Music City Strategies

Music: a universal language

It connects us. It can stir our hearts. It can define moments and eras of our lives.

It can also be big business.

That’s why West Anthem, the Government of Alberta, and Alberta Music 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 from the last decade. Here you will find milestones from that journey and keep 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. Music is poised to thrive alongside and enhance other upcoming provincial industries such as gaming, filmmaking, and live experiences. So 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.”

The Mastering of a Music City (2015), p.10

Milestones on our Journey

West Anthem partners with Alberta Music and the Government of Alberta to develop Music City strategies for Edmonton, Calgary, and a toolkit for smaller municipalities.

West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study published in October.


There was a very distracting world event. Can’t remember specifically, but it was “unprecedented”.

Over 3,040 respondents participated in West Anthem’s two online surveys between November 2019 and January 2020.

“Fertile Ground: The Alberta Music Cities Initiative” Published by the National Music Centre

Scotlyn Foundation and the National Music Centre found Alberta Music Cities Initiative (now known as West Anthem).

“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.”

Music Ecosystem Study (2020), p.8

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 $15-million per year for three years to enhance the music ecosystem. In the first year they saw a return of $24-million in additional revenue to music-related businesses and support for 2,000 jobs. These results solidified the Ontario Music Investment Fund as a permanent program in 2015. British Columbia—hoping in part to slow the drain of talent eastward—created AmplifyBC in 2018. Their initial $7.5-million investment stimulated nearly $30-million in expenditures and supported 3,000 jobs. 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.


Keeping Up To Date

Our timeline will continue to expand and provide links to new reports and documents as they are completed along the way. 

Thanks for visiting and supporting Alberta’s music city strategies.

West Anthem Music City Strategies – Phase Three Report (December 2023)

Music City Strategies – Phase Three Report cover

Another report of findings and learning from phase three of the Music City Strategies work. This report summarizes engagement across this year—including connecting with music industry folks from across the province in small groups, 1:1 interviews and through an online survey.

The next phase is strategy writing and toolkit creation. We’re getting to the finish line—which is really only the beginning!

Read West Anthem Music City Strategies – Phase Three Report

West Anthem Music City Strategies – Phase Two Report (October 2023)

Music City Strategies – Phase Two Report cover

We’re ready to share the findings from another phase of the Music City Strategies work! The Phase Two Report is short and sweet while summarizing our review of music festivals across the province and potential opportunities relating to them.

Stay tuned as we continue to work toward our music city strategies and a toolkit for smaller Alberta municipalities, our next phase report will look at our engagement work over this year and share findings! 

Read West Anthem Music City Strategies – Phase Two Report

West Anthem Music City Strategies – Phase One Report (June 2023)

Music City Strategies – Phase One Report cover

West Anthem is thrilled to announce the release of the Phase One Report for the Music City Strategies for Alberta’s music ecosystem! Music is a vibrant piece of Alberta’s diversifying economy and provides jazz and jobs, fills concert halls and coffers, and continues to keep Alberta as an amazing place to live and work. 

Along with our partners, the Government of Alberta, Alberta Music and the National Music Centre, this initial report aims to lay the groundwork to elevate Alberta’s music profile and identify a path forward for the music ecosystem in the province.

In the near future, we will be creating unique plans to maximize the impact of music in Edmonton, Calgary and across all of Alberta! 

Read West Anthem Music City Strategies – Phase One Report

West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study (October 2020)


West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study cover

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

Read the West Anthem Music Ecosystem Study Final Report

Fertile Ground: Alberta Music Cities Initiative (November 2014)

Fertile Ground: Alberta Music Cities Initiative report cover

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.

Read Fertile Ground: The Alberta Music Cities Initiative Study

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