Why It's So Expensive For Canadian Acts To Cross The Border

The list of successful Canadian artists on the American record charts is growing, and yet the cost for developing artists wanting to gain a foothold south of the border is prohibitively expensive.

The visa costs alone for a band are nothing short of exorbitant when one compares the outlay against the potential income burgeoning acts can expect to be paid.

Vice Media's online music site Noisey explores what for many is a dilemma and adds up the costs necessary to get a foothold in a market that for many is a necessary stepping stone to widespread success and real incomes.

For artists at the beginning of their careers, establishing a presence in the States is a vital early step. Adam “Bix” Berger, who manages Canadian bands PUP and Alvvays, says it’s “crucial to play outside of Canada as early on as possible if your goal is to get anywhere,” and that finding a way to get a band to New York is one of his first priorities when he starts working with them. Unfortunately, at this point in an artist’s development, when they are trying to attract labels and booking agents, they’re unlikely to be finding big pay days on the road, and getting into the US legally isn’t cheap. To play even a single paid date in the US, even a $100 DIY show in a basement, work visas are required. And for artists who do not fit into the category of “an artist of International Renown,” the only available visas is the P-2.

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