Economic impact of Toronto live music venues totals $850 million, providing 10,500 full-time jobs

Today, Mayor John Tory and the Canadian Live Music Association, in partnership with Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area and Ontario Creates, released the results of a long-awaited Toronto venues study, Re:Venues: A Case and Path Forward for Toronto’s Live Music Industry. Among other findings, the study confirms that the total economic impact of Toronto live music venues is $850 million annually, providing the equivalent of 10,500 full-time jobs.

Mayor Tory was joined for this online announcement by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee, Night Economy Ambassador and member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Ward 9 Davenport), member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, and industry partners Erin Benjamin, President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, Jesse Kumagai, Board Chair of the Canadian Live Music Association, Mark Garner, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, and Kristian Roberts, Partner at Nordicity.

Conducted by Nordicity, the two-year study measured the economic and cultural impacts of Toronto’s live music venues, underscoring their importance to Toronto's economy and highlighting the key role these establishments play in a thriving music ecosystem. The study also provides recommendations for supporting and protecting this vital sector and suggests actions for prioritizing live music as Toronto rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings from the study include:

  • Live music venues in Toronto generate a total economic impact of $850 million annually, while providing the equivalent of 10,500 full-time jobs.
  • Labour income generated by the operations and tourism impacts of Toronto's live music venues totals $514 million each year.
  • Although the largest concentration of music venues is in the downtown core, live music is found across the city. On average, venues feature live music an average of four days per week, providing an essential career stepping stone for emerging local artists while also entertaining audiences with a variety of touring acts. Approximately two-thirds of the acts featured at these venues perform original music.
  • Even before COVID-19, Toronto saw an alarming number of venues close their doors, often due to rising rent and redevelopment.
  • Now more than ever, live music venues need support.
The Re:Venues: A Case and Path Forward for Toronto’s Live Music Industry study is available at http://www.toronto.ca/music.

In recognition of the ongoing financial challenges facing live music venues, the City created a tax relief program to support this essential part of Toronto's music scene. Forty-eight establishments will receive a combined $1.7 million in property tax relief this year as a result of the City's expansion of the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass to support live music venues.

Since March, the City has introduced new programs to help businesses and cultural organizations mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/covid-19-business-sector-resources/.

As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, all people in Toronto should adopt steps for self-protection. Individuals should only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education and fitness. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact with people not in the same household, keep at least six feet apart from people not in the same household and wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Residents should wash hands frequently and remain at home when ill. Toronto Public Health also encourages residents to download the COVID Alert app, which can help to notify individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 in the community.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check http://www.toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to commonly asked questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID hotline or 311.

Quotes:

"Toronto’s live music venues contribute greatly to the city's cultural, social and economic fabric but these venues require critical support in the face of ongoing pressures that have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. This long-awaited study has confirmed the vital role the industry plays in our city and the commitment to supporting them not only through this pandemic but afterwards. I want to thank all the partners involved in helping us bring this study forward and for realizing the need for real support for artists and the music venues they rely on.”

- Mayor John Tory

"Live music generates a tremendous amount of economic activity, especially for our night economy, supporting an entire ecosystem of musicians, venues, audio technicians, production companies, agents, promoters, tour managers, photographers, publicists, digital strategists, as well as the tourism and hospitality industry."

- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development and Culture committee, Night Economy Ambassador and member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee

"Live music venues are the heart and soul of our city. For some time, many venues have been struggling with rising rents, development pressures and an insurance crisis – and are now facing the crushing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to helping them through these difficult times and supporting the cultural, economic, and community benefits that they generate for Toronto."

- Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee

"Our city is home to truly iconic and unique live music venues and they provide tremendous support for our economy as well as our communities, including Toronto's incredibly diverse global music community and the many cultures it supports."

- Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Ward 9 Davenport), member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee

“This powerful research helps us to tell the story of our precious live music venues and why we need to act now, to ensure their future – for both artists and fans. We call on policymakers, industry and advocacy groups to prioritize the report recommendations and to lend their voice to an industry in dire need of support.”

- Erin Benjamin, President & CEO, Canadian Live Music Association

“The venue study and report is coming at a critical time when the loss of performance venues is at its all-time high. Canadian Live Music Association's leadership and the other key stakeholders participating in this project are ensuring that the importance and value of venues is quantified, not only for their economic contribution but for the quality of life they bring to the neighbourhoods we all live in.”

- Mark Garner Chief Operating Officer, Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area

"At a time when venues are especially vulnerable, the Canadian Live Music Association and the City of Toronto have provided a powerful tool for advocating for the support of live music venues at all levels of government. This eye-opening study underscores the importance of the ongoing work of the City and the Toronto Music Advisory Committee to protect our live music venues."

- Tracy Jenkins, Co-Artistic and Executive Director of Lula Music at Lula Lounge and member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee

On behalf of the Downtown Yonge community, the Business Improvement Area is a non-profit organization that is committed to improving the daily experience of our members, residents, customers and all stakeholders with an end goal of strengthening the culture and economy of Downtown Yonge.

The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) is the voice of Canada’s live music industry. Established in response to an identified need in the music industry, the CLMA represents the full spectrum of the live music sector, including concert promoters, festivals, talent agencies, venues, clubs, arenas, performing arts centres, ticketing companies, industry associations and networks, as well as suppliers to the sector. Its mission is to entrench the economic, social and cultural value of live music – creating the conditions for concerts to thrive, from coast to coast to coast.

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