The making of a music city

June 08, 2015


During last week’s Midem conference in Cannes, Music Canada and the IFPI released their much-anticipated list of steps to help cities boost their music economy.

The Mastering of a Music City, Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why it’s Worth Pursuing was put together using examples from 22 Music Cities around the world. The report defines a Music City as “a community of any size with a vibrant music economy,” highlighting Austin, Berlin, and Melbourne as examples.

The secrets to creating a Music City are outlined in the following key strategies. They are:

  • Music-friendly and musician-friendly policy framework
  • Music offices
  • Advisory boards
  • Community collaboration
  • Spaces and music hubs
  • Audience and fan base
  • Music tourism

The report lists other key recommendations for Music City success including the necessity of capturing a music identity, the importance of music education, and the need for government support.

Of course, not all Music Cities are the same. Using the seven steps, each city looking to boost its music economy will need to cater the advice to its needs and audiences.

While few cities can reach the potential of the Toronto music scene, Music Canada President, Graham Henderson says “communities of any size, anywhere in the world, can assess the extent to which they have the essential ingredients for a Music City, and deploy the strategies successfully used in the likes of Nashville, Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin and other renowned Music Cities, in order to enhance or grow theirs. These strategies don’t necessarily require heavy investment-addressing red tape and establishing dialogue between leaders in the music community and city officials are inexpensive ways to grow music’s contributions.”

In 2012, Music Canada released a report titled, Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas. The report supported an alliance between Toronto and Austin, in an effort to boost cultural and economic opportunities in both cities.

In a similar fashion, National Music Centre released a report back in November with the help of Music Canada, the Scotlyn Foundation, and Alberta Music. Called Fertile Ground: Alberta Music Cities Initiative, the report makes several recommendations to help grow and sustain the province’s music industry.

The Mastering of a Music City full report and handy infographic is available here.


In other news…


Leyland Bradley
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Get at me @LeylandMarie or

About the Author

Leyland Bradley

Born in Halifax and raised in small town Alberta, Leyland is happily enjoying the big city life. When she's not writing for NMC, Leyland is either watching German movies or dreaming about running through forests.

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