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Tag archive: Toronto Music Advisory Council (5)

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Toronto Music Advisory Council highlights key milestones at last meeting of the term

The Toronto Music Advisory Council’s (TMAC) final meeting of the year took place on June 20th, 2018. Committee members discussed a variety of critical issues and developments, with the Working Groups providing progress updates on a number of their agenda items.

TMAC Co-Chairs City Councillor Josh Colle and Spencer Sutherland also presented a written summary of TMAC’s key milestones during the meeting, emphasizing the accomplishments that helped achieve the committee’s priority items.

Key highlights of the summary document are featured below.

Creating opportunities to support local musicians: major accomplishments include initiatives like Arts/Music in the Parks; the Toronto Music Directory; the YYZ Live series; and City Hall Live. Several pilot programs are still yet to be launched, as they are pending official Council approval. Some of the most notable include a pilot program regarding musician loading zones, tour bus parking, and an entertainment zone study.

Addressing regulatory burdens of music venues: this includes policies that aim to streamline regulations and permit processes or remove unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles for venues and spaces.  One of the early major accomplishments was eliminating the enforcement against music venues for illegal postering in 2015. Additionally, TMAC has played an important role in the development of various ongoing noise bylaw-related initiatives at the City of Toronto, such as the development of a Terms of Reference for Noise Impact Studies for new developments within 120 metres of existing live music venues.

Measures to protect music venues: TMAC has long advocated for the development of policies that protect existing music venues, such as the establishment of a live music venue certification program and the proposed creation of tax benefits for local live venues.

However, one of TMAC’s major accomplishments was its role in endorsing the adoption of a version of the “Agent of Change” principle in Toronto. This principle has now been adopted and is a culmination of several recent decisions at City Hall.

Arising from PG29.4 TO Core: Downtown Plan Official Plan Amendment, the proposed measures are intended to encourage the retention of live music venues, by:

  • Ensuring that live music venues can continue to function without noise-related impact on new residential development, meaning that:
    • New live music venues located within Mixed Use Areas 1, 2, 3, 4 and Regeneration Areas will be designed and constructed to minimize noise from the premises and provide acoustic attenuation measures that would protect residential uses; and
    • New mixed-use developments located within Mixed Use Areas 1, 2, 3, 4 and Regeneration Areas will be designed and constructed to include acoustic attenuation measures on-site, or within the building design, to mitigate noise levels from adjacent indoor live music venues and from outdoor live music venues.
  • Requring an advisory to be implemented for newly developed residential units within 120 meters of a live music venue.

Supporting the development of a robust night-time economy: TMAC has advocated for the City of Toronto to take steps towards establishing measures to support live venues and other night-time operators. One of the major accomplishments is the implementation of an 18-month nightlife economy study, led by the Responsible Hospitality Institute.

Promoting Toronto internationally and fostering alliances with global music cities: notable accomplishments in this arena include the successful development of recurring initiatives, such as the Tale of Two Cities event series; an Austin-Toronto Music Business Summit that took place in 2016, with a new summit in development for late 2018; a series of SXSW activations between 2015 to 2018, and more.

 

The full summary document of TMAC’s accomplishments can be found here.

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A series of recommendations from Toronto Music Advisory Council are one step closer to policy after Economic Development Committee approval

Members of Toronto’s Economic Development Committee passed a suite of Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) recommendations today aimed at providing better support for the city’s live music venues, and facilitating the collection of data for an international study on night time economies.

Toronto’s Economic Development Committee is composed of councillors Fragedakis, Grimes, Hart, Holland, Kelly and Thompson (Chair), many of whom spoke passionately about the value of music and culture to the city’s identity and well-being, as well as music’s significant contribution to the local economy.

“Life without music, life without culture, would be no life,” said Committee Chair Michael Thompson, Councilor for Ward 37 (Scarborough Centre) and former TMAC Co-Chair.

Spencer Sutherland, current Co-Chair of TMAC, owner of Toronto music venue Nocturne and Chairman of the Queen West Business Improvement Area, gave a deputation at the meeting thanking the Committee and Council for its support thus far, and speaking to the progress TMAC has made to reach these recommendations.

Many of the recommendations were specifically created to address the challenges that live music venues face, like rising property taxes, as well as licensing and other logistical challenges. A sense of urgency to address the situation for venues came to a fever pitch in 2017.

“As you might recall at the same time last year our city was facing an unprecedented crisis of music venues closing at an alarming rate of one per week,” said Sutherland. “Thankfully, so far this year we have seen none of that.”

Later in the meeting Josh Colle, Councillor for Ward 15 (Eglinton-Lawrence) and TMAC Co-Chair, said the story that is not often told is about venues opening or re-opening, such as Hugh’s Room and The Hideout. Colle praised the work of TMAC, and specifically the venue sustainability working group, which he said “really lit a fire” under councillors to act to provide better protection and support for live music.

The agenda item up for consideration was titled “Night-time Economy – Collection of Data and Protection of Live Music Venues,” and recommendations made to the Committee by the TMAC were divided into two categories.

The first related to an international study of the night time economy being conducted by the Responsible Hospitality Institute examining effective and sustainable models for night time economy management.  TMAC requested that the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture, in collaboration with the Director, Office of Emergency Management and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, facilitate the collection of accurate data by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) to contribute to the international study.

Cities around the globe are examining various policies to best support their night time economies, and some cities, such as Amsterdam and New York, have appointed a Night Mayor to represent the businesses and cultures that thrive outside of the nine-to-five. In a 2016 Huffington Post blog, Music Canada’s Executive Vice President Amy Terrill asked “Does Toronto need a Night Mayor?”

Councillor Thompson noted that Toronto is paying attention to initiatives in other cities, including New York and London, and felt the City could do more to maximize the potential of its night time economy. “There are many things that are taking place and in a city like ours – it never sleeps,” Thompson told the Committee. “People sleep at individual times but the city itself is always alive and vibrant.”

The second recommendation from TMAC was all about live music and was made up of a suite of nine recommendations included in a previously requested report on protecting live music venues in Toronto. The General Manager, Economic Development and Culture, was asked to consider the following:

  1. Create tax benefits for local live music venues.
  2. Initiate and expand music pilot programs including ideas for artist tour bus parking, musician load in/out zones and artist poster zones.
  3. Create a music venue certification program.
  4. Amend zoning and licensing to protect existing venues and encourage new ones including a clarification of what business license music venues require.
  5. Create a panel, consisting of a member of the Film and Entertainment Office, members of the Live Working Group, and senior members of planning, building and licensing, with regard to providing advice to individuals and/or organizations wishing to establish new and/or grow existing live music venues.
  6. Review Municipal Licensing Regulations governing parks, green spaces, and city owned outdoor venues.
  7. Support Night-time Economy initiatives with The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) and Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI).
  8. Financial support for an economic impact study of local live music venues.
  9. Financial support for a local Music Passport event series.

All recommendations in the agenda item passed with the support of the Economic Development Committee and will now be brought to Toronto City Council at a yet to be determined date.

“I hope that these suggestions are embraced and supported by Committee and then by Council,” commented Councillor Colle. “I hope we see the continuation of what I think is – well, what the challenge is – the healthiest and most robust Music City in the world.”

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YYZ Live performance series launches at Toronto Pearson International Airport

Toronto Mayor John Tory was on hand Tuesday morning for the launch of YYZ Live, a new daily concert series greeting international arrivals at Pearson International Airport’s Terminal 1. In celebration of Canada 150, the event will run from June 26 to September 15, with 150 performances by 75 emerging artists from Toronto’s music scene.

“The first exposure a lot of people have to Toronto and Canada is in this building,” said Mayor John Tory, echoing earlier remarks by Greater Toronto Airports Authority CEO Howard Eng. “I’m proud that, thanks to this program, the first exposure people have to our culture is through music played by Toronto artists.”

Pearson is Canada’s largest airport, seeing more than 44 million passengers travel through the airport in 2016. As identified in Music Canada’s The Mastering Of A Music City report, airports in cities like Austin, Melbourne, and Seattle have already successfully hosted music performances. In Seattle, the trial program generated USD$259,000 for the artists from wages, tips and merchandise. The program’s success guaranteed its continuation for another three years, and helped permit the opening of a Sub Pop record store in the airport.

“As an independent musician, I’ve traveled over 50,000 miles sharing my music with audiences from Nashville to the Netherlands, because as many Toronto musicians know, it’s often easier to build a fan base abroad and online than it is in a city as big and as diverse as ours,” said acclaimed indie soul artist AHI in a release, who concluded today’s launch event with a performance. “I appreciate that the City of Toronto is working to develop creative opportunities for live music to become an accessible part of the community, and I’ve been privileged to participate in several events where I can share my music and build my audience right here at home.”

Mayor Tory concluded his remarks by reinstating his commitment to the future success of music in Toronto, noting the success of its artists and the arts sector help the “soul of the city” and attract more talented people to Toronto. Mayor Tory and Councillor Josh Colle, Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council, also acknowledged the efforts of Councillor John Filion, who was absent from Tuesday’s announcement, but instrumental in making YYZ Live a reality.

There will be two opportunities daily to catch the performances, with a 7pm show at the YYZ Live Stage (Terminal 1, International Arrivals), and an 8pm show at the YYZ Live Acoustic Stage (Terminal Link train platform). For artists interested in performing, applications are still being accepted by submitting this application to perform@toronto.ca.

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Constructive dialogue emerges at June meeting of Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council

The Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council’s (TMAC) June 5 meeting was dominated by a positive and constructive atmosphere that resulted in decisions on key issues facing the sector, and an important dialogue with members of the local music community.

The meeting provided a forum for members of the local music community to raise new ideas.   Deputations addressed such topics as the use of alternative spaces for live music performances and DIY-music spaces (for instance, public libraries and empty storefronts), the challenges posed to affordability of housing and music hubs, commercial rent caps, the integration of diverse voices and the importance of prohibiting anonymous complaints. The tone of discussion was helpful and constructive.

TMAC Co-Chair, Councillor Josh Colle, encouraged members of the public to consider participating in TMAC sub-committees, which, as discussed at the meeting are going to be realigned in order to develop a leaner and more effective sub-committee structure.

TMAC also passed several resolutions at the meeting which constitute advisory motions to the Economic Development Committee which would then need to consider and refer to City Council:

A recommendation that City Council request the economic development department partner with Music Canada Live which is planning to gather data about the impact of live music venues in Toronto, from an economic, social, and cultural perspective; That the city’s economic development department provide marketing support for the “Toronto Music Passport,” a new industry-led event series that was floated by Mayor John Tory at Music Canada’s and Canadian Music Week’s “The Mastering of a Music City Summit.”

A recommendation that the General Manager, Economic Development and Culture, advise the Director, Affordable Housing Office and local councillors considering ‘shovel-ready’ affordable housing projects, to include those with music hubs, in partnership with local music community stakeholders and non-profit organizations.

Monday’s meeting was also the last for Andreas Kalogiannides as Co-Chair, who resigned his executive position—a position he had held since June 2015. Andreas has been a tireless advocate for Toronto’s music industry, continuously touting the value of the sector and TMAC to City Council and the music community.

TMAC was established by City Council to provide recommendations and advice to enhance the attractiveness, competitiveness, and growth of Toronto’s music industry; be a forum for the music industry and provide coherent advice to City Council on issues and opportunities for the sector; and to promote Toronto’s music industry and monitor and advise on marketing strategies to strengthen the viability of the music sector.

You can view the minutes of the meeting on the City of Toronto’s website.

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Miranda Mulholland lays the reality for creators in the digital age bare at the Economic Club of Canada

On May 24,  Miranda Mulholland became the first musician to deliver a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada. Her speech, titled ‘Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace,’ drew on her years of experience as a musician, label owner and entrepreneur to shed light on the reality artists face in the digital age. In her speech, she also identified actions that government, the music industry and music fans can take to help bring balance to the world in which creators live.

The room had a large contingent of artists, including Scott Helman, Alx Veliz, Royal Wood, Tona Tencreddi, Bandana Singh, Ammoye, Amanda Martinez, Zeno Calini, Kanwar Anit Singh Saini, QuiQue Escamilla, Eliana Cuevas, Sarah Thawer, Justin Rutledge, Brenley MacEachern, Lisa MacIsaac, Bradley Thachuk, Monica Pearce, Damhnait Doyle, Suzie Ungerleider, Emma Barnett, Andrew Penner, Jennifer Bryan, Sally Shaar and Jordan Circosta.

There were also representatives from the municipal, provincial and federal governments, as well as music industry groups MusiCounts, Re:Sound, The Canadian Federation of Musicians, CIMA, Music Ontario, The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), SOCAN, The Canadian Country Music Association, The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall, and record labels Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music.

Miranda was introduced by Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle, who chairs the Toronto Music Advisory Council on which Miranda also serves. Colle commented that musicians are often entrepreneurs, and in many cases, small businesses and that nobody is an embodiment of that more than Miranda Mulholland. He commented that artists should be supported by the City in the same way as other small businesses.

“As entrepreneurs and small businesses, I think it’s incumbent on all of us to want to see that they’re successful,” said Colle. “The same way we might put money or resources or time into helping other sectors and other small businesses, we should think of that the same way as our musicians and artists, who live in a city that’s increasingly expensive and difficult to find a place to live.”

The overarching theme of Miranda’s speech was accountability, and she pointed to a number of ways that digital music services eschew accountability to the music creators who make all of the content off which they profit.

“Picture each shiny new streaming platform as a shop window,” said Miranda. “Our content – at fire sale prices – fills their shop window, giving them credibility while creators of this content are asked to do the advertising. They give us – the creators – lists of ‘Best Practices’ to get more of our hard won fans to use their services. If we are not getting on playlists then it is our fault for not engaging with our fans enough.”

She was particularly critical of YouTube’s claims that it is merely a passive service, and as such, should be free from liability for the content that appears on the site.

“YouTube says – ‘it isn’t our fault – we are just the shop window. We didn’t put the items in the window, so we are not accountable for them. We are a passive intermediary. We are not liable for this massive copyright infringement.’ But – once again – wait. A top brass at Google just bragged that ‘80% of all watch time is recommended by YouTube.’ He explained that ‘Everybody thinks that all the music that’s being listened to and watched is by search.’  But it isn’t, and in his words, ‘that’s a really important and powerful thing.’ This means that YouTube actively directs consumers. This doesn’t seem all that passive to me. Zero accountability.”

Miranda went on describe the ways in which we can correct the situation faced by artists, saying “We all have a role to play as artists, as consumers, as industry and as government.”

For artists, Miranda encouraged them to be honest about their lifestyle, protect their intellectual property, support robust copyright laws and to pay back into the music ecosystem by championing young talent.

She encouraged music fans to be tastemakers, to create playlists of their favourite music, and to write reviews and rate albums and songs, actions which help shift algorithms in favour of artists. She also encouraged fans to buy albums on their release days, another action which can help to drive albums to front pages of music services. Buying band merchandise was mentioned as a great way to support artists. She also encouraged music fans to subscribe to a streaming service, as the subscription model delivers a much better return to artists than ad-supported streaming.

As for government, Miranda pointed to the elimination of “safe harbour” laws, which provide tech companies with immunity from copyright infringement liability. In Canada, she pointed to eliminating industry cross-subsidies that shift wealth away from music creators, and used the radio royalty exemption as an example, an exemption in place since 1997 that excuses radio stations from paying more than $100 in royalties to artists and record labels on their first $1.25 million in advertising revenue.

Miranda’s heartfelt speech had a visible impact on guests, who gave her an extended standing ovation.

Miranda’s speech was followed by a Q&A discussion with Kate Taylor, author, film critic and arts columnist at The Globe and Mail.

You can view the full event video via the live stream archive on our Facebook page.

Below is a selection of tweets from the event:

https://twitter.com/ScottHelman/status/867595308364161025

(Swipe left) Such an eventful meeting this morning with #EconomicclubofCanada redefining success in a digital market place. Pic’d here with Former Member of #parliament #AndrewCash who personality invited us as well as #JenniferHardy #GeneralManagerofOperations at #MusicCanada and #AmyTerrill #ExecutiveVicePresident also at Music Canada and #TracyJenkins of #LulaMusic & #ArtsCentre/LulaWorld who booked me for my #CityHallLive performance on Monday May29th!!! Inside @lulalounge @lulaworldfest!!! And our honoured guest speaker fellow entrepreneur and artist #mirandamulholland!!!! So informative And impactful was this speech and meeting!!! #changeascome #changeisgood #independentartist movement!!!! #toronto #Canada #reggaemusictotheworld #Lightworker #musicismylife #Andsoitis #makingmoves #Artistonamission to create #change!!! #DontCountMeOut Creating our own opportunities!!!!

A post shared by Ammoye💫 (@ammoye) on

Goosebumps!!! The incredibly articulate Miranda Mulholland delivers a thoroughly researched, beautifully written, MUCH…

Posted by Sarah Slean on Thursday, May 25, 2017

 

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