Music is an economic driver. In 2015, live music companies in Ontario generated a total of 10,500 full-time equivalent jobs (FTE) as a result of their direct activity, the activity of their suppliers and re-spending of labour income in the wider economy. The tourism activity generated by music festivals created over 9,500 additional FTEs. Statistics Canada shows that there are over 2,000 occupational musicians currently at work in WindsorEssex and this number becomes multiplied when we factor in spin-off jobs in technology, media, event management and much more.
The Windsor-Essex region has a vibrant and storied music ecosystem. The WindsorEssex Music Strategy report aims to provide insight into the local music industry, overview of economic initiatives in other Ontario municipalities that benefit the music sector and strategic recommendations for regionwide collaboration for the promotion and growth of the music ecosystem.
A regional music strategy allows for the opportunity to work towards the achievement of the following long-term goals:
1. Increase opportunities for local music artists to develop and succeed.
2. Provide artist-entrepreneurs with development tools necessary to create a sustainable music business that is commercially viable and export-ready. This will create long-term economic growth within the local music ecosystem in both jobs and investment.
3. Support the development of the larger regional music ecosystem through the creation of a music advisory council that will advocate for music-friendly municipal policy, and act as a planning body for local music initiatives.
4. Work with local partners and organizations to collaborate and promote available resources.
5. Strengthen our local music industry’s relationship with funding providers at provincial and federal levels.
6. Attract and retain a young and dynamic workforce whose quality of life will be enhanced through living, working and playing in a community with a strong arts culture.
7. Leverage partnerships nationally and internationally that will connect WindsorEssex artists to broader markets.
8. Embrace and showcase the Windsor-Essex Region’s diversity and multicultural talent. Through the realization of these long-term goals, it is expected that the region will see increased success by local artists in obtaining provincial and federal funding; increased investment in music venues; a growth in regional music tourism, especially from the nearby U.S. market; growth in music-related jobs; and the expansion of existing music businesses.
The Windsor-Essex region has a history synonymous with music starting with the people of the Caldwell First Nation and other indigenous people who developed music
as an integral part of their cultural identity. Settled by Europeans in 1834, it didn’t take long for the first choral music program to launch in the region, and in 1875 the 100-150 voices that made up the All Saints church choir brought the first Mozart and Handel to the British settlement that would one day be the southernmost point in Canada.
As the demand for music education and cultural independence grew in WindsorEssex, the University of Windsor began teaching music courses in 1959 and introduced its Bachelor of Music program in 1967. Classical and choral music may have given the region its musical start, but it was Top 40 music that truly put it on the map. Starting in the early 1960s and continuing into the 1970s, CKLW in Windsor became one of the most influential Top 40 stations in the world through the implementation of the time-efficient radio format known as “Boss Radio” developed by Bill Drake. The Countdown was one of North America’s highest rated shows, and CKLW’s 50,000-watt power broadcasting reached up to 28 states and four provinces, making Windsor the trend-setting epicenter for North American music.
Read the rest of the report here.