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This article was published 15/12/2016 (1977 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s no secret that the Manitoba music industry is a vibrant, buzzing beast, but a new study released on Thursday reveals some real numbers that confirm the increased success.
Soundcheck: An Economic Impact Analysis of Manitoba’s Music Industry looks at all the ways in which the province’s music industry stands as a "significant sector." Manitoba Music commissioned the report, which was completed by Nordicity, an international consultancy providing research and analysis for the arts, cultural and creative industries. This is the fourth economic impact report to analyze Manitoba’s music industry — the other three were released in 2005, 2007 and 2011.
The theme of this year’s data is growth — in 2015, the local music industry produced more than $93 million in GDP (up 31 per cent from 2011), generated more than $32 million in tax revenues for governments (up 22 per cent from 2011) and supported more than 4,300 jobs.
"We know that the creative industries in general and what you might think of as non-traditional work areas are in a time of growth and we certainly see the music industry as being part of that, so it’s great for this study to be able to tease that out and put some actual numbers to it," says Sean McManus, executive director of Manitoba Music.
"The trends that we’ve seen, we’ve done this a couple times now, and the growth that we’re seeing is I think in line with the bigger picture of what Statistics Canada says is happening in the creative industries in general," he adds. "So that’s great, it sort of validates that we have numbers that make sense."
The study also points to more artists acting as micro-enterprises — a shift that steers away from the traditional path of involving larger record labels and moves toward the idea of artists financing their own projects and hiring businesses to help support their activities.
"Whereas it used to be maybe that at an earlier stage an artist would sign with a big label and then the economic activity would get tracked through the label, we’re seeing more and more that the artists are really at the centre of the business and they’re the ones that are creating the intellectual property, they’re creating the songs and the records that are at the heart of all of it and they’re the ones that are going out and hiring people to help them do the business and numbers are sort of showing that as well," says McManus.
The study also notes Manitoba’s live music scene has become increasingly more important and vibrant — McManus notes there’s less money in record sales ("everybody knows that") and so more artists are out on the road trying to keep afloat that way instead. The live-music sector now accounts for about 50 per cent of the industry’s revenue.
One statistic that jumps out from the rest is the return on government money that was invested in the local music industry — for every $1 spent by the provincial government, the music industry in Manitoba generated $4.12.
"Certainly we feel that when the government is in a position of really looking heavily at return on investment, we know that music has a good case in that regard," says McManus. "We know that music is valuable to our community for a number of different reasons, culturally it’s really valuable, it’s really valuable in terms of youth retention... but we also know that if a government is involved in a return-on-investment exercise, which this government is, then we can also make that case.
"We know the Progressive Conservative government in Manitoba in the past has a really great history of supporting art, actually — and supporting the music and film industries," he continues. "We hope this government will, too, see that it’s micro-enterprise, but when you add it all up, it has a really significant impact."
To read the full study, visitmanitobamusic.com/studies-and-reports.
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Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.