The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) has launched a new industry certification program called Road Gold that puts the spotlight on Canadian acts' abilities to attract audiences and sell tickets on tour. More specifically, those artists that have sold 25,000+ tickets on national or co-headlining tours.
The first recipients of the program are Coalition Music's rock duo USS; Anthem SRO's rock act Big Wreck; and bluesman Matt Andersen (True North), whose most recent solo tour grossed well in excess of $1M.
“CIMA is excited to be driving an innovative way to recognize the deep, talented pool of Canada’s music community who’ve been able to grow their fan bases through successful touring,” CIMA President Stuart Johnston said in a press statement. “These road warriors who are being awarded the inaugural Road Gold certification are a testament to our industry’s ability to hit the road and achieve high levels of success.”
Jay Parsons of USS agrees with the sentiment, calling attendance at live shows the "true measure" of success. “In a world dominated by chart positions, likes, and followers — people often forget that the true measure of a performing artist is 'How many people will go see them live?'" Parsons said at the launch reception where the band received their Road Gold trophy.
Continuing, Parson said “we are honoured to be one of the first recipients of such an important award. As Canadian musicians, we have one of the most unforgiving touring circuits in the world, and to be recognize by CIMA for our efforts is truly humbling. Without our fans constantly supporting us in a live setting, absolutely none of this would be possible. Thank you all so much.”
The aforementioned artists were selected for achieving a high level of ticket sales during their Canadian tours over a 12-month period. The new initiative intends to prove that artists can be marketable beyond the scope of how many albums they sell.
"Sales of recorded music do not tell the whole picture of an artist's achievements and stature in the marketplace," said Six Shooter Records president and CIMA chair Shauna de Cartier. "Establishing a standard measurement of an artist's touring business provides another relevant and important metric for quantifying success."
Ralph James, CEO of The Agency Group, agrees. “Touring cross-Canada is no small undertaking, and beyond building a fan base, for an independent act to sell 25,000+ tickets over the course of one year speaks to the economic impact live music can have across the board.”
Under the eligibility requirements, the program states that where the act is not performing as the headliner/co-headliner, only 10 percent of total ticket sales will be eligible for that performance. Where the act is not performing as the headliner/co-headliner at a festival, then the higher figure of the following will be eligible for the performance: 2 percent of total festival tickets sold or total festival tickets sold, divided by total number of performing acts per festival.
Venues with less than 100 people capacity and showcases/free shows are ineligible. The total ticket count per performance also cannot exceed the capacity of the venue. Furthermore, at last 50 percent of the music performed must be original to be eligible.
Criteria and more about the program here.