What is it? Infrastructure encompasses all facets of the music industry that underpin the development, creation, marketing, selling and export of music through business activities by music companies and entrepreneurs.
What it looks like according to folks we talked to…
Strong local advertising of music events
Ongoing and new music events continue to take place
Evidence of many partnerships within and across the music scene
Keep scrolling for ideas and examples of bringing music infrastructure to life in your corner of Alberta.
Not sure where to start? Look for ideas with the colour associated with your role in the music industry:
Promote music events and assets (e.g., venues, businesses, etc.) on a municipal level, through city/town councils, chambers of commerce and tourism boards. A major need identified by participants was support for advertising/marketing.
Host regular ongoing music events. This is key to building infrastructure for music in small towns. It creates more opportunities for people to work in the industry. Regular shows mean regular work for key industry people like musicians, sound and light techs, promoters, and venues.
LocalExample:Ross Street Patio hosted live music through summer and fall months free for Red Deer residents and visitors as part of a partnership between the City of Red Deer and the Downtown Business Association
Local Example: Festival Place in Sherwood park has presented the Qualico Patio Series for 26 seasons—an incredibly successful partnership between sponsors and an existing venue
Local Example: One participant shared that when music companies/equipment need to be hired from out of town, they include a clause in contracts that includes hiring local talent where possible—a creative way to provide paid development opportunities locally
Create meaningful partnerships between music communities, businesses, policy makers, chambers of commerce, and tourism boards. This can play a key role in building the infrastructure for a healthy music scene to operate.
Resource/Info: As many music businesses are small businesses and many musicians are also entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce can play an important role in increasing local music capacity. For ideas see the Music Canada Music Cities Toolkit.
Identify infrastructure gaps locally, and in surrounding areas, and determine how to address these.
Local Example:Festival Place in Sherwood Park recognizes the need for local performers to develop and advance shows, so they informally use their 100+ annual bookings to incubate local artists and music businesses. In 2022 they took the risk to book and fund a new production, ‘Folsom Prison Revisited’ by GNR Entertainment. Additionally, by granting them dress rehearsal opportunities, the group was able to get high quality production photos and videos, creating a robust promotional package—key for both the local production and marketing it successfully to other venues
Local Example:Maz Entertainment, based in Lloydminster, successfully provides DJ and production services to Lloydminster and surrounding area (since 2011), filling a previous service gap
Info: It’s important to recognize that while music-related businesses and professionals are essential to the overall success of a music city, “it is not uncommon to have gaps in this category and still succeed overall” (p.19, The Mastering of a Music City). The key is to identify the gaps most in need of addressing for your local music industry members. For example, not every small town requires a production company, but establishing one that can serve a region could be very effective.
Another partner to consider in developing this area of your local music scene: