B.C. announces $7.5M for music fund for emerging artists, live music events

B.C. has launched a new, $7.5-million music fund to find emerging artists, foster up-and-coming talent and support live music events in the province.

The City of Vancouver also announced its strategy to help local musicians

The Vancouver Music Strategy is supposed to help the city bolster the 'creative economy' and work more effectively with musicians and industry professionals. (CBC)

B.C. has launched a new, $7.5-million music fund to find emerging artists, foster up-and-coming talent and support live music events in the province.

Amplify B.C. will focus on four different funding areas: career development, industry initiative, live music and company development. The latter will be aimed at helping local music companies stay afloat.

On Thursday, a statement said the new fund was created after consultation with Creative B.C. and "discussion with B.C.'s music industry stakeholders." Creative B.C., an independent non-profit that supports arts in the province, will dole out the Amplify funds over the next year.

On the same day, the City of Vancouver announced its own strategy to help local musicians and industry professionals.

The Vancouver Music Strategy is supposed to help the city bolster the "creative economy" and better work with musicians and industry professionals.

The Vancouver Music City Steering Commitee will advise the city on how it can do that.

The board is made up of representatives from organizations including Music B.C., Music Canada, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

'At a critical stage'

Mo Tarmohamed owns and operates the Rickshaw Theatre, a live music venue on East Hastings Street with a capacity of around 500 people. He said he's cautiously optimistic about the effect the initiatives may have.

"Anything that the government does can only help. But whether or not the magnitude is enough, I can only hope. It's better than zero," he said.

Tarmohamed, who has been in the Vancouver music industry for decades, said he thinks this is a critical time for the city and province to act.

"I do think we are in danger of the equilibrium being disrupted in terms of venues opening and venues closing. I think we're sort of at a critical stage right now where if there isn't assistance for live music venues and musicians, then I worry we'll see that shift toward more attrition of venues."

According to a statement from Creative B.C., the province is home to more than 285 music companies, 160 recording studios and more than 200 music festivals.

The local music industry brings in around $400 million to the provincial economy every year.