B.C. music sector drums up three years’ funding to the tune of $22.5m

Funding for music sector

The province appears to be striking the right chord with the West Coast music sector, offering up $22.5 million in funding for venues, artists and skills development over the next three years.

The province’s music fund, known as Amplify BC, was due to dry up at the end of 2021.

But Victoria revealed Tuesday it was locking in additional dollars in the coming years for the hard-hit sector.

The grant program provides support for B.C.-based live events, artist sound recordings and training programs for music industry professionals.

The funding is also meant to keep the local recording sector competitive with Ontario, following concerns in previous years that West Coast recording artists were being lured away by that province’s music grants.

Lindsay MacPherson, executive director of the Music BC Industry Association, told BIV in January her organization had been urging the province to re-up the funding for a three-year period with annual support of $7.5 million.

She said at the time the sector was resilient but challenges remain ahead for local musicians whose livelihood depends on touring and live gigs.

Music BC has been able to facilitate online performances (some with small, in-person audiences prior to the current slate of pandemic-induced restrictions) and music festivals.

But MacPherson said many artists have turned to recording studios to create new music as they bide their time while awaiting the return of touring. The local studios have in turn benefitted from this trend, with some drawing recording artists from outside B.C.

"The province has heard and understood the challenges our sector is facing,” MacPherson said in a statement.

“At a time when our industry is still struggling, this is a vote of confidence in our recovery.”

Music Canada’s 2016 report raised concerns that Ontario’s music fund, which was offering $15 million annually, had been luring B.C. artists and engineers to Central Canada.

The industry association called on the B.C. government to implement 26 recommendations to stimulate the province’s music industry, including updating liquor laws and event licences to make it easier to support live shows.

Over the last year, Amplify BC has provided support to 95 festivals and venues, 99 music companies and 113 individual artists.

The grant program is being administered by Creative BC, the non-profit agency charged with promoting the province’s music, film and publishing industries.

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