Ontario Government Forms Live Music Working Group
Devin Gasteiger, Van Valkenburg Communications

Above, from L-R: Michael Hollett, President/Managing Director, NXNE; Stuart Johnston, President, Canadian Independent Music Association and MusicOntario; the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport for Ontario; Graham Henderson, President, Music Canada

Ontario's Liberal government has assembled 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.

The strategy is intended to boost concert attendance, visitor spending and economic impact.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2010 Survey of Sound Recording and Music Publishing, Ontario talent, venues and festivals accounted for 80 percent of total national revenues, up from 65 percent in 2005. 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 (growing at an annual average rate of 6.4 percent since 2010).

An Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, prepared this month 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 (36 percent of spending by all tourists in Ontario that year).

Much more than a task force or advisory board, the “industry working group,” as they are calling it, is comprised of representatives from three agencies of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport — the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership — in addition to the chambers of commerce and executives from various facets of the Ontario music industry: concert promoters, venues, managers, music associations and festivals.

While elements of the strategy will continue to be rolled out over the spring and summer, 2013, the core objectives, as outlined in a press release from Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, are: to develop a coordinated live music marketing and promotions plan; leverage existing resources; create opportunities to promote music through measures such as new online resources; and position Ontario as a premier global destination for live music and music tourism through the province’s international marketing initiatives. A key initiative is the creation of a live music promotions portal that will provide information on all of Ontario’s live music events.

The 21 members of the working group are: Riley O’Connor, president, Live Nation Canada; Jack Ross, vice-president, The Agency Group; Tim Trombley, director, entertainment, Windsor Casino; Gil Moore, president, Metalworks Studio; Jeff Cohen, owner, Collective Concerts; Neill Dixon, president, Canadian Music Week; Mike Tanner, operations manager, North By Northeast; Larry Wanagas, president, Bumstead Productions; Graham Henderson, president, Music Canada; Amy Terrill, vice-president, public affairs, Music Canada; Del Rollo, national director, hospitality, Great Estate Wines of Niagara; Jesse Kumagai, director, programming, Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall; Andy Maize, artist, Skydiggers; Candace Shaw, artistic director, Peterborough Folk Festival; Brian Ohl, president, Labatt Centre London; Scott Honsberger, president, MusicOntario; Stuart Johnston, president, Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), joining David Adames, president/CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce; Karen Thorne-Stone, president/CEO, OMDC; Michael Adam Murray, music offiver, OAC; and Ronald Holgerson, president/CEO, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation.