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New Report Offers a New Vision & Recommendations for Ontario's Live Music Industry

[![Moon King performing at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern [Photo courtesy of NXNE]](/content/images/2016/04/01-NXNE-MoonKing-300x200.jpg)](/content/images/2016/04/01-NXNE-MoonKing.jpg)Moon King performing at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern [Photo courtesy of NXNE]
The Ontario Live Music Working Group (OLMWG), an industry/government round-table convened by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, announced its “Vision for Ontario’s Live Music Industry” during a press conference hosted by Music Canada Live on Monday, April 16, 2018 in Toronto.“We are thrilled to be able to share this vision for the live music sector,” said Music Canada Live Executive Director, and OLMWG co-chair, Erin Benjamin. “It’s so timely for industry and artists working within Ontario’s incredible live music community.  We now have a plan to ensure the momentum being built in, and with the support of the Province, can continue. The government’s commitment to the sector is exemplary, and this Vision will help to formalize the critical next step: development of a live music strategy for Ontario.”

The vision, which aims to capitalize on the energy and potential of Ontario’s live music sector by making a series of attainable recommendations, was developed by a committee of live music leadership through consultations with diverse festival and venue operators, presenters, promoters, artists, managers, agents, music associations, and industry leadership. Establishing a course of action for the industry to take, the plan serves to grow Ontario’s live music sector and highlight the crucial role that live music industry plays: economically, socially, and culturally.

The live music industry in Ontario sustains more than 20,000 jobs and contributes $1.2 billion dollars to provincial GDP, according to the group. By laying out a vision (which includes identifying priorities, reflecting all key parts of the complex ecosystem, recommending actions to address challenges, barriers and gaps, as well as fostering collaboration), the document addresses: local music scenes, capacity building, promotion and marketing, regulatory challenges, industry infrastructure, and impact measurement.  The OLMWG says its vision for growth includes clear, measurable targets and is supported fully by government.

The four recommendations that the document lays out are:

1 – Identify and facilitate strategic relationships between government and live music presenters to address policy barriers and grow live music presentation.
2 – Encourage partnership and mentoring between promoters of large and small events, established and emerging music businesses, and different genres, to support cross-development of local music scenes.
3 – Raise awareness within the live music industry and among regulators about DIY music presentation, and work to ensure that such spaces are able to thrive in a safe and secure way.
4 – Build greater awareness and strengthen the voice of grassroots music presenters with regard to existing programs and supports, both government and industry-based.

“The live music sector is crucial to the cultural and economic verve of Ontario, and significantly contributes to the quality of life in communities across the province,” said Minister Vernile. “The Vision for Ontario’s Live Music Industry is a collaborative milestone between the sector and our government, and fulfills our commitment to develop and grow the live music industry in Ontario.”

The full document can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport website HERE.

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Mike Raine is the Senior editor of Canadian Musician.