Calgary Stampede is a Music City Cornerstone

The 2017 line up for the Calgary Stampede will see 45 separate shows, with performances from artists such as Grammy winners The Chainsmokers, as well as Dustin Lynch, Big Sean, Fetty Wap, Canadian artists Nelly Furtado, and The Strumbellas. The Cowboys Music Festival, remains one the hubs for high profile concerts, with thousands of people packing the tent to see some of the greatest artists found around the world.

With over a million people attending, including thousands of tourists and sell-out events, Stampede is a clear example of how music contributes to our economy. In fact, try to imagine these 10 days without music. Impossible.

Night Time Economy is Critical for Music Cities

The Night Time Economy was the main topic of discussion at Alberta Music Cities second Guest Speaker Luncheon Series in June. Shain Shapiro, Founder of Sound Diplomacy, highlighted the importance of understanding the music industry as wide-reaching ecosystem in a successful music city.

According to Shain, a music ecosystem translates into creating successful music policy, “which only happens when half the people involved are not from the music industry itself.” During his address, Shain showed a photo of a band performing on stage to flush out the idea of music as an ecosystem. “I can count over 30 jobs alone in this one photo”, he said, explaining that not only was there music involved, but there was design, food and beverage, security, manufacturing and marketing. Alberta Music Cities understands that music means business, it means jobs, and in turn, that means economic growth.

Sound Diplomacy doesn’t view the music economy as black or white, or as the recording industry versus live performances, but instead poses questions, such as: “do you want 10,000 more tourists this year?” Music is a tool, and in order for us to use it effectively, we must ask the question, “what would our province look like if we championed the idea of nighttime economy?” According to Sound Diplomacy, this means focusing on what goes on after traditional business hours – ‘the other nine to five’.

A thriving night time economy will be an outcome of Alberta Music Cities’ work. To get there, we are creating a provincial Advisory Committee, with additional city-based working groups in Calgary and Edmonton. If you are inspired by our vision, we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to us with your contact information at

Music Canada Live, Alberta Music Cities and the Value of Music

Early last week Erin Benjamin, Executive Director at Music Canada Live, gave a Keynote Address at the first AMC Luncheon Speaker Series in Edmonton and Calgary, giving listeners a glimpse at the significant impact music has had around the world. A key message was the previously unknown economic value of live music. Recents studies show live music contributing 4.1 billion pounds to the UK economy through tourism alone, with a  1.2 billion dollar GDP impact in Ontario.

In a speech peppered with positive outcomes, eye-opening stats and success stories, there was one common theme that was clear – Music and Economics work together. Alberta Music Cities intends to build on key music assets that already exist in our province to grow the activity in the music economy, inspired by the success stories we see in other places that have taken the music business seriously.

The examples are numerous: music has to power to maximize and diversify the economy. For Alberta to realize the same results, we must do a few key things.

“Take a hard look at the relationship between live music and the Alberta economy and work with the industry here to influence what we have, what we can build and what will follow when we do.”

Most important, it is time to “take music out of the culture box, and put it in the business conversation.”

Calgary’s Bridgeland is Alberta’s songwriting ‘hood!

There are a lot of ingredients needed to make a music city. At the top of the list? Musicians!

SOCAN has recently released a study of Canada’s top neighbourhoods for music creation, specifically, the places that songwriters and composers call home. In Alberta, Calgary’s Bridgeland is at the top of the list.

Check out the full report here.

Check out the Calgary Herald article on Bridgeland here.

How do studies like these help us understand the dynamics and benefits of music cities? SOCAN’s Berthoff tells the Herald that the numbers are important because “they really point to that ecosystem — the economy of music. Where music is made and then played, the trickle-down effect is really strong economically. We really see these neighbourhoods doing well overall and prospering and it’s no coincidence that music is playing a great role in that. Music creators play a key role in their communities as cultural entrepreneurs.”

We’re Live!

Alberta Music Cities has been working in the background for several months on our efforts to maximize the economic impact of music on Alberta’s cities. At the start, our focus is on the largest music economies in the province: Edmonton and Calgary. Over time, we will expand our efforts to include all urban municipalities in the province.

Our work is inspired in part by the work of Music Canada, and the significant investments made by provincial governments in the music industries of British Columbia and Ontario. It is clear that Alberta needs to diversify its economy. It is also clear that we have a significant natural resource in the talent and entrepreneurial nature of Alberta’s musicians, managers, labels, recording studios, live music venues, festivals and events, and the many other related and supporting industries and professions.

Please follow this website and sign up to our mailing list to be in the loop on our progress, and to receive invitations to our coming events.

BC’s Music Sector – From Adversity to Opportunity

From Adversity to Opportunity promotes the value of music and exemplifies how a province can benefit when it has community support systems and government intervention. To find out how BC has successfully invested in its local music industry, read the overview and download the report here.

Fertile Ground Report

In early 2014, NMC approached Music Canada, a national non-profit trade organization, on taking a critical look at the music landscape in Alberta. The report focused on breaking music out of the cultural box, and into the general consciousness of Alberta’s economic leaders.

The report concludes with four key recommendations for the growth and development of the commercial music industry in Alberta:

  • Develop a comprehensive understating of the economic profile of Alberta’s music cluster, with regional breakouts for Calgary and Edmonton as well as other smaller cities as appropriate.
  • Position music as a key economic sector, a vehicle for the diversification of Alberta’s economy, and a tool that municipalities can use to stimulate economic growth, increase investment, retain youth, and drive tourism.
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan to build the business capacity of the music industry in Alberta.
  • Develop and implement a live music strategy for Alberta to improve the live music product offering in Alberta and generate increased music tourism.

Click here to download the 2014 Fertile Ground report.


City of Toronto Taking Action on Live Music Venue Closure

After closing several live music venues in Toronto, The City Council has now taken action to prevent further closures and to help facilitate the growth of their cherished music scene. Read more on