Room to grow: The live music industry in Canada (Nordicity Snapshot)
Posted by Mila Dechef-Tweddle in Toronto on Jan 14, 2016

Music Canada Releases Live Music Measures Up

On December 8th, Kristian, Mila, Peter and Christos from the Toronto office were out in full force to mark the official launch of Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario, for which Nordicity was the research partner. Music Canada hosted a great event in the courtyard at their offices in Liberty Village, complete with a lovely and intimate performance by Sarah MacDougall.

It was a celebratory event, marking the release of the “first-ever true measurement of live music’s impact on Ontario”, as Music Canada’s President Graham Henderson put it. The report not only provided much-needed benchmark data about the size, structure and impact of the industry in Ontario. It also showed that the industry was having a much larger impact than previously estimated and that it was poised for growth. As Music Canada Live’s Executive Director Erin Benjamin said, the report provided “indispensable, game-changing evidence” about the importance and impact of the industry in Ontario. The results of the study left everyone in the room wondering what the figures would look like for the Canadian industry overall?

Seizing the opportunity for growth

The most striking aspect of the event, however, was the palpable excitement in the room about the future of live music and its apparent “room to grow”, not just in Ontario but across the country. For example, the report showed that 83% of live music companies in Ontario expect some revenue growth over the next 1-2 years, indicating that the industry is optimistic about its own future.

As Henderson explained, the live music industry in Canada is experience a renaissance of types, marked in part by the launch of the Ontario Live Music Strategy and the Ontario Music Fund in 2013, as well as the launch of Music Canada Live in 2014. He called for the industry in Ontario and across the country to harness the current momentum and seize the opportunity for growth. He emphasized music tourism as a major opportunity for industry growth, citing figures from the report that indicated that only 6% of live music event tickets are sold to audience members originating from outside of Ontario and 5% to audience members originating from outside of Canada.

Henderson called (not for the first time) for the live music industry to come together to create a compelling live music brand that can be effectively sold to stimulate tourism both across provincial borders and from outside the country. He sees the potential in creating a tourism destination out of Canada’s live music industry.

It remains to be seen what the future holds, but this landmark study has set the stage for measuring and tracking growth in the industry across Canada and will provide cirtical information as the industry makes strategic decisions about its future.

About the Author

Nordicity Senior Consultant Mila Dechef-TweddleMila is a Senior Consultant in Nordicity’s Toronto Office. Mila keeps busy helping the cultural and creative industries define, measure and develop themselves.