the summit was attended in person by nearly 200 entrepreneurs, city planners, music industry executives, artists, and musicians, over 5,000 people from around the world tuned in to watch the livestream of the event.

One of the many highlights of the day was an opening address from Toronto Mayor John Tory which functioned as a ‘state of the music industry’ for the Music City. The mayor highlighted the strength of the music scene and the progress the city has made so far, including: creating the music in parks permit, changes to musician loading/unloading zones, the mayor’s evening for the arts, and attaching local music to city services like 311.

In his speech, the mayor articulated his vision and goals for the city’s music industry in 2017.

  • The city will aim to lead more live music events, including showcases, abroad and at home, and will create over 200 city-led opportunities for artists over the next year.
  • The city will make music part of the planning process at city hall by putting a motion to council that would notify new developments of existing nearby music venues. The mayor will also classify music as an eligible activity in the city’s employment lands.
  • The city will support music tourism by bringing local musicians to the city’s airports, and programming a Winterlicious-style music event to boost activity in the off-season.

“The creativity, the joy, the talent that music brings to a big city lies at the heart of what makes Toronto dynamic and innovative,” Tory said. “I am absolutely committed to the music industry and playing the part city hall is meant to play.”

The Role of Advocates

Helen Marcou, owner of Bakehouse Studio in Melbourne, Australia, delivered the opening keynote presentation on The Role of Advocates: A Story of Successfully Fighting for Your Music City.

When stringent and high cost regulations forced a storied punk rock venue in Melbourne to close, and another 126 venues to reduce their programming, Marcou began a movement called Save Live Australia’s Music, or SLAM.

The campaign had a simple but effective message, “don’t kill live music,” was inclusive and non-partisan, and brought over 20,000 supporters out to the steps of the legislature. When the campaign was over, laws were amended and a permanent voice for the music community created in the form of a music advisory body.

Marcou continues to advocate for live music, but spoke about her more recent efforts to combat sexual assault and harassment of women in live music venues and at music festivals. When Marcou penned a letter to government calling for action, the state created a taskforce to combat sexual harassment at live music venues.

Music City Leaders

The Music City Leaders Panel asked key questions of elected officials who have identified music as a key strategy or economic sector in their cities. Panelists included Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville; John Tory, Mayor of Toronto; Filippo del Corno, Assessore alla Cultura, City of Milan; Maria Claudia Lopez Sorzano, Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Sports, City of Bogota; Delroy Williams, Mayor of Kingston, Jamaica; and Manon Gauthier, Member of the City of Montreal Executive Committee, City of Montreal.

The panelists gave critical advice to would-be Music City advocates, and industry cooperation and collaboration emerged as a key theme. Tory said that advocates must focus on the issue, and speak with one voice if they want to be heard. This sentiment was echoed by Gauthier and del Corno.

Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville, remarked upon his work establishing affordable housing specifically for artists. Music Cities, according to Dean, are strong and thrive because of the creative people that they attract. He pointed to music education and raising creative audiences and creative people as key principles.

Music Ecosystem

Following a presentation on the need for restoration and protection of Detroit’s music venues, moderator Vel Omazic, Executive Director of Canada’s Music Incubator, led the Music Ecosystem Panel. The panel discussed how cities should go about identifying and solving gaps in their Music City ecosystems.

Omazic was joined by Andreas Kalogiannides, a business entertainment lawyer and co-chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC); Christina Fitzgerald, CIND-FM (Indie 88); Didier Zerath, Artist Mgmt & Music Industry Consultant; Dino Lupelli, CEO of Linecheck Music Meeting & Festival; and Jesse Elliot, Director of The Music District.

One of the key themes that emerged from this panel was the importance of the grassroots music community driving change. According to Elliot, community engagement for The Music District—a Fort Collins music hub for musicians and music related businesses—lasted over one and a half years and was a key reason for the success of the program.

Andreas spoke to the results of the widely responded to survey that TMAC used to identify issues when formulating the Toronto Music Strategy. The survey, which was answered by over 6,000 individuals, emphasized the city’s need for livability and affordability for its creative class and a need for accessible rehearsal and performance spaces.

The Music Ecosystem Panel was followed by a series of presentations on the value of the UNESCO Cities of Music. The presentations were delivered by representatives of member cities, Kingston, Jamaica, Bogota, Columbia, and Katowice, Poland.

Music Tourism

The Mastering of a Music City report touted music tourism as a key part of the equation for cities looking to generate economic benefits from live music. Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada Live, led the Music Tourism Panel along with:

  • Andras Berta, International Relations Director, Sziget Festival, Hungary
  • Del Rollo, Senior Director, Gov’t Relations & Estates, Constellation Brands Canada, Canada
  • Jason Beukema, Owner, Whet Travel, USA
  • Michael Crockatt, President & CEO, Ottawa Tourism, Canada

The panel talked about how music can be a powerful motivator for travel, especially when associated with powerful and memorable experiences. Rollo spoke to the opportunities that music provides. Artists and musicians are able to create experiences for their fans that no other sector can provide, and it can be a significant draw for visitors. Furthermore, music tourists spend significantly more on travel and associated expenses than other types of tourists, according to Beukema’s experience.

A presentation from Molly Neuman, Head of Music at Kickstarter, followed the panel. Neuman spoke to the crowd-funding company’s desire to support the creative independence of artists and music communities.

Working with the Development Community

The conference closed with a panel moderated by Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle which asked panelists to investigate the competition for space between developers and music venues—an issue that developing cities around the world, including Toronto, are dealing with. The panel included members of the music industry, city officials, and a representative of a US development company.

Shain Shapiro, Managing Director of Sound Diplomacy, and Jocelyn Kane, Executive Director of San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission, told the conference about their cities’ experiences with the ‘Agent of Change’ policy. In San Francisco, this means that new developments must do acoustic tests and implement sound mitigation if they are built within 300 ft. of a music venue. The Entertainment Commission also ensures that new tenants cannot sue nearby venues for noise issues.

Shapiro put forward that many developers want to support music and that the industry and government’s role is to facilitate that. As new developments in London are mandated to have cultural space components, Shapiro’s organization has created guides for developers on how to make those components music-related.

Watch the live recording of the How to Work with the Development Community panel (part 1 and part 2).

 

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New music advisory council for Windsor-Essex

A new music advisory council for the region of Windsor-Essex will advocate for the local music community following the recommendations of the Windsor-Essex Music Strategy Report. The report and the advisory council were organized by the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) and the Small Business Centre (SBC) in their efforts to foster growth and collaboration in the region’s music sector.

The new music advisory council will be made up of musicians, producers, managers, and representatives from other local arts groups, according to WE EDC. One of the council’s goals will be to bolster local artist development and assist musicians with the business side of their careers. The music advisory council will also seek to increase communication between all players in the local music scene.

“There’s some amazing things going on in our city, but they are happening in silos and so we really want to make sure that everyone is getting the information, everyone is communicating so we can make those things bigger and leverage them,” said Adam Castle, Economic Development Coordinator at WE EDC.

The music strategy is based on Music Canada’s groundbreaking report: The Mastering of a Music City, which highlighted music as an economic driver and outlined a roadmap for municipalities to leverage and support music in their communities.

And in September 2016, Music Canada’s Amy Terrill facilitated a live research symposium with the WE EDC, the SBC, and individuals from the local music industry. The data collected from this event and other industry roundtables formed the basis for the region’s new music strategy, which highlights the vibrancy and diversity of the region’s artist community, strategic opportunities for local artists, award-winning local venues and events, and well respected post-secondary music institutions within the region.

The music strategy report proposes 8 key goals, including the creation of a music advisory council. They are as follows:

  1. Increase opportunities for local music artists to develop and succeed.
  2. Provide artist-entrepreneurs with development tools necessary to create a sustainable music business that is commercially viable and export-ready. This will create long-term economic growth within the local music ecosystem in both jobs and investment.
  3. Support the development of the larger regional music ecosystem through the creation of a music advisory council that will advocate for music-friendly municipal policy, and act as a planning body for local music initiatives.
  4. Work with local partners and organizations to collaborate and promote available resources.
  5. Strengthen our local music industry’s relationship with funding providers at provincial and federal levels.
  6. Attract and retain a young and dynamic workforce whose quality of life will be enhanced through living, working and playing in a community with a strong arts culture.
  7. Leverage partnerships nationally and internationally that will connect Windsor-Essex artists to broader markets.
  8. Embrace and showcase the Windsor-Essex Region’s diversity and multicultural talent.

Read more about the music advisory council.

Read more about the Windsor-Essex Music Strategy.

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Toronto’s music community discusses building a Music City in NOW Magazine cover story

nowtorontomusiccity

NOW Magazine’s October 13, 2016 cover, featuring Alaska B. of Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.

Last week, NOW Magazine’s cover story, entitled “Dreaming of Music City,” featured interviews with ten members of Toronto’s local music community including artists, promoters, producers, record label owners, and music festival operators. They were asked about their experiences and the challenges they see for Toronto in becoming a world-renowned Music City.

The article highlights several important issues, including: the safety of musicians (and audiences) who belong to marginalized groups, affordable housing for musicians and artists, music industry-community collaboration, and music venue accessibility. Government funding, entertainment districts, and the use of public space for music are also discussed as policies for the city’s consideration.

Since the release of The Mastering of a Music City report in Summer 2015—a report which serves as a roadmap for cities seeking to grow their music communities and become Music Cities with vibrant, actively promoted music economies—Music Canada has travelled to music events and policy conferences around the world to share Music City best practices and strategies.

Our report touched on some of the issues presented in the recent NOW Magazine article, but a lot has happened in Music Cities development in the last year that may inspire solutions to many of the concerns expressed by Toronto’s music community:

  • Affordable housing and the threat of gentrification are issues for artists in most major cities. A few years ago, Nashville, Tennessee recognized this and the City collaborated with the Music City Music Council and members of the arts community to create an arts-focused affordable apartment residence called Ryman Lofts. The residence offers affordable housing in the city specifically for artists.
  • The city of Aarhus, Denmark has Music City aspirations. MONO, an organization for active rhythmic musicians in the city, operates a professional development and gathering space where artists can rent rehearsal facilities, a concert venue, attend workshops, record music, store their music gear, and network with others in the community. MONO has 40 rooms and is used by over 120 bands.
  • In Fort Collins, Colorado, private investment from the Bohemian Foundation and community organization led to the creation of The Music District. The Music District is a collection of five buildings which have been (and are still in the process of being) converted into a music hub. Artists can reserve or rent rehearsal spaces, attend music workshops, rent and service equipment, and practice their performances all within the facility.
  • Bogota, Columbia is a leader in using music to activate parks and public spaces. The city’s al Parque festivals are supported by the Ministry of Culture and various arts organizations. Throughout the city, throughout the year, and all for free, Bogota draws hundreds of thousands of music fans to its public parks where local, national, and international artists of all genres play for massive audiences.

It is important to recognize, as the authors of the NOW Magazine article do, the progress that the City of Toronto has made towards its Music City goals: the signing and meeting of the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance, the creation of the Toronto Music Advisory Council, council’s adoption of the Toronto Music Strategy. The experiences and perspectives of the music community are critical to the growth of the Music City project, and this kind of discussion is an important part of the process.

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Harmony between music and economic development

Music is increasingly being seen as an important means of economic development with Music Canada’s Mastering of a Music City as the primary resource in this effort.

A vibrant nightlife, of which music is so much a part, is critical for attracting and retaining talent. Cities like Austin and Nashville regularly lure investment, new business growth and talented workers, through a deliberate program to sell their cities as great music cities.

But a vibrant music scene doesn’t magically happen. Attention must be paid to the many bylaws and regulations that impact music. The music ecosystem, with artists and musicians at the heart, needs to be nurtured, supported and promoted with a focus on commercial music as well as not-for-profit enterprises. Infrastructure, in the form of individuals or bodies who facilitate regular communication between the city and the music community, are necessary.  Sometimes there is also an important role for investment in hard infrastructure like transportation networks and performance facilities.

The Mastering of a Music City, designed to be a road map for communities that want to engage with their music community and build a vibrant music economy, is being utilized across Canada, the US and internationally.  Music Canada has added to this work with a tool kit designed specifically for chambers of commerce, important agents in community economic development work.

Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has called the Music Cities model a “tried and tested economic development tool.”

Last week a symposium hosted by WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation featured a presentation on Music Canada’s report by Amy Terrill.  CEO Steve MacKenzie remarked:

“Developing Music Cities has proven itself as a winner in Economic Development. We have tangible research, thanks to Music Canada’s work in the field, showing economic growth in correlation with fostering a healthy music ecosystem. Just as important is the cultural spin-off that comes with the support of these initiatives. Quality of life is a major deciding factor for a dynamic workforce that greatly values a work/life balance. The music sector is a wonderful example where an industry’s by-products are of equal value to its core functions. Music is universal, and in Windsor-Essex, one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse regions, it’s a language that we all speak.  It provides an impact we can all benefit from.”

And the word is certainly spreading.

Music Cities will be the topic of a panel discussion and presentation at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference on September 27, 2016.  IEDC is a membership organization serving economic developers with more than 4,500 members.

The session, Mastering a Music City for Economic Development, will feature the following:

  • Kate Becker, Director, Office of Film + Music, Seattle, WA
  • Jonathan Knecht, VP, Marketing + Creative Director, Kansas City Area Development Council, Kansas City, MO
  • Amy Lopp, Business Development Specialist, Athens-Clarke County Economic Development, Athens, GA
  • Don Pitts, Manager, Music & Entertainment Division, Economic Development Department, City of Austin. Austin, TX
  • Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President, Music Canada, Toronto, Ontario, CA

And next month, Amy Terrill will participate in a discussion on music and cities, at the 5th UCLG Congress World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Bogota, Columbia.

Ultimately, Music Canada and our members are leading this initiative in order to improve the odds for those wanting to develop careers in the music industry – in order to create a stronger music community.  Music interacts with cities in ways that benefit those cities.  Contributing to a broader understanding of that value will, in turn, bring about greater opportunities for all of us to make music.

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