Music Canada Announces Strategic Initiatives Portfolio to Streamline Its Support of Music Education & the Music Ecosystem

Music Canada has announced the creation of a new business unit known as Strategic Initiatives. This new division includes a portfolio of initiatives that it says are designed to better support the music ecosystem. The move follows a strategic restructuring of Music Canada's organization "designed to increase the positive and measurable impact that Music Canada can have on the entire Canadian music industry."

Music Canada says the changes are part of its commitment to be an agent of change with respect to business and social issues impacting the contemporary music community.

In recent months, Music Canada discontinued operations of its affiliate non-profit Music Canada Cares and transitioned Sarah Hashem, the organization’s former Managing Director, to establish and lead the Strategic Initiatives portfolio at Music Canada.

Through its Three R’s Music Program, Music Canada Cares' aim was to improve equitable access to quality music education.The program supplied refurbished and recycled music instruments to Ontario’s publicly-funded schools. In total, 3,120 instruments were collected at Music Canada Cares community drives across the province. The donated instruments were then refurbished and repaired, and distributed to Ontario’s public schools, with priority given to underserved communities, particularly at-risk, Indigenous, and other underrepresented communities.

A total of 166 schools received the refurbished instruments, or grants to repair their existing instrument inventory to fully functioning condition. Many of the repairs were conducted at local repair shops, driving economic activity within the local community, according to Music Canada.

“While Music Canada Cares was successful in delivering exceptional results to students across Ontario’s public schools, we believe our greatest opportunity is to integrate our industry leadership role within the Music Canada daily operations and shift our focus from service delivery to long-term structural improvements to music education and other key issues,” says Graham Henderson (pictured above), Music Canada’s President and CEO.

“We have developed a comprehensive strategy to support the Canadian music ecosystem at every stage,” adds Sarah Hashem, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Music Canada. “Our initiatives will be classified in relation to four key pillars: create, develop, elevate, and celebrate.”

Consistent with its "create" mandate and music education-related objectives, Music Canada is continuting to sponsor a national music education study. The study, which is being led by the Coalition for Music Education, in partnership with Music Canada, the Canadian Music Educators’ Association, MusiCounts/CARAS, People for Education, and the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning, is projected to be released in summer of 2020. The study will provide a picture of the state of music education across Canada, and help determine Music Canada's future projects in this area.

Regarding the "develop" pillar, Music Canada’s touts its dedicated initiative to artist-entrepreneurs, which will enable artists’ business success. This initiative includes a partnership with CONNECT Music Licensing to study artists’ business needs, which will help guide the development of its programs.

Music Canada's Music Cities Strategy work will continue under the "elevate" pillar. Music Canada has been a global leader in Music Cities research and advocacy for nearly a decade. It says its work in this area will move forward with an inclusion lens, and through work with partners like the Canadian Chambers of Commerce.

The "celebrate" pillar includes Music Canada's Gold/Platinum certification program, which celebrates milestone sales of music in Canada. With over 20,000 albums, singles, digital downloads, ringtones, and music videos certified since its launch in 1975, the Music Canada’s Gold/Platinum program provides a historical timeline of popular music in Canada. This pillar also captures the other ways Music Canada celebrates music’s contributions to Canada’s cultural identity, such as through partnerships with organizations such as the JUNO Awards and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

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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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