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The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada

October 23, 201323 October 2013


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This report from Music Canada, a non-profit trade organization that promotes the interests of its members and their artist partners, provides strategies for supporting the growth of Canada’s commercial music industry, which the report calls “a highly creative and dynamic field that has undergone massive changes with the shift to digital technologies and platforms”.

The report argues that key aspects of the state of the Canadian music industry include:

  • Significant growth in digital revenues but not enough to counter the losses in physical sales.
  • The continued presence of “unlicensed music sources that do not pay artists and music companies”.
  • Continued investment in talent development by music companies “despite the implosion of revenues”.
  • The predominance of online music discovery.
  • The increased importance of live performance revenues in artists’ incomes.

For the first time in a decade, global recorded music revenues increased in 2012. However, the report highlights longer-term revenue challenges for the music industry related to online piracy and “a widespread erosion of respect for the value of music and the investments required to develop artists’ careers”.  The report goes further, contending that there has been “a material erosion in the respect accorded the creative process by society at large”.

The report outlines five critical areas (and 17 recommendations) to support the development of the commercial music industry:

  • Music education is said to be “key to an innovative workforce and cultural and tech hubs”.
  • Digital innovation, including new ways “to encourage consumers to pay willingly for music online”, is critical in driving revenue streams and exposing listeners to new artists.
  • Music tourism – harnessing “the power of live music as an economic asset” – could bolster Canada’s strong live music tradition and support economic development.
  • Export expansion could help foster growth in existing and new markets. “Creating more opportunities for all Canadian-based music companies to develop international relationships for the marketing, promotion and touring of Canadian talent will, therefore, benefit the industry as well as the country as a whole.”
  • Interconnected tax credits, inspired by those related to film and television production, could stimulate economic activity and help attract investment in the industry.


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