A letter from the Executive Director, Music BC Industry Association

Dear music industry colleagues,

As many of you know, Music BC has been leading the lobby efforts for the renewal of the Amplify BC fund since its inception, and now we are seeking your letter of support for a long-term investment in the program.

Amplify BC was established after two years of the BC Music Fund (BCMF), implemented in 2016 which injected $15m over two years into the BC Music economy, providing a significant return on investment across the Province economically and culturally. With the current government, the BCMF was extended and rebranded as Amplify BC, a $7.5m one-year investment, currently under the stewardship of Minister Melanie Mark (Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport).

The government’s creation of Amplify BC for the Music Industry in 2018 has been key to driving the success and retention of British Columbia’s music creators and professionals over the last three years. As a result, the fund has been instrumental in bringing investment into the province by companies both large and small.

Since the beginning, these music funds have been earmarked under the Province’s discretionary budget versus a fixed line-item in the budget. We are currently in our third year of the Amplify BC program, and until the fund becomes a fixed line-item investment in the provincial budget, we will continue to seek your annual support for a renewal so we can collectively express how imperative this investment is in ensuring a prosperous future for BC’s music economy.

How can you help?

Draft a personal letter of support for the renewal of Amplify BC and include the following:
  1. Name, job title, and (if applicable), company + number of people employed + brief company overview.
  2. Personal stories with examples of how Amplify BC has helped further your business and/or musical career to date. Include metrics such as: Employment (jobs created), Economic, Social and/or Cultural Impact, Private and Public funding leveraged as a result of your Amplify BC support.For example: “We have been fortunate enough to receive $X in support through Amplify BC to support X project/initiative, which allowed us to do X”.Example metrics to consider: Did support through Amplify BC (see programs listed below) allow you to do the following: Leverage private or public funds? Hire any new positions in BC? Expand your company’s services and/or revenue? Expand your business internationally? Grow your audience? (Fans/Festival attendees/Venues), Grow your online streaming numbers/social media or physical sales? Secure a label or publishing deal, management or a booking agent? Was there a label advance? What is your projected revenue, royalties and so on because of these new developments?
  3. Answer the question “What would a three-year investment in Amplify BC mean for the recovery of BC’s music sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?”
  4. And finally, state your recommendation for a three-year commitment of the Amplify BC music fund at $7.5m per year ($22.5m total) in order to continue along a path of recovery to rebuild a strong, sustainable, and economic future for the music industry in BC.
  5. If possible, include a virtual meeting request with your MLA to discuss your letter of support for a three-year investment of Amplify BC by the province.

Still need suggestions on how to build your letter? See other talking points and rationale below.

How to address your letter:

To your MLA,
(link to MLA finder here: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members)CC:
– Hon. Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
TAC.Minister@gov.bc.ca
– Hon. Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance
  FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca
– Bob D’Eith, Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film, MLA
bob.deith.MLA@leg.bc.ca
– Lindsay MacPherson, Executive Director, Music BC Industry Association
lindsay@musicbc.org

When should these be submitted?

The province is undergoing budget planning as we speak, so time is of the essence! We kindly ask that if you are planning to support the effort for the renewal of the Amplify BC fund through an ongoing investment from the province, you do so by emailing your letter by March 19th, 2021.

Other talking points & rationale for renewal:

  • British Columbia is the third largest centre for music production in Canada and one of the Province’s biggest contributors to the cultural economy. The fund has already allowed artists and businesses across BC to stay competitive on a national and international scale. A long-term commitment would allow us to continue to build these success stories and support a variety of diverse projects and recipients throughout BC.
  • There is no other fund of this nature. The Amplify BC fund in its structure is a unique fund and was not designed to address a pandemic. It is currently the only fund available that provides opportunities to the commercial music sector who are often ineligible for any measures of support from government programs. In fact, a large majority of BC’s live music association members do not receive sector-specific support from federal government programs such as FACTOR and Canada Council. These members include our small venues, talent agents and event suppliers who are fundamental to the live music sector, an industry that contributed 6,950 FTEs, $619.3 million in labour income and $815.8 million in GDP to the BC.
  • The music industry is not only a cultural asset but a significant employer and economic contributor to the province, with an economic impact of $690m in Vancouver alone and 14,540 jobs.
  • Music provides an opportunity for connection and healing within our communities.
  • Over the last three years, Amplify BC has been a great asset for BC’s Artists, and the funding each year has been needed. COVID-19 and the current health restrictions that have followed are challenging BC’s music creators and professionals both financially and in the production of new intellectual property.
  • The music industry was among the first industries impacted by the public health orders.
  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the music industry in BC was brought to a virtual standstill with a majority of our artists, venues, festivals and studios shut down because of this crisis. There can be no return to work without an audience. With the strict public health orders currently in place, the grim reality is that recovery for the BC music industry is still going to be a long way away. The answer is a long-term commitment to Amplify BC.
  • Having a multi-year commitment versus year to year will provide great certainty for the BC music industry by preserving valuable jobs in the music industry; helping our small venues across the province recover; funding the creation of new intellectual property; and providing emerging talent a place to perform and incubate.
  • Our industry needs a standalone commitment through this fund, to recover now and get back to a place of driving the economy. A $7.5 million investment in Amplify BC stimulated $29.9 million in expenditures and supported companies to employ 3256 people, with 295 new hires.
  • Amplify BC has proven to be essential during the pandemic by supporting vital projects, platforms and services for the industry. But the current funding model of applying yearly, does not provide our industry with the long-term certainty it requires. As a result, investment from this program now and over the next three years will be critical to restore jobs, especially the small venues who have been hurt so badly by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • During consultations in April 2020 with over 160 music industry partners, the industry expressed overwhelming support for Amplify BC to provide both operating and innovation funding to companies. The industry also stressed the importance of a continued investment in music companies and artist career development to promote future success.
  • Most musicians work in the gig economy, and they require touring and live events to raise revenue, making them especially impacted at this time.
  • There is a tremendous opportunity to attract large events to BC that show an economic impact for the Province, such as the JUNO Awards ($10.9m to the Province in 2018), however, it takes years of planning to secure the bid. Ongoing Amplify BC support would mean locking in events, partners and sponsorships on a multi-year basis.
  • Education, infrastructure, policy changes, outreach, inclusion and making the investment provincial wide takes time. Knowing and understanding that the support will continue to be there is essential to the well-being of the industry.
  • Many programs, particularly training and development take time to show ROI. Through educational programming supported by Amplify BC, we are building the skills and expertise of tomorrow’s workforce who will be starting their own companies or holding senior positions within the many music companies with headquarters in BC.
  • Through Amplify BC, the BC government investment has been multiplied through the leverage of private dollars and a greater share of federal funding. Ceased or decreased support means the entire BC industry will see a decline or lose their financial leverage.

Unsure if you should write a letter? Consider the following:

  1. You are a recipient of or have benefited directly or indirectly from one or more of the following programs available through Creative BC: Live Music, Career Development, Showcase BC, Music Industry Initiatives, Innovation, Music Company Development.
  2. You are a recipient, participant or attendee of one or more of the following programs offered by Music BC, with support from Creative BC and the Province of BC: SoundON, Music BC Travel Grants, Let’s Hear It Live Micro Grants, Let’s Hear It Live Concert Series, How-To Series, Music BC Live Music Trade Initiatives (Domestic & International Export showcases and Pacific Northwest Stage Partnerships), and the Canadian Songwriter Challenge.
  3. You are a recipient, participant or attendee of one or more of the programs offered under the Indigenous Music Initiative available through First Peoples’ Cultural Council, supported by Creative BC and the Province of BC. Initiatives include: Emerging Indigenous Music Industry Professionals Program, Expanding Capacity in the Indigenous Music Recording Industry Program, Touring, Promotions/Marketing and Performance Initiatives, Indigenous Music Retreat, and Indigifest.
  4. You have yet to be successful in receiving funding support, however, are an advocate for the continuation of the Amplify BC fund.
Please reach out to our staff with any questions, or if you need further clarification or guidance at info@musicbc.org.

Thank you for your continued support,

  Lindsay MacPherson
Executive Director
Music BC Industry Association