Music Canada Live celebrates first full year as Canada’s leading live music advocacy group

Music Canada Live, the leading national advocacy group for live music, celebrated its first full year as an association at its annual general meeting in Toronto. More than doubling its membership in the past year to nearly 100 organizations, members ranging from independent concert promoters, small club owners, agents who represent artists, festival organizers and many more were in attendance.

Whether commissioning studies; advocating for funding and legislation; fostering partnerships; convening municipal music offices; or encouraging important conversations – Music Canada Live, along with its membership, is spearheading growth and change for live music in Canada. In its inaugural year alone, Music Canada Live worked closely with Music Canada on the ground-breaking study “Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Canada”, which has had substantial impact on the way governments view the economic role of live music in Ontario; partnered with Canadian Music Week on the Inaugural Live Music Industry Awards; and launched its Regional Advisory Council program nationwide; among its many initiatives.

“As we’ve all seen in the headlines, live music – in addition to enjoying unprecedented popularity, is facing a diversity of challenges in Canada right now. Music Canada Live’s membership of close to 100 small and large organizations are addressing these issues, from openly sharing best practices about accessibility to safeguarding our small venues,” said Erin Benjamin, Executive Director, Music Canada Live. “Canadians demand a range of exciting live music opportunities and Music Canada Live is here to protect and foster the diversity of these experiences.”

One of the highlights of the annual general meeting was welcoming six new members to join the board: Sandra Butel, artistic director & CEO, Regina Folk Festival; Louis Thomas, president, Sonic Entertainment Group; Tracy Jenkins, executive and co-artistic director, Lula Music and Arts Centre; Kevin Donnelly, senior vice president, venues & entertainment, True North Sports and Entertainment; Nick Blasko, director, Amelia Artists Inc. and Atomique Productions Ltd;. and Louis Bellavance, programming director, Festival d’Ete de Quebec. Music Canada Live has key stakeholders in leadership positions in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, and recently launched Atlantic Canada.

Some achievements and highlights from Music Canada Live’s introductory year include:

Regional Advisory Council Program (RAC)
One of Music Canada Live’s leading initiatives, the mandate of the RAC program includes the examination and evaluation of issues such as immigration and taxation, funding models, licensing and bylaws and other non-competitive topics that directly impact live music in each respective region. Councils are led by both a non-profit and for profit chair in each region.

Ontario Live Music Collaborative Marketing Initiative (OLMMI)
Slated to be delivered in 2017 with plans to develop the pilot in other provinces and regions, the object of the OLMMI project is to link live music event producers in Ontario with stakeholders in the tourism promotion sector (including governments). The aim is use the draw of music events to attract increased tourists to Ontario.

Austin Toronto Music Business Trade Summit
Music Canada Live produced the Austin/Toronto Music Business Trade Summit, bringing together 26 Toronto delegates and 22 Austin music stakeholders to share best practises and build relationships. Discussions included conversation how the two cities could continue their unique collaborations.

Best Practices Tool Kit
With an aim to developing best practices based on topics that impact day to day operations, Music Canada Live developed two, new complete documents that would kick start the toolkit in response to industry needs.

In the next year, Music Canada Live will continue to elevate live music’s profile across the country, activating and convening Regional Advisory Councils across Canada, ensuring more enhanced activity in all provinces and regions and diversifying and implementing networking and business development activities and events.

Top priorities include the continued championing of federal policy strategies that support and include the live music industry; a national tourism strategy that leverages the power of live music as well as a national live music economic impact study. Music Canada Live is also working on creating additional best practices tool kits for its membership relating to issues such as safety and accessibility at music festivals and live music venues, as well as continuing to promote more partnerships within the industry itself.

Read the 2015 – 2016 Annual Report here.