fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

‘The envy of the world’: How public funds boost Canadian music

Agent Jack Ross, the newly appointed co-head of APA in Canada, has hailed Canadian authorities’ support for music businesses as being key to the health of its thriving live music industry.

Speaking to IQ for issue 74’s Canada market report, Ross identifies the grants provided by federal, provincial and municipal governments for events where live music is a major component as a significant contributor to the success of Canada’s concert market, which at US$711m (C$907m) is the world’s seventh largest (see PwC figures from the ITY 2017).

“That support,” he says, “really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly.”

“It’s robust,” agrees Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500–700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price,” says Cressman, “almost always does predictable business.”

Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrates how important it is to the Canadian economy.

“The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business”

The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2bn to Ontario’s gross domestic product.

While optimism was expressed by most people interviewed for the market report, the Canadian live music industry isn’t without its challenges. These include the secondary ticketing market, which the Ontario government is trying to curtail with new (albeit not universally supported) legislation, and the low value of the Canadian dollar compared to its American counterpart, which can in turn work to the advantage of homegrown artists who get paid in ‘loonies’.

“Every time we put an offer in for a US artist, a dollar is costing us C$1.35,” says Louis Thomas, president and owner of Sonic Entertainment Group, a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based concert promotion and artist management company that also owns a record label and recording studio. “That has a big impact on ticket prices, at the end of the day.”

Read the full market report, which focuses on Canada’s major promoters, venues, festivals and more, here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

O Canada: market report

Canada’s economy has led G7 nations in growth in 2017, and that momentum seems to have carried over to the live music industry to a large degree.

“It’s robust,” says Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500-700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business.”

Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrated how important it is. The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2billion (€0.8bn) to Ontario’s gross domestic product.

Those numbers have likely increased, and can be extrapolated across the country, according to Erin Benjamin, executive director of Music Canada Live, which was created in the fall of 2014 to advance and promote the live music industry’s many economic, social and cultural benefits.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennial, as communities across the country often included live music in their celebrations of the nation’s 150th birthday.

While the Canadian recording industry has benefited from national sources of funding – including the Canada Music Fund, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), Radio Starmaker Fund, VideoFACT, PromoFACT and the SOCAN Foundation – and broadcasters being legally obliged to play a minimum amount of Canadian content, the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government also provide grants for events and festivals where live music is a major component.

“That support really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly,” says Jack Ross, who heads the newly opened Canadian office of the Los Angeles-based APA talent agency along with Ralph James.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennia

But that’s not stopping Music Canada Live and its more than 125 members – including concert promoters, festivals, presenters, venues, agents, ticketing companies, industry associations and suppliers – from advocating for policy advancement and increased funding, public awareness and research.

“Live music hasn’t effectively told its story with a united voice, and it’s my job to do that,” says Benjamin. “When we’re truly united by this association, whether it’s with me or ten executive directors from now, we will be the most powerful piece of Canada’s music industry because of the connection between artists and fans.”

Shawn Sakamoto, vice-president of Lethbridge, Alberta-based live event production and management company Sakamoto Entertainment, would like to see Canadian content regulations introduced to the domestic live music sector, which he believes has suffered due to “monopolisation of the touring market by entities such as Live Nation” and other multinational companies. He advocates Canadian artists being added to national tours by international performers in order to give them further exposure.

Confidence in Canada from American companies was shown this summer when, after LA-based United Talent Agency closed its Canadian office, APA and LA-based Paradigm Talent Agency both opened up shop in Toronto. They join the Feldman Agency and Paquin Artists Agency as Canada’s largest, while several smaller domestic agencies are also active.

“That competition is going to be a good thing for Canadian artists, and it will be a good thing for the music industry overall,” says Ross.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 74:

More UTA Toronto staff find homes at APA, Paquin

Two further booking agencies have made hires from United Talent Agency (UTA) in North America, as the agency’s Canadian staff continue to seek new opportunities ahead of the impending closure of its Toronto office.

Agents Adam Kreeft and Rob Thornton, who had been with the UTA – then The Agency Group – since 2012 and 2007, respectively, join Canadian agency Paquin Entertainment Group, which has offices in Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver. Both Kreeft and Thornton will work out of Paquin’s Toronto office, along with fellow UTA alumnus Sarah Litt, who will be taking on an assistant role.

“With Adam and Rob, we are welcoming two agents who bring a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to a team poised for tremendous growth,” says Paquin president Julien Paquin. “I’m confident that they will both effortlessly integrate into our team and further foster Paquin’s commitment to our artists – and their development – in collaboration with our strong relationships within the industry, as well as our dedication to building a strong music community in Canada.”

Kreeft says he’s “excited to join Paquin, an agency that embraces and embodies what I love about being an agent”. “I’m really psyched to continue working alongside my longtime colleagues Rob Thornton and Sarah Litt, who will be making the move with me as well,” he adds.

“We’re very excited to be investing in Canadian artists and the city of Toronto”

Fellow Agency Group veterans Ralph James and Jack Ross, meanwhile, have been recruited by the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) to oversee its new Toronto office, where they will be joined by former UTA colleagues Stefanie Purificati and Mike Graham.

James (pictured) brings several high-profile Canadian clients to LA-headquartered APA, including Nickelback, Billy Talent, Big Sugar and The Trews.

“It’s an honour to be in business with such accomplished and respected industry vets as Ralph and Jack,” say APA’s Steve Martin and Jim Gosnell in a joint statement. “We’re very excited to be investing in Canadian artists and the city of Toronto as we continue to expand APA’s global footprint.”

The hires by APA and Paquin follow Paradigm Talent Agency’s announcement last week it is to open its first Canadian office, overseen by former UTA agent Rob Zifarelli, in Toronto.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UTA to close Toronto office

Booking agency United Talent Agency (UTA) is closing its Toronto office two years after acquiring The Agency Group (TAG), a memo seen by Billboard says.

The 23 people working at the Canadian office, including COO Jack Ross and CEO Ralph James, will lose their jobs.

The roster includes Nickelback, Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, City On Fire and Feist. UTA plans to move some artists to its offices in London and New York.

The memo from CEO Jeremy Zimmer says: “After considering where we see the strongest prospects for continued growth, we have made the decision to take additional steps to focus our global music practice in the US and UK.

“I certainly plan to continue as an agent and continue representing my clients”

“This will mainly impact our colleagues in Toronto, where we will be closing that office over the coming months. We’re taking this step after careful consideration, and we recognise it’s a tough one for our colleagues there. They are talented professionals who we’ve collaborated with for many years and who have contributed to our success. We are incredibly grateful to every one of them. But we believe this is the strongest and best strategic decision for UTA Music going forward, one that will allow us to put even greater focus on artist development and our full-service approach to our clients.”

Ross, who set up the Toronto office with TAG founder Neil Warnock, told Billboard: “I’ve been representing a core group of Canadian artists for a long time and many of our clients have been with us for decades.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I can tell you that I certainly plan to continue as an agent and continue representing my clients, continue to grow and develop agents and music industry professionals. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to work with like-minded people who believe in artist development and agent development and who see Canada and Toronto as a great place to be in business.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.