Another East Coast Music Awards celebration has come to a successful conclusion and this year’s five-day event in Halifax has been touted as the largest in the ECMA’s over 30-year history.
Andy McLean, executive director of the ECMA's, recently made mention of the financial impact of the event with about $6.5 million in economic activity being generated for the province of Nova Scotia with the HRM realizing about $4.5 million of that with hotels, restaurants and bars being the major beneficiaries.
The non-stop musical celebration showcasing and recognizing the best in East Coast artists and music had performances scattered at venues throughout the city and many of them had a Maritime kitchen party-type atmosphere.
At the same time, it is very much about business. Sprinkled in the audience are agents and talent buyers from around the world, all wanting to do business with East Coast musicians and their managers.
One of the crowning achievements of the East Coast Music Association, a non-profit group, is that it has served as the catalyst to bring music industry representatives from around the world to this region to discover and cultivate one of our greatest exportable resources – our music. As the association points out on its website, they have “helped build a regional and professional music industry in our corner of the world, one that develops the careers of both the artists and the industry.”
The East Coast Music Awards, festival and conference gives many of the acts, which are self-managed, a great opportunity to make business connections with managers, agents, publishers and buyers. It is also a wonderful networking opportunity for artists to meet other artists and find new ways to collaborate.
The music industry has recognized the important role of the media in the promotion and marketing of its artists and as such has included media outlets and personalities in its award categories.
Tantramar Community Radio (CFTA 107.9 FM) was honoured to have been one of five nominees this year for the prestigious media outlet of the year award. While the local radio station did not win, a spokesperson for the media outlet that did win, Trevor Murphy of CKDU in Halifax, spoke passionately about the important role independent and non-profit community media outlets play in the success of the east coast music industry.
Commercial radio stations in this region have all but abandoned any commitment to the promotion of local artists in favour of well-established top selling recording artists. It is independent community and university radio that is providing the air time and resources to help the up and coming artists by playing their music and promoting their concerts.
As Murphy pointed out, these same media outlets need the continued support of their listening audiences if they are to continue serving as a platform for emerging artists.
We would hope that the general public and the business community would recognize that if non-profit operations like CFTA are to continue fostering the growth of the Maritime music industry, it needs to be supported financially in order to be economically sustainable. That support can come through donations, memberships, sponsorships and advertising.
East coast music is a growth industry for this region and the media is an important part of that economic engine.
Geoff deGannes is the past chairman of the Tantramar Radio Society. His daily commentaries can be heard on 107.9 CFTA.