Artists and musicians joined leaders from music, tourism and City Hall to launch 4479 – a campaign to position Toronto as one of the greatest music cities in the world.
“In my travels I have visited and played in many cities,” says Jim Cuddy. “Many of these cities claim to be recognized by the world as music capitals. My experience tells me that Toronto is second to none as a music city. We have diversity, we have originality and we have a plethora of clubs, concert venues and festivals. Toronto has always fired my imagination and it was only upon returning to Toronto from New York City that Greg and I found the true impetus for Blue Rodeo. Toronto however, suffers from a lack of recognition and something needs to be done to change that. We should be known around the world for the music capital that we are.”
4479 is designed to promote Toronto as a world leader in live and recorded music and also to build a community that engages artists, industry supporters and fans who share the vision of Toronto as a vibrant and diverse music city. Modeled after similar successful efforts in Austin, Texas, the 4479 campaign aims to develop greater opportunities for live music events and better industry-city relations.
“Toronto, with its broad range of music and venues, is unrivaled as a music city,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Currently Toronto is both an amazing incubator of talent and a stop on every world tour while historically we are blessed with a rich musical legacy – we could blue plaque this entire city if we wanted to!”
The idea for the campaign was first discussed at the 2012 launch of a study by Music Canada comparing Toronto to Austin, Texas. The study was launched at NXNE. Since then a growing coalition has been leading efforts to establish a music office and a music advisory board at Toronto City Hall, similar to the facilities in place for film and TV. An informal live music task force has met several times under the direction of City Councillor Josh Colle.
“Toronto has been missing an enormous opportunity to promote and leverage its music scene,” says Josh Colle, Councillor of Ward 15. “On any given night you can see amazing bands, many of them residents of this city, and yet, while we have lavished attention on our other cultural assets, we have largely ignored music. That’s about to change.”
“Setting up a Music Office at City Hall is a key step in fully activating Toronto’s tremendous music scene for the benefit of the entire community,” says Mike Tanner, Operations Manager, NXNE. “And to be most effective, the Music Office and its allied Advisory Board should be staffed by those who best understand the opportunities live music presents to grow business, tourism, and economic impact – and the challenges faced by artists, venues, and promoters in putting music on the street.”
In order to build awareness of the 4479 brand, artists, venues, festivals, promoters and tourism agencies in Toronto will be invited to tag their marketing with 4479. Tourism Toronto, which has recently put a greater emphasis on Toronto’s vibrant music scene in its publications and events, agrees that Toronto’s music scene is a good selling feature.
“People who love music will travel to experience it in new places,” said Andrew Weir, Vice President of Tourism Toronto. “Toronto has such a range of options every single night – from indie rock to jazz and the symphony – that it has the opportunity to attract a wide range of music lovers from around the world.”
“When you consider the metrics of Toronto’s music market, you can appreciate why we hold our own on the international stage,” says Jesse Kumagai, Director of Programming, The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall. “What’s really impressive is how much more we are than the sum of our parts – in my mind, there is no other music scene that rivals the diversity, quality, and sense of community that we have here in Toronto. We’re proud and we can’t wait to tell the world.”
With today’s launch, 4479 is offering new followers a chance to win free swag and concert tickets by showcasing Toronto’s music scene on social media. All artists, musicians, industry supporters and fans should sign up at 4479Toronto.ca, @4479Toronto, Facebook.com/4479Toronto. The 4479 brand was developed in part with support from the Ontario Government.
I’ve toured all over Canada and the USA with Triumph and I can tell you that no other city compares to Toronto for live music –Toronto is the rock ‘n roll capital of North America!
Gil Moore, Triumph, Metalworks Studios
As a long time supporter of the Toronto arts and music communities I strongly believe that Toronto is unparalleled as a live music capital, and is fortunate in having an extraordinarily diverse number of world class performance facilities that range from intimate spaces to arena-sized venues. Music is the heartbeat of any great city as it brings communities together and allows them to celebrate with a shared voice. Torontonians in all walks of life should be proudly committed to trumpeting support for the Toronto Music Campaign initiative so as to let the rest of the world know the unique and extraordinary experience this great music city has on offer each and every night of the week.
Gary Slaight, President & CEO, Slaight Communications Inc.
Toronto has been a welcoming home for the Polaris Music Prize throughout our history and is a natural base to promote Canadian artists to the world. Wider recognition and promotion of Toronto’s place as a music powerhouse will benefit everyone in our diverse music community.
Steve Jordan, founder and Executive Director, Polaris Music Prize
Toronto is a unique live music city because at every level it has award winning venues, with a history of great sound, great staff, and solid ownership.
Jeff Cohen, Collective Concerts
Our secret is the fact that Toronto has been expanding, population-wise, for the past 10 years. We’ve been building beyond anything you see in any other city … The economic vitality of this market is remarkable.
Riley O’Connor, Chairman, Live Nation Canada
Toronto has long been considered a music mecca. With an infrastructure that breeds new talent, supports live music on a daily basis and plays host to millions of cross-opportunities for business, culture and education, Toronto has pioneered Canada’s place in the international music market. As a music business operating in Canada for 31 years, there is no better city than Toronto to assemble a global music village under one proudly-Canadian tent.
Neill Dixon, President, Canadian Music Week
Toronto celebrates diversity in all forms, but particularly in its rich history of music of all types and genres—more so than any other city in the world. Now it’s time to let the rest of the world know!
Stephen Stohn, President, Epitome Pictures; Chairman, Orange Lounge Recordings/ inDiscover Recordings
Toronto is a crucial music hub. The local community of artists and professionals is a deep reservoir of talent, which is growing all the time. This fertile ground makes Toronto a very welcome stop on the international touring circuit. Toronto is a throbbing hotspot on the worldwide music map.
Derek Andrews, Global Café
Being a cosmopolitan city, Toronto has a lot of great musicians and music resources close at hand. There are a lot of good restaurants nearby, delivery services exist for almost anything and the nightlife ranges from classical to cutting edge. Only a large city with an active prosperity could support a studio like Noble Street Studios.
Henry Gooderham, Owner, Noble Street Studios
As Artistic Director it’s my job to ensure that the best musicians are on our stages. We consider acts from around the world and I’m often reminded that some of the best are right here in Toronto.
Josh Grossman, Artistic Director, Toronto Downtown Jazz