Music community applauds Toronto City Council for joining Austin, Texas in a world-first music city alliance

TORONTO, July 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Members of Toronto's music community, united under the 4479 campaign, expressed strong support today for Toronto City Council's endorsement of a music city alliance with Austin, Texas. The alliance is the first of its kind worldwide.

"This alliance is great news for the music scene in Toronto and for artists across Canada," says singer-songwriter Royal Wood. "Toronto and Austin are great music cities that, by working together, will build a brighter future for artists, the music business and the arts in both communities."

The alliance is intended to drive economic and cultural development opportunities in both Toronto and Austin by sharing best practices, developing new trade and tourism initiatives, and fostering expanded collaboration between the two cities' respective music communities. 

Council has directed City staff to report back to the city's Economic Development Committee on the alliance's framework and terms of reference. Today's motion at Toronto City Hall follows the June 27, 2013 passage of a similar motion in Austin.

"This alliance is the first of its kind in the world," says Graham Henderson, President, Music Canada.  "We want to thank the Mayors and Councillors from Toronto and Austin for recognizing the important role music plays in creating jobs, attracting investment and talent, and enhancing quality of life.  In a competitive world marketplace, music is a strong leveraging point."

Today's motion directs Toronto's General Manager of Economic Development & Culture to initiate discussions with Austin on the alliance's formation. The motion follows an exchange of letters between the Mayors of both cities and a delegation to Austin by Toronto Councillors Gary Crawford and Josh Colle in March. It also follows an initiative by Toronto's Economic Development Committee, led by Councillor Michael Thompson, to develop a growth plan for Toronto's music cluster.

"There is an authentic connection between Toronto and Austin's music communities that was established many years ago, the link between NXNE and SXSW being just one example," says Michael Hollett, co-founder of NXNE.  "The alliance between our city governments will bring focus to this relationship and multiply the opportunities for cross-border cooperation."

"Toronto is on the verge of a paradigm shift in not only the way we and others view the city's musical strengths, but also in the way we go about fostering sector growth and positioning ourselves as the North American leader in music for the 21st century," says Jesse Kumagai, Director of Programming for the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.  "The alliance with Austin, the fastest growing city in the United States, will generate meaningful and immediate results far beyond the obvious cultural benefits."

4479 Toronto is also advocating for the establishment of a music office and a music advisory board at City Hall based on the best practices identified in the 2012 report , Accelerating Toronto's Music Industry Growth - Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas.  The Toronto-Austin alliance would complement those efforts.

"It is great news for Toronto and especially our music community that City Hall is formalizing an alliance with Austin, the epicentre of music in the US," says Jeffrey Remedios, co-founder and President of independent record label Arts & Crafts. "We've all been going to Austin for years now and have witnessed the city's exponential growth, driven by music and fuelled by a supportive city government. I'm excited for what this could mean for Toronto."

4479 is a campaign to position Toronto as one of the greatest music cities in the world.  It recognizes Toronto's diverse sounds, eclectic venues, many of them steeped in musical history, globally sourced audience and culturally diverse background.  4479 is being led by a growing coalition of music industry leaders, in conjunction with supporters who work in tourism, municipal government and business.  Every artist, musician, music supporter and fan in Toronto is part of 4479.

SOURCE 4479 Toronto

For further information:

Don Hogarth at don@hogarthpr.com or (416) 565-8920