Music is a vital part of Toronto’s identity. Our city is the largest centre of music in Canada and one of the most varied and vibrant music cities in the world.
Toronto’s music scene draws in people across the city, attracts visitors and artists, and engages with film, television, fashion, food, and interactive media. Music is a significant industry and a major cultural asset within the city of Toronto.
- The Canadian music industry is clustered primarily around Toronto and the Toronto region, making it one of the most concentrated music sectors in North America.
- An economic impact study commissioned by Music Canada determined that the Canadian recording industry (including both foreign-owned and independent, Canadian-owned companies) had a total economic impact output of $400 million in 2010. About 80% of recording industry expenditure in Canada is in the Toronto region.
- The live music sector generates an estimated $455 million in revenues and contributes $252 million to the Canadian economy. Overall, the Canadian live music market has grown at an annual average rate of 6.4 per cent since 2010. Ontario's live music sector generates 80 per cent of total national revenues, up from 65 per cent in 2005.
- The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) reports that the independent, Canadian-owned music industry sector generated approximately $292 million in revenues in 2011 and contributed more than $300 million in GDP to the Canadian economy. The report found that more than 13,400 people are employed by the independent music industry in Canada.
- According to The Great Musical North (2009), a report done by the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, the Toronto music industry has a larger share of the region's employment than New York City and Austin, Texas.
Toronto's strength in the music industry comes from having high quality talent in all areas that make up the sector, including:
- recording and distribution
- artist associations
- business management (e.g. legal, financial) unions and guilds
- talent development firms
- marketing and promotion firms
- communications media (e.g. broadcasting, telecom, internet)
- software developers
- educational and training institutions
- financiers and funders.
Toronto is home to major record labels and festival promoters, many smaller independent record labels, numerous recording studios and live music venues, and a Toronto Music Sector, thriving music community with a balance of commercial and non-profit music initiatives; and most importantly a wealth of tremendously talented performers. The diversity of age, cultural background, life experience and music genre within this talent is also a critical driving force in Toronto's success in the music industry.
As the fourth largest city in North American, Toronto (population ~2.8 million) within a region of about 6 million (GTA) to 9 million (GGH), this diversity benefits Toronto by ensuring that there is a sizeable local market for every type of music and providing a unique platform for creativity and innovation through the fusion of different genres, styles and instruments.
Read the Toronto Music Strategy: Supporting and Growing The City's Music Sector adopted unanimously with amendments by City Council on March 31, 2016.
Read the related City Council Item.
City Council adopted a new economic strategy, Collaborating for Competitiveness: A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto, and a new culture strategy Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto. Both strategic plans support initiatives to advance the music industry.
As is the case with a number of other sectors, one of the most significant barriers to success is the fragmented voice and activities of the music industry. Toronto is home to many talented individuals and firms in the various sub-sectors within the music industry, however, it lacks the connective tissue necessary to make the separate parts into a whole and realize its full potential.
In late 2013, work was initiated by City staff to develop the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council and to formalize the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance.
The Toronto Music Advisory Council provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, input and advice on the challenges and opportunities for the city's music industry.
Forging Partnerships with Austin
The Music City Alliance was established to create music industry trade and export, and to facilitate ongoing communication – both government-to-government and industry-to-industry – to promote mutual growth opportunities.
Read related music policy documents:
Supporting the Music Industry
The City of Toronto provides support to the local music community, including:
- facilitating links to other City departments (e.g., Transportation and Street Events, Parks Forestry & Recreation, Municipal Licensing & Standards, Event Support)
- providing business-to-business connections
- advising and providing consultation on business development, including help with related City processes and regulations
In addition, the City and the Toronto Music Advisory Council have created the Toronto Music Strategy, a comprehensive music plan to guide the music sector’s growth and development. This strategy was developed in close collaboration with the music community and the public.
The City of Toronto is highlighting the talents of local musicians through two programs that feature live and recorded music.
Music 311 Programs
Four times a year, we assemble a playlist of original music written and recorded by Toronto-based artists for call-hold playback on the City’s 311 customer service line.
Find out who's on our latest Music 311 playlist
City Hall Live Programs
City Hall Live is a music showcase and panel discussion series that features local artists, organizations, venues, events and presenters - generously supported by TD Bank Group and in partnership with Music Canada
Find out who's playing City Hall Live.
Need to find a local venue for your blues or salsa night? Want to find the nearest mastering facility to your recording studio? The new Toronto Music Directory has your answers.
The Toronto Music Directory is an interactive map and searchable catalogue of local music industry services, retailers, supporting organizations and venues, divided into the following key categories:
- Agents, managers, promoters
- Live music support
- Music organizations
- Music venues
- Recording studios
- Rehearsal spaces
Have a business to add to one of these categories? You can submit it for inclusion by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about individual venues' accessibility, please contact the venues themselves.
Funding for Musicians and Music Industry Stakeholders
Please note that funding, corporate sponsorship and co-branding are not currently among the core services provide by Film & Entertainment Industries' music sector portfolio.
If you are in search of financial support, please consider contacting the following organizations.
Factor provides support to Canadian recording artists, songwriters, managers, labels, publishers, event producers and distributors through various programs.
Toronto Arts Council provides grants to outstanding artists and arts organizations that contribute to the cultural life of the City of Toronto.
The Ontario Arts Council currently offers more than 65 granting programs to individual artists, collectives, ad hoc groups and organizations in twelve sectors
For Music Industry Stakeholders
As anchor community arts organizations in Toronto, they promote the arts at the local level, making them very much part of the daily fabric of community living and contribute to a vibrant community arts infrastructure in Toronto.
The Ontario Music Fund is designed to drive activity and investment and to support Ontario’s music companies and organizations in expanding their economic and cultural footprints within Canada and around the world.
A Tactical Guide to Selling Sponsorship
This guide is designed with the music sponsorship seeker in mind. Whether you are an event organizer, label, promoter, venue owner, developer of educational programs or even a volunteer, the information that follows should help you create more meaningful and productive conversations with potential sponsors.
This document is based on material developed by The Sponsorship Collective. We thank them for their permission to adapt and use it here.
How to Use the Guide
The design is simple. Find the template or section that applies to your particular stage in the sales process and use it! Read the template, read the instructions, plug in your information and start selling sponsorship. The fine-tuning, the details, and the eventual outcomes are up to you.
These templates have been tested in the field and used to raise millions of dollars in sponsorship, cause marketing and events. This material represents years of testing and a great deal of trial and error. The format is simple, direct, and ready for you to use right now.
On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, the City of Toronto presented the Mayor's Music Sponsorship Roundtable, hosted by Google Canada. This invitation only roundtable discussion provided Toronto's grassroots music industry insight into sponsorship best practices, an opportunity to establish new and innovative partnerships with Canada's biggest corporate brands, and help bolster popular support for the City's music.