Ontario Government Announces Formation of $45 Million Ontario Music Fund

The day before the Liberals present the 2013 budget to the Ontario Legislative Assembly May 2, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan announced the creation of the Ontario Music Fund.

The proposed $45 million grant program over three years, starting in 2013-14, would help support and create jobs and position the province as a leading place to record and perform music.

According to Statistics Canada, Ontario's music sector generated $429.3 million in revenues in 2011, accounting for 81.9 percent of total national revenues. A 2010 Survey of Sound Recording and Music Publishing showed Ontario talent, venues and festivals accounted for 80 percent of total national revenues.

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"Our proposed province-wide fund would support new digital and record production," Sousa said in a statement. "It would encourage distribution of Canadian music and help establish Ontario's production studios as global leaders in the business of master recordings. This would also create more job opportunities for artists, and the vast music industry that promotes them."

"Music is an integral part of Ontario's cultural landscape and an innovative economic driver, creating jobs and stimulating growth," stated Chan. "Home to a diverse industry that includes the major labels and our innovative Independents, the new Ontario government's Ontario Music Fund in concert with our Live Music Strategy represent a significant commitment by Ontario to strengthen our music industry, promote tourism and enhance our province's profile as a global music leader and premier music destination."

Earlier this year, the Ontario government revealed the assembly of key music industry figures to aid in a live music strategy designed to strengthen the Canadian province's position as a global leader for live music.

While no specifics have been released pertaining to what level of company or artist is eligible to access The Ontario Music Fund, the press release from the Ministry of Finance states it is to "support new digital and record production and distribution of Canadian music, increase partnership opportunities, and promote Ontario's music industry in Canada and around the globe. It would also help the industry innovate, invest and take advantage of opportunities in the global music marketplace, bringing more business to Ontario."

An Economic Analysis of the Sound Recording Industry In Canada, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2011 for Music Canada, found that the live music sector generates an estimated $455 million in revenues and contributes $252 million to the Canadian economy. An Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, prepared by Research Resolutions & Consulting Ltd, for the Ontario Arts Council, lists spending in the province by arts and culture tourists at $4.1 billion in 2010.

"Music is a superpower that's primed and ready to perform for Ontario," said Music Canada president Graham Henderson. "It's a smart investment given the globally competitive advantage we have in the recorded and live music sectors. Research has shown that targeted support for music will pay off with enormous dividends including job growth, increased investment, tourism and the transformation of Ontario into one of the recording capitals of the world. As we in the music community like to say, music can help."