Music Canada


Join Mailing List

Music Canada


 Music Canada

Tag archive: The Mastering of a Music City (23)


Best Practices from ‘Mastering of a Music City’ Report Applied in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Music community advocates in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, have taken the Mastering of a Music City report and used it as a roadmap in the development of their own Music City.

Earlier this month, Volume One magazine published its “Music Capital of the North – Let’s Invest” themed issue. The articles within look at how The Mastering of a Music City report can be applied to Eau Claire, and makes the case for investment and support of the city’s growing music community.

Following the advice of the report, the magazine spoke with artists in the local community and took inventory of Eau Claire’s music assets, looking at how the city’s local musicians ranked Eau Claire on several key indicators: artists and musicians, the local music scene, access to spaces and places, a receptive and engaged audience, music-related businesses, government support for music, broader city infrastructure, music education, and music history.

The article goes on to outline a case for investment in Eau Claire’s music economy by examining the benefits that a Music City can bring and then proposing 13 recommendations that would help make Eau Claire a thriving Music City.

The Mastering of a Music City is a global report that is intended as a universal roadmap that can be used to create and develop Music Cities anywhere in the world. The strategies and recommendations are flexible in order to recognize local variations in music, culture, economies, and politics. They can be applied equally to well-established Music Cities seeking to further enhance their music economies and to nascent, aspiring Music Cities. They are relevant to communities both large and small.

We are thrilled at the response that The Mastering of a Music City has generated in music communities around the world. It was always our hope that the report would inspire others to build and strengthen Music Cities in their own communities, and Eau Claire is a great example of that in practice.



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:

@music_canada honcho Graham Henderson speaking about the The Mastering Of A Music City report. Impressive, as usual.

A photo posted by Stephen Coady (@commandercoady) on


‘Music Cities’ Report Sets Out Roadmap To Economic Growth

Cannes, France, June 5, 2015: Recording industry groups IFPI and Music Canada have today released a new report that sets out how cities worldwide can take simple steps to help develop their music economies.

The Mastering of a Music City was launched at Midem, the world’s largest music industry conference.

The report provides a simple checklist to help local authorities, businesses, community groups and the creative sector capitalise on the potential of music to build, grow and strengthen their cities.

It cites examples from 22 cities from all continents to explain what a music city is, why it is beneficial, and – critically – the most effective strategies and policies that can be implemented to nurture active music hubs.

Graham Henderson, President and CEO, Music Canada, says: “A vibrant music sector delivers an extensive array of social, cultural and economic benefits to its community; from job creation and retention to city identity and music tourism, to social cohesion, music can play an essential role.”  

“Communities of any size, anywhere in the world, can assess the extent to which they have the essential ingredients for a Music City, and deploy the strategies successfully used in the likes of Nashville, Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin and other renowned Music Cities, in order to enhance or grow theirs. These strategies don’t necessarily require heavy investment – addressing red tape and establishing dialogue between leaders in the music community and city officials are inexpensive ways to grow music’s contributions.”

The Mastering of a Music City has identified recommendations in seven strategic areas that are an effective means to grow and strengthen a city’s music economy:

  1. Music and musician-friendly policies, from licensing and liquor laws to parking and planning regulations to affordable housing and artist entrepreneur training.
  1. The creation of Music Offices to help musicians and music businesses navigate the broad range of government policies and regulations that impact music.
  1. The formulation of Music Advisory Boards to engage the broader music community in a collaborative way and to facilitate dialogue with city governments.
  1. Engaging the broader music community to ensure the people most affected by music policies are involved and informed.
  1. Access to spaces and places for artists to practice, record, and perform at every stage of their career.
  1. A focus on audience development, ensuring that there is an engaged and passionate audience for local musicians as well as international touring artists, now and into the future.
  1. Music tourism or the development of a Music City brand to leverage a thriving live music scene, rich music history, or large music festivals in order to reap the significant benefits associated with music.

In addition, multi-level government support for music, a broader city infrastructure conducive to the sector, music education programmes and efforts to highlight music history and identity are important.

Frances Moore, Chief Executive, IFPI, comments: “We’re delighted to be a partner in the Music Cities project, and we will work with our affiliates in 57 countries to spread the good work that Music Canada has been doing elsewhere in the world. They will be taking this report into City Halls worldwide, recognising that each place has different needs and priorities, but urging leaders to seize the common advantages offered by a growing music economy.

“We realise this will benefit the recording industry too, and that is the other reason we are co-sponsoring the report. Our job at IFPI is to improve the environment in which our member companies operate and this is one way that we can do that. Just imagine a world where you can go from country to country and find music cities in every one. That would be good for artists, good for record companies, good for city leaders and good for the wider public that just wants to enjoy great music.”

The Mastering of a Music City was produced after more than 40 interviews with music leaders, city and tourism officials, international focus groups and secondary research. It cites best practices and case studies from 22 cities. IFPI’s affiliated national groups will share the report globally to assist municipal leaders and other stakeholders to develop local music strategies.

Download Report

About IFPI:
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 62 countries. It also has affiliated industry groups in 57 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for record producer rights and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.

About Music Canada:
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

For more information, contact:


This website made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.