Published on May 26, 2014 3:05 pm

MAKING TORONTO THE NEXT “MUSIC CITY”

post-imageDuring Canadian Music Week, John Tory announced his plan to support the growth of the music industry in Toronto.

The plan encompasses three main elements:

1. Support the creation of a stand-alone Music Office: one stop shop to get things moving

Based on the successful model in Austin, Texas, and the success of Toronto’s own film office, a new music office would have two main goals.

  • The first is to reduce red tape: for example with music festivals and live events – for everything from business licenses, to loading and unloading for musicians, to adhering to the city’s postering bylaw.
  • The second is to stimulate greater activity in the music community:  identifying opportunities for new events or partnerships, cross-sector collaboration, and improving information gathering about the city’s music scene.

The newly established Music Advisory Council would support the Music Office.  I would commit to opening the office in 2015.

The annual budget of the music office would be $500,000. Targets would be established and the office’s ability to meet them would be measured over a 5 year term. Expected results would include evidence of greater activity in the sector, increased employment and private sector investment, and greater efficiency at City Hall.

2. Work with the live music community to attract more music tourists to Toronto. 

The City of Toronto and its destination marketing organization, Tourism Toronto, should work with the music community to capture the excitement of Toronto’s music scene. A grassroots initiative to champion Toronto’s position as one of the great music cities in the world already exists, 4479, based on our latitude and longitude.

Building larger audiences will create more demand for live performances, therefore, generating more opportunities for artists to perform and create more jobs in the live music sector.

3. Work with the Music Community to Create a Plan for a more active Outdoor Festival Schedule

Outdoor spaces offer few options for festivals of various sizes in Toronto. Fort York has in recent years become a welcome venue for smaller festivals, but there are very few options available for organizers. Consequently, Toronto is without a large-scale international festival on the scale of Lolapolooza or Coachella or the Austin City Limits Festival. Festivals of this size can attract 75,000 people a day and generate millions of media impressions for their host cities. This is a missing critical component in Toronto’s music infrastructure.

One concurrent development on the horizon is Ontario Place, which may offer one option as we try to fill this gap.