Global Toronto Music Conference Aims to Re-Imagine & Shape a Better Music Sector

This week, Small World Music launches its annual Global Toronto 2021 (GT21) music conference and showcase, opening its online platform, releasing pre-recorded panels, sharing programming details, and more.

This year’s global gathering explores equitable systems, climate justice, and the barriers that continue to exclude equity-deserving communities. The conference organizers say they achieve this through action-based conversation, programming, and events that will assist in developing ways to improve full-sector participation. In 2021, topics include Indigenous-settler relations, interrogating the idea of genre, and the power of peer-assessment jurors.

While the panels lean into social and political issues, there is also space for professional development sessions, from a TikTok masterclass to post-pandemic streaming strategy, EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) planning, tips from music supervisors, and more. GT21 panelists include international representatives from Keychange, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Le Phoque OFF, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Beirut & Beyond, and more. For a full list of GT21 panels and speakers, visit the website.

Panel audio recordings are now accessible to registered participants on the GT21 online platform. Participants can listen on their own schedule before continuing and contributing to important conversations in small-group Breakout Sessions during the GT21 week (June 14 18). To access panels, register here and view the full program here.

Small World Music is hosting the Global Toronto conference on their own app, Minodee (the Anishinaabe word for “good-hearted”). Powered by Swapcard, Minodee is an innovative shared online conference space for events prioritizing equity, accessibility, sustainability, and the representation of equity-seeking voices. Registered participants on iOS can access the conference by downloading the Minodee app here, while Android users can download it here.

An array of artists will be ambassadors for all countries and styles, with a spotlight on AfrotroniX, Bantü Salsa, Briga, The Commotions, Élage Diouf, Golnar & Mahan Trio, Waahli, Labess, The Liquor Store, Moneka Arabic Jazz, Pantayo, PIQSIQ, Malika Tirolien, Turkwaz, Le Vent Du Nord, Bruno Capinan, Due Perse-Inca, Fanfara Station, Kurbasy and Moskitto Bar. Learn more about Global Toronto’s artists here.

Hundreds of participants from around the world have attended Global Toronto to connect with international markets on an impactful, intentional level. The conference engages the industry on a full spectrum, offering a powerful experience for: artists, agents, presenters, festivals, promoters, arts organizations, managers and producers, artist-activists, social-justice workers and organizations, influencers, educators, advocates, Canadian and Foreign Government officials, including embassies, music export representatives, and city officials, music businesses and organizations of all kinds, including record label executives and major conferences (WOMEX [EU], CMW [Canada], BIME [Spain], Circulart [Colombia]) and more.

This year’s event strives to prioritize under-represented voices and players in the international music industry through powerful conversations on systemic issues affecting the industry and building pathways to addressing them, but also creating deep relationships in markets not often present in similar events. Global Toronto will shine the spotlight on the following regional partners:

MusiConnect Asia – who will present the second edition of the Asia Music Summit, delving into some of the regions that comprise the 52-country area.

Bayimba Cultural Foundation – producers of the DOADOA East African Performing Arts Market, join forces with leaders from across the African continent to create spaces for Northern, Eastern, Western, and Southern delegations to gather and connect.

GT21 will also shine a spotlight on two South American countries. Working with agency/record label, Planea Música, and noted music conference Fluvial, several dozen industry professionals from Paraguay and Chile, will be introduced.

Two Canadian organizations are helping GT21 build bridges to and through European territories: TEMPOConnect observes the Italian market, while URGNT’s project, BLOK, shines a light on Ukraine.

Learn more about Global Toronto’s partners here.

Guided by the principles — equity, accessibility, and sustainability — Small World Music is offering a Pay What You Can (PWYC) option given this year’s financial pressure.

For more information, go to

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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