Alberta Music Industry Ecosystem Report

Reports & Research Category: Outside Research

Alberta Music Industry Ecosystem Report graphic

Alberta Music Industry Ecosystem Report

West Anthem

A study of Edmonton and Calgary’s music industry recommends key changes to make Alberta an internationally recognized music hub. Drawing from extensive research, stakeholder feedback, and global best practices, West Anthem has released the findings of the Alberta Music Industry Ecosystem Report.

This music ecosystem study provides a strategic framework to engage provincial and municipal policymakers, industry stakeholders, and audiences in both Calgary and Edmonton. From this report comes a number of recommendations to help further the case for music cities in our province.

The music sector in Calgary and Edmonton is extensive, making significant contributions to the social and economic fabric of each city’s metro regions, and the province as a whole. There is extensive funding and advocacy opportunities for music creators, and quality educational offerings and music facilities via universities. In these areas, there are over 1,500 music assets, and a rich variety of music festivals catering to all genres.

However, Alberta’s music ecosystem lacks the music-friendly policies and government supports found in other cities. It also faces challenges reaching audiences such as young fans who are under 18, or individuals living outside of downtown cores.

As a result, the report provides recommendations for policymakers and industry leaders in nine key areas:

  • Governance and Leadership: Recommendations include implementing late night transit programs and creating routine all-ages events and venues.
  • Diversity and Equity: The industry would benefit from greater opportunities for LGBTQ2+ artists, and from working with other marginalized groups to identify their specific music needs.
  • Audience Development: Festival events and dates should be more strategically coordinated, with increased engagement during, and leading up to, events.
  • Music Education: Establishment of music therapy and musical scoring programming in the province, paired with the integration of Indigenous music into educational programming, would further benefit the industry.
  • Artist and Music Industry Development: Artists and industry professionals require greater access to resources and professional development opportunities, such as entrepreneurship programming.
  • Spaces and Places: Recommendations include utilizing empty buildings for the arts through special permitting and incentives for creating music spaces, particularly outside the downtown cores.
  • Tourism and Reputation as a Music Place: Recommendations include but are not limited to producing a province-wide playlist, offsetting booking costs for international acts, and expanding genre promotion.
  • Night-Time Economy: After-hours venue permits and establishing a nighttime operations office and advisory board could help spur late-night music activity.
  • Music Export: To be recognized internationally, Alberta must engage stakeholders internationally through hosting and attending fairs and supporting artists in getting export ready.

Commissioned by National Music Centre, Winspear Centre, Calgary Arts Development, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, Edmonton Arts Council, Explore Edmonton Corporation, Government of Alberta, OCL Studios, Scotlyn Foundation, Alberta Music, Tooth Blackner Presents, and Oilers Entertainment Group, the report was conducted by international music cities expert, Sound Diplomacy.

The West Anthem Steering Committee, made up of partners from across the music industry in Calgary and Edmonton, plan to work alongside government and industry stakeholders to implement these recommendations and build Alberta’s brand as a go-to destination for music professionals and music lovers around the world.

Read the executive summary or dig deeper into the full report at

Alberta Music Industry Ecosystem Report release date October 29, 2020

Download the Executive Summary as a PDF
Download the Full Report as a PDF