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APTN Study Finds Indigenous Music Contributed $78 million to Canada’s Economy & Supports Over 3,000 Jobs

APTN has published the first ever National Indigenous Music Impact Study (NIMIS). It looked at the contributions made by the Indigenous music community and the impacts that this community has on the Canadian economy and on the social fabric of the country. The study also looked at the Indigenous music community’s challenges and successes and, APTN says, provides the most recent, best available data on any segment of the music industry in Canada.

APTN and its partners engaged with those involved in the Indigenous music community to conduct the study. This included anyone (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) who creates, promotes, and supports Indigenous music in Canada. In total, 620 industry insiders completed the online survey and 70 interviews were held to gain unique insight into the industry.

Some of the key findings of NIMIS show that Indigenous music contributed a total of almost $78 million to Canada’s economy (GDP) and supports more than 3,000 full-time positions across the country. While the Indigenous music community is thriving, the Indigenous music industry, comprised of Indigenous-owned, Indigenous-directed music companies and supporting organizations, is still in its infancy and is poised for development.

As well, the study found that Indigenous musicians (including both full time and part-time artists) earn an average of $47,200 from all sources. However – like many other musicians – almost half of income earned by Indigenous artists is derived from non-music work. Additionally, companies in the Indigenous music community reported that almost half (47%) of their activities last year were related to developing Indigenous music. These activities incurred $17.5 million in expenditures directly related to music by Indigenous artists.

It's also important to note that the study found that there is no agreed-upon definition of Indigenous music, as it cannot be constrained into a single genre, as the Indigenous music community today is characterized by an immense diversity of styles and experiences.

“APTN has always been a leading supporter of the Indigenous music industry in Canada. We set out to gain a better understanding of this group of professionals and what we found is that this industry has a significant impact on the economic and social fabric of Canada," says Jean La Rose, CEO of APTN. "However, the industry also faces challenges, which creates many opportunities for growth. We see this study as a starting point for in depth and informed discussions that will help the industry reach its full potential.”

Music Canada served as a partner with APTN on the study. "Music Canada was proud to partner with APTN on this study, which highlights the important impact Indigenous artists have on the music ecosystem,” says Graham Henderson, president and CEO of Music Canada. “As the first comprehensive study of the Indigenous music industry in Canada to date, this report is contributing to a better understanding of the Indigenous music community’s impact from an economic, social, and cultural perspective.”

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.