Folk Music Canada has packed up the lights and rolled out the road cases on its 2016 edition of programs at Folk Alliance International 2016. While specific results are still being tabulated, the success of its #FMCTopNotch initiatives is evident and the impact on the Canadian folk music marketplace is already being felt.
With this fourth edition of presentations at Folk Alliance International, Folk Music Canada produced more than 75 showcases featuring 70 Canadian acts, and coordinated multiple international partnerships over the course of this music conference that took place from February 17 to 22 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Through its annual networking brunch, held in partnership with the East Coast Music Association and Music PEI, Folk Music Canada brought together 40 exporting artists and Canadian industry members with 80 programmers, booking agents, and managers from across the USA, UK, Ireland and Australia. The brunch was also attended by the Consul General Roy Norton, of the Consulate General of Chicago.
The impact of these export activities is already apparent. Early measurements indicate that Folk Music Canada’s 70 showcasing artists generated more than $175 000 CDN of bookings, distributed more than 2500 CD (or download) units and came home with over 1200 business leads for follow-up.
As well, Canadian artists left very favourable impressions on international talent buyers. Steve Johnson, Artist Relations Manager for Merlefest, an annual 4-day festival in North Carolina, offered this feedback: “Folk Music Canada‘s showcases at the Folk Alliance InternationalConference in Kansas City offered a great opportunity to explore talent. Thanks in part to their efforts we have booked several Canadian artists for MerleFest.”
Qualitative feedback from Canadian artist representatives also reflects these positive results. Nigel Jenkins, of Groundswell Music, a Halifax based label and management group, offered the following feedback about their results working with the band Hillsburn: “As a result of showcasing at FAI, and working with Folk Music Canada, the band secured an American booking agent, and impressed the founder and president of Pledge Music, Benji Rogers, so much that he offered to present the band’s new album to Pledge Music‘s 500,000 subscribers.”
Additionally, digital marketing was a significant component of the #FMCTopNotch presentations, with SpinCount supporting this initiative as media sponsor. The analytics for Folk Music Canada’s social channels indicate that engagement throughout the conference was high, peaking at 10k impressions daily on twitter, and averaging 2.5k per day for the duration of the 14 day campaign. Engagement reflected the export focus of this project, with highest clicks outside of Canada generated in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland.
To complement these showcasing activities, Folk Music Canada also created three SoundCloud streams (see below) to help promote the showcasing artists to delegates and programmers. During the 25 day campaign, more than 2000 plays were registered, with listeners primarily concentrated in the USA.
All of these #FMCTopNotch initiatives were made possible with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, FACTOR, The Government of Canada and of Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
Folk Music Canada would also like to thank its #FMCTopNotch sponsors: Folk Alliance International, SpinCount, The English Folk and Dance Song Society, The Canadian Federation of Musicians and Beehive Productions.