Toronto is an international music city and the largest centre of music in Canada. As the 3rd largest music market in North America, Toronto is the headquarters of the vast majority of companies in Canada's commercial music industry. For decades, Toronto has also consistently produced top international artists. The city offers a thriving recording industry and a well-established and vibrant music scene that engages people across the city, attracts visitors and artists, and collaborates with other industries such as film, television, and fashion.
In the 2014 Youthful Cities Index, Toronto ranked 2nd among 25 major global cities in the Music and Film category, behind only Berlin. Toronto ranked ahead of Chicago (3rd), Los Angeles (4th) and New York City (6th).
Toronto Music Facts:
- Toronto's North By Northeast (NXNE) festival attracts over 330,000 attendees and generates an annual economic impact of approximately $50 million for the city
- Now in its 33rd year, the Canadian Music Week festival spans five nights of performances, with 1,000 showcasing bands at more than 60 live music venues in downtown Toronto
- The music industry in the Toronto region is one of the most concentrated in North America. It represents a larger share of the region's employment than New York and Austin
- Approximately 80% of recording industry expenditure in Canada is in the Greater Toronto Area, totaling $205 million dollars. Salaries and wages total $117.8 million
In 2010, the Toronto region’s music recording industry employed more than 2,000 professionals – representing 80% of the industry’s workforce in Canada Toronto is home to a variety of major and independent record labels and festival promoters, many smaller independent record labels, numerous audio recording studios, over 150 live music venues and a thriving live music community balanced between both commercial and not-for-profit music enterprises. Most importantly, Toronto has a wealth of tremendously talented performers. The diversity of age, cultural background, genre, and life experience within this talent is also a critical driving force in Toronto's success in the music industry.
Recording Artists from Toronto:
The most famous bands and musicians from Toronto currently come from a wide variety of genres and backgrounds. From hip hop to folk; from basement show beginnings to internet success stories; it's striking that all the artists on this list share Toronto in common:
Drake, Rush, Feist, deadmau5, Metric, Broken Social Scene, Owen Pallett, Crystal Castles, Billy Talent, K'naan, Blue Rodeo, Death From Above 1979, Tokyo Police Club, Barenaked Ladies, METZ, Cancer Bats, Austra, Diamond Rings, Azari & III, Serena Ryder, Peaches, Zed's Dead, The Birthday Massacre, The Weeknd, DIANA, Maylee Todd, Kevin McPhee, Tre Mission, Timbre Timbre, Down With Webster, Trust, Hayden, Nadja, Tre Mission, SINS, Dragonette, Babe Rainbow, Egyptrixx, Mary Margaret O'Hara, K-os, Cowboy Junkies, Sloan, Nelly Furtado, MSTRKRFT, Kardinal Offishall, Career Suicide, Maestro Fresh Wes….and the list goes on.
Click here for live music listings in Toronto.
Toronto's strength in the music industry comes from having high quality talent in many different sector segments, including:
- recording and distribution
- artist associations
- business management (e.g. legal, financial)
- unions and guilds
- talent development firms
- marketing and promotion firms
- communications media (e.g. broadcasting, telecom, internet)
- software developers
- educational and training institutions
- financiers and funders
Toronto-Austin Music City Alliance and the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council
In October 2013, the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance was signed. Shortly after, Toronto City Council endorsed the creation of a new advisory group to guide its initiatives supporting the economic and cultural development of Toronto's music industry. City Council also endorsed the terms of reference for the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance agreement, and approved the membership of the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council. The Council is made up of music industry stakeholders working alongside three Toronto City Councilors and strategically chosen external stakeholders.
Top of page
Accelerating Toronto's Music Industry Growth
Economic Impact Analysis of the Sound Recording Industry in Canada