That’s why West Anthem and partners are developing tactical music city strategies for Edmonton and Calgary, and a toolkit to support smaller jurisdictions aiming to grow the impact of music on their communities. To get there, we’re building on research and engagement done over the last decade. This webpage gives you a view of milestones from that journey and keeps you up to date on our process moving forward.
In a province that seeks a more diverse economy, music is an industry that can grow—providing jazz and jobs, filling concerts and coffers, and keeping Alberta the best place to both live and work. It’s poised to thrive alongside and enhance other upcoming provincial industries such as gaming, filmmaking, and live experiences. Se we’re preparing to give it a push forward.
Music cities are
“communities of various sizes that have a vibrant music economy which they actively promote.”
“In 2017, Alberta’s music sector generated a total output (direct, indirect and induced effect) of $4.18 billion and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.10 billion.” (p. 8, Music Ecosystem Study)
We’ve spent years proving the value of music to Alberta’s economy and communities. Without a plan, however, our music industry misses its potential. Other provinces and cities have devised music strategies and reap the benefits of having a concrete vision to use for funding, advocacy, and collaboration.
For example, starting in 2013, the Ontario Music Fund infused $15MIL per year for three years to enhance the music ecosystem. In the first year they saw a return of $24MIL in additional revenue to music-related businesses, and support for 2,000 jobs. So they made the program permanent in 2015. British Columbia—hoping in part to slow the drain of talent eastward—created AmplifyBC in 2018. Their initial $7.5MIL investment stimulated nearly $30MIL in expenditures and supported 3,000 jobs, so that each $1 invested resulted in $3 of economic activity. BC renewed support for Amplify BC in 2021.
With our own strategies in hand, Alberta can realize the economic and societal benefits of music. We can further diversify and drive our economic base while investing in an industry that has countless positive knock-on effects for the wellbeing of Albertans and the liveability of our cities and towns.
Well, our first update is the creation of this webpage! Our timeline will continue to expand and provide links to new reports and documents as they are completed along the way. We’ll be consulting music makers and music lovers on the developing strategies and we’ll share those engagement opportunities on this page. We’ll have an update on that before the end of April!
On behalf of the West Anthem steering committee and our stakeholders, we are very excited to be releasing the following music ecosystem study for the advancement of our industry and our province.
This study provides a snapshot of the Edmonton and Calgary music industry pre-pandemic and provides insight into the immense opportunity music provides for the long-term resiliency and vibrancy of our province.
Read the West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study Executive Summary
Alberta has long been a destination for young people from other parts of the country looking for employment opportunities. A resource-based economy, Alberta consistently delivers strong job growth, so much so that the province cannot keep up with the demand for skilled workers.
This Alberta Music Cities Initiative (AMCI) builds on the strong foundation present in Alberta in live and recorded music. The AMCI was developed while keeping in mind key national priorities for the development of music as well as current strategic directions of agencies and commissions in Alberta including Alberta’s Cultural Industries Division, Calgary Arts Development Authority, Edmonton Arts Council, and The Banff Centre.
Published by the National Music Centre, The Fertile Ground report demonstrates that it is the right time for a coordinated, collaborative focus on music in Alberta. This report outlines four key strategies, starting with a collection of important information about the music sector in order to better understand Alberta’s music story, including its strengths and weaknesses. This information can be found in West Anthem’s Music Ecosystem Study (October 2020).
Read Fertile Ground: The Alberta Music Cities Initiative Study