Council urges Music Commission for further review of funds to promote industry growth

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City Council has asked the Music Commission to review proposed guidelines for the new Live Music Fund, with some on the podium questioning whether the program matches Council’s intention taken two years ago to support the local music industry.

During Monday’s working session, Mayor Steve Adler kicked off a discussion about the fund by examining the thinking behind the 2019 vote to allocate some of the hotel tax money to building the business ecosystem around musicians and industry professionals.

Very quickly, the Music Commission chose to create a program focused on the city’s live music industry, with current guidelines calling for the $ 2.3 million to be allocated in the form of grants of $ 5,000. and $ 10,000 to support more diverse live music programming.

The 2019 vote was seen as important by music stakeholders because it meant that music-related efforts no longer had to compete with visual artists and other creators for the portion of hotel tax funding spent on hospitality. cultural arts contracts.

“(This vote) said that we have a music industry in this city that is strong in part because we have venues that are strong and musicians who are strong, but we don’t really have a real vertical that has was created in the music industry to help our city, “Adler said.” How do we build this vertical and this infrastructure in the industry that is now part of our city’s brand? I don’t know what are those answers, but we said that it is more than the musicians, it is the industry which supports the venues, the promoters… that’s all that.

Adler said the program’s grant structure makes it similar to contracts awarded to artists under the Cultural Arts Program, which is also funded through hotel taxes.

Erica Shamaly, Director of the Music and Entertainment Division, said the Live Music Fund as proposed would promote economic and professional development by helping to train musicians and promoters in professional event production, as well as strengthening the profile of the city as a place that fosters creativity with an emphasis on equity.

One of the guiding principles of the Music Commission’s discussion of the fund was to make equity and help underserved groups one of the main goals. Adler and other board members said they supported this direction for funding.

“Often what we see are musicians who don’t understand how a contract works with a venue or promoter, and therefore this provides the professional development for the awardees to learn the professional aspects of being a musician,” Shamaly said. .

“It’s kind of raising the bar for professionalism in our city, so we don’t just do concerts and not know what you’ll be paid at the end of the night.”

The Music Commission has discussed aspects of the Live Music Fund in recent months, in particular the steps that will be taken to emphasize fairness in the application process. These talks have been generally positive and supportive of the program which is taking shape and is expected to be launched shortly after the selection of a third-party administrator to manage its operations.

As there has still not been a formal Music Commission approval vote on the Live Music Fund as a whole, Adler and others on the podium have asked staff to put an action point down. the group’s agenda in November.

“My feeling is that you are really close to getting what I think could be really special and unique,” ​​he said. “I don’t know if it’s a connection to technology and this vertical industry in a way that no other city does, and it’s where we build careers and career paths for the people of this city. … In terms of being the building blocks to build a vertical that is different.

Photo made available via a Creative Commons license.

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