VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver has had to say goodbye to live music venues like the Media Club and the Railway Club in the past few years.
Now, other places like it are struggling to keep the doors open. For example, the 420-seat Summit Theatre in Langley is being demolished to make way for a bingo hall.
But new research suggests many urban Canadians are keen to keep those stages rocking in their neighbourhoods.
This is especially true among university-educated Canadians and people under the age of 35, with 71 per cent saying living in an area that offers live music is important to them.
But Leslie Craig, VP of Licensing for SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), points that is a bit of a double-edged sword.
“Many people — especially young people are moving to the city and they love that local arts scene, especially that live music. Of course, that drives up rental rates, which makes it harder for some of those businesses to make the ends meet.”
SOCAN represents the performing rights of thousands of songwriters, composers and music publishers.
“One of the things that’s really important is getting the city, who’s onside, to find ways to work with the community to make sure that we’re supporting those live music venues,” says Craig.
That could mean providing live artists with affordable places to live or setting aside a portion of development fees to support live music venues.
“Over 91 per cent of Canadians that have been living in urban Canada who want to live in a neighbourhood with a vibrant local arts scene agree that a portion of the development fees that property developers pay should actually support live music programs,” says Craig.
Toronto, has proposed offering special housing options for musicians.
“[Those options have] not only affordable rent, but rehearsal and recording space,” she explains. “[It’s] actually a really cool concept and a way to help them not only be able to live close to where they’re trying to get their product to market, but also help them to further produce their product.”
SOCAN argues these moves would pay dividends, attracting tourists and young people to settle and contribute to the local economy.