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How music industry hopes to help B.C. artists break through, make money as live shows return

ARC accelerator program offering workshops to at least 45 West Coast musicians over three years
ARC program set to launch in July | Jena Ardell-Getty Images

With B.C. musicians getting back into rhythm of performing after a pandemic-induced curtain call, the local industry hopes to help emerging artists pick up their tempo in terms of business and creative development.

“There are so many talented artists in B.C. who reach a certain point in building their local following, yet haven't quite been able to break out of B.C. and reach that next level,” Lindsay MacPherson, executive director the Music BC industry association, told BIV.

Her organization is tapping $600,000 from the province for a new accelerator program providing at least 45 West Coast musicians with workshops on everything from honing live performances and writing skills, to managing finances while on the road.

The ARC program opened applications Monday ahead of the July launch of a two-day business workshop in the Lower Mainland, a multi-day creative mentorship workshop in Penticton, B.C., and then a series of live showcase performances in Victoria.

Music BC consulted with artists earlier this year about the top business skills that seem to be lacking and “it really came down to business admin, financial management, managing a budget and, of course, marketing and branding really stood out as well,” according to MacPherson.

A jury made of industry professionals will be picking 15 applicants annually over the course of the program’s three-year lifespan, but MacPherson said she’s hopeful Music BC can get private partners to boost funding and expand the number of musicians tapping ARC.

Everything from artist diversity to the marketability of the musician’s genre will be taken into consideration, she added.

“The timing couldn't be better with our culture coming back to a full reopen and audiences eager to get out to see live music again. There's been a ton of writing and recording over the last couple of years. But the reality is that emerging independent artists are up against every heritage or label-supported act releasing music,” MacPherson said.

“We certainly feel that by providing this opportunity to sharpen their business, creative and technical skills through ARC, it can be a springboard for success in the music industry domestically and internationally.”

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