Folk Music Canada has packed up the showcase gear and returned to its Canadian home base after another successful edition of Folk Alliance International, the world’s largest folk conference and industry gathering, with more than 3000 attendees. While specific results are still being tabulated, the success of its #FMCTopNotch initiatives is evident and the impact on the Canadian folk music marketplace are significant.
With this fifth edition of presentations at Folk Alliance International, Folk Music Canada produced more than 40 showcases featuring 38 Canadian acts, and coordinated multiple international partnerships over the course of this music conference that took place from February 15 to 20 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Through its annual networking event, 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.
New in 2017, Folk Music Canada worked with its fellow Canadian music industry associations, under the banner of the Pan-Canadian Initiative, to offer a networking brunch with B2B meetings. With more than 100 participants, the event facilitated 900 meetings between Canadian music entrepreneurs and key folk industry members from record labels, venues, festivals and organizations from the US, UK and Australia. Thanks to the Pan-Canadian Initiative members: Canadian Independent Music Association, Folk Music Ontario, East Coast Music Association, Music Ontario, Manitoba Music, SaskMusic, Alberta Music, Music BC, Music NWT, Music PEI, Music NS, Music NL and Music-Musique NB.
With a strong brand and worldwide reputation, Canadian artists left very favourable impressions on the international marketplace. Lisa Schwartz from the Philadelphia Folk Festival, one of North America’s largest, and longest running, folk festivals indicated: “Folk Music Canada’s showcases have proven to be a treasure trove of fantastic musicians that never disappoints. I have discovered some of the most talented artists in this room and have seen and heard what are likely my favorite Folk Alliance International musical moments presented against the now-familiar red and white backdrop. Because of Folk Music Canada’s stellar efforts, we have booked several Canadian artists for the Philadelphia Folk Festival.”
Qualitative feedback from Canadian artist representatives also reflects these positive results. Nathalie Kleinschmidt, of Prairie Mix, a Winnipeg-based management group, offered the following feedback about the results working with singer-songwriter William Prince, a Winnipeg-based artist from the Peguis First Nation: “Thanks to the support of the Folk Music Canada team, our Folk Alliance International experience surpassed our expectations. We were able to turn contacts into contracts. We left with a record label and publishing deal, offers to perform in both Canada and the USA, and opportunities to collaborate with world-class artists. Perhaps more importantly, we found a sense of community and commitment that bodes well for our long-term business relations across the border.”
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 at an all-time high, totalling more than 460 000. 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 two SoundCloud streams (see below) to help promote the showcasing artists to delegates and programmers. During the 30 day campaign, more than 2200 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.