Alberta Music Industry AssociationWhile researching a project for a client so I could design a Facebook campaign for an upcoming event, I was rewarded for my efforts when I came across the website for the Alberta Music Industry Association. Not only is it fresh, clean and inviting, it includes an very well presented online directory of musicians, recording studios, venues, sound and publicity services and related businesses in Alberta. The directory is fully searchable by artist, by specific industry e.g. recording studio, CD manufacturing, publicity, etc. , by venue and by festival. If you select the venue category you are directed to a short informational listing on each of the major music venues in Alberta such as location, venue size, sound system details and contact information. If you select the festival category, you are directed to a page that includes listings on the major music festivals in Alberta. 

According to the ARIA website, the Alberta Recording Arts Foundation was founded in 1980 by Bob McCord from CISN Radio in accordance to the  licensing agreement that was required by the CRTC for  radio broadcasting. This led to the incorporation of the Alberta Recording Industries Association (ARIA) in 1984  under the Societies Act of Alberta. Its official mandate was to:

participate and assist in the overall  development and improvement of the Alberta and Canadian  recorded music industry, especially as it relates to  Alberta.

The office was in the basement of the CISN radio station in Edmonton and employed one administrative assistant.

In early 1986 ARIA presented “The David Foster Songwriting Contest”, open to all Alberta artists providing they were members of ARIA. Needless to say, ARIA quickly gained 1,000 members, consisting largely of artists from the industry. The contest continued for another two years but then, ARIA changed their annual event to a provincial awards show.

As resources increased, more educational seminars were presented to provide their members with the opportunity to meet and talk with industry pro’s from around the  country.

In 1996 ARIA moved to the Energy Square Building in Edmonton and hired a part time Executive Director. Together with an administrative assistant, they shared office space with three other companies. The Executive Director was also the E.D. of another non-profit music association. This proved to be a good marriage with the ability to collaborate on projects and share certain costs.

The criteria of who was eligible to be a full member changed at that time to consisting of incorporated business members only. Artists were no longer allowed to become members who had voting rights or could hold a position on the Board unless they owned and operated a limited company. Therefore studios, record labels, publishers and distributors made up the majority of the board with the business membership fee priced at $250.00/yr.

From 1995 to 1999 ARIA collaborated with the music industry associations of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan and staged independent music festivals and conferences known as the All Indie Weekend. With this common project, these three industry associations worked in tandem toward the shared vision of developing the infrastructure of the independent music industry in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

After four successful All Indie Weekends, these MIA’s decided to join forces and resources to create a new entity in further promoting prairie music to the world, calling it the Prairie Music Alliance Inc. (May 1999).

In 2001 ARIA ratified the by-laws changing the criteria for membership. Full members with voting rights and consideration for Board positions constituted…

those companies and individuals whose principal source of  income is earned from the following activities in the Alberta music industry: Artists, songwriters, publicists/promoters, producers, engineers, studios, labels, publishers, distributors, artists managers,  public broadcasters.

They introduced The Associate and Sustaining Memberships at that time as well.

The Western Canadian Music Alliance Inc. (January 2003) was formed in late 2002 when the Prairie Music Alliance expanded, inviting the Music Industry Associations of BC  and the Yukon to join forces in creating a new entity. The vision of developing the infrastructure of a regional music industry is intact and now shared across these five provinces.

In 2006 ARIA moved into its own office and employed of a full time Executive Director along with a full time administrative assistant.

In October of 2007 the members of the Alberta Recording Industries Association voted to change the name to the Alberta Music Industry Association. This is in line with other music industry associations in the country who are striving to be looked upon as an all inclusive resource for the music industry.

Currently they run a three-person office in Edmonton and provide the music industry in Alberta with up to date seminars, workshops, showcasing opportunities, networking, touring support and more.

I also note from their website that Kennedy Jensen, their long time executive director has resigned and that they are on the look out for a replacement. They’ll have some tough shoes to fill.

See the Alberta Music Industry Association website.

Added on May 1, 2012

from the website…In the end, Calgary’s Michael Bernard Fitzgerald claimed the top prize of $10,000 from ATB Financial and $2,000 from Alberta Music for a professional recording of his catchy, winning tune titled, simply: Alberta for the All Alberta Song Contest sponsored by ATB and AMIA.

Awesome! That makes me feel incredible,” exclaimed Fitzgerald when informed of his big win. “I was just really happy that we made a song that seems to speak to a wide range of Albertans which is exactly what I wanted to make. My mom loves it, but my fan base loves it as well.

Fitzgerald entered the contest after one of his fans posted a link to on his Facebook page and urged him to write a tune. He penned the song while on the road and recorded the track upon his return home.

I wanted to create a song that was kind of ‘anthemic’ for Alberta,” he says. “It doesn’t dive too deep into metaphor or anything. It’s kind of literal and straight ahead but I just thought it would be so nice to have something that had a beat to it and could resonate with people from all walks of Albertan life.

Making a living as a young musician isn’t easy, says Fitzgerald, so winning the All-Albertan Song Contest is a huge boost.

To be an artist these days, you definitely have high moments and lows. This is definitely a high. It feels like I have the support of my home province.

Folk Fest favourite John Wort Hannam of Fort Macleod claims the second place prize of $3,000 for Out Here, while Fort Saskatchewan’s Braden Gates gets the $2,000 third place prize for Alberta Eyes.