Canada's Independent Music Industry

At CIMA, we believe that music is an incredibly valuable commodity on a social, cultural and commercial level. Music is a renewable and sustainable resource, it’s been proven time and again that music as a commodity can be successfully traded and monetized all over the world.

For over 40 years, CIMA's advocacy work has played a large part in the creation of federal and provincial funding programs for independent music.  These funds help enable the development of new artists, and help build the foundation of a successful independent music industry.

These programs have an impact on all aspects of the Canadian media industry, including film, television, print and digital media and music production.  By investing in these creative industries, millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of job opportunities are created, and in turn improve Canada's economy.

Our members are Canadian owned companies, as well as individuals that are involved in every aspect of the music industry.  They include record producers, record labels, recording studios, management, music video producers and directors, artists and others professionally involved in the sound recording and music video industries.

Economic impact of Canada's independent music industry

CIMA has proven that the Canadian music industry has had a positive and measurable impact on the Canadian economy.  Some of our recent findings:

  • Canadian Independent music generated approximately $292 million in revenues in 2011, and contributed more than $300 million in GDP to the Canadian economy
  • The sector had a GDP impact of $8.2 million on the Canadian economy for every $10 million of industry revenue
  • More than 13,400 Canadians are employed in the industry, 67% of which are artists
  • Outside of Canada, roughly 19% of revenues are come from the US, 3% from the UK, 1% from New Zealand/Australia and 4% from the rest of the world

For more information on the tangible and quantifiable impact of the Canadian Music Industry check out: Sound Analysis, An Examination of the Canadian Independent Music Community

Current music business climate – opportunities and challenges

The Canadian music scene is largely driven by the independent music industry. The local, global and commercial success of a multitude of Canadian independent artists is solid proof that indie music is a viable business model.

In the last decade, the Canadian independent music industry has come face to face with many challenges as well as opportunities in a world of changing technology.

Digital technology and the internet have changed the landscape of the music industry, giving artists the ability to connect directly to their fans and take advantage of new revenue streams (from legal digital downloads).

Conversely, illegal file sharing and downloads, and the disruption of traditional broadcasting and advertising revenues continue to have an impact on the industry as a whole.

Internationally, the major music labels have reacted to these changes by merging and consolidating their business (for example Universal absorbing EMI), and by investing less in the development and signing of artists.

While the majors continue their overall dominance of the Canadian marketplace, they have come to rely more on the independent sector. Independent companies, be they labels, recording companies, or otherwise, are still willing and able to develop new and emerging artists from across Canada.

However, being smaller and generally having limited access to capital, independent companies are far more vulnerable to the ever changing music business environment.

Despite the substantial commercial successes that have been achieved, there are limits to the revenues that can be realized in Canada.

In recent years, creating opportunities for international commercial success for Canadian independent music has become a key driver of CIMA's advocacy initiatives.