Advisory council meets, looking at ways to save Toronto's live music scene

Toronto's music scene is front and centre today at City Hall.

The Kool House, The Hideout, and The Big Bop have all been shut down in recent years and many are blaming gentrification.

The Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council listened to hours of submissions today as it considers ways to salvage what's left of the city's live music venues.

Toronto's real estate market is putting a lot of pressure on the industry.

Land is in such high demand that often times private landlords are enticed with bags of cash from developers and it's "goodbye" to the music venue that occupies the space.

Should the city step in and assist music venues from closing?

Councillor Josh Colle argues it's one of the main battles faced by the industry. "Are there ways we can encourage tourism to the city so that these venues have more people going to them and they can be more viable where rent is high; can we look at zoning issues that may open up other lands for live music that up until now weren't available?"

He says another challenge is defining what constitutes a live music venue? "Is karaoke a live music venue that contributes to the city's music scene or is it original live programming on a regular basis? One of the things the industry has asked for is for the creation of that kind of registry so that we know what we should be protecting."

Councillor Joe Cressy says there have to be incentives, also, for new venues to open their doors. "We can make it as easy as possible by making it more affordable to run a business, if you look at economic and tax credits; we can make it easier to protect the venues by having heritage designations or different zones; we can make it easier to operate a venue."

A list of recommendations will be drafted and will go to the executive committee later this year.