National Music Centre Survives A Punishing First Year

Calgary’s National Music Centre (NMC) has released its annual report summarizing the first year of operations for Studio Bell, home of the NMC — which first opened its doors to the public in July 2016.

The 2016-2017 operational year was subdued by many factors including a punishing economy in the province and an 11 per cent decline in tourism to the city.

Despite this, 100,000 guests took in 680 events hosted at the building that cost $191 million to build and fixture.

Giving the operation a positive spin, NMC President and CEO Andrew Mosker says “the National Music Centre is well on its way to becoming a national cultural institution and a well-known landmark for Calgary.”

He adds that “while this last year has been a difficult one for many in the province, we are committed to seizing on the entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel so many Albertans forward over the years, and using it to remain competitive, innovative and fully viable during tougher economic times.”  

NMC’s overall economic impact in the city and province has been noticeable and far reaching, a statement accompanying the release of the report states. “Since groundbreaking, NMC has delivered 380 jobs to the province and has contributed $22 million to the overall GDP.”

Continuing, “The province’s ongoing economic downturn has impacted NMC on a number of levels, however, including a discrepancy in the number of actual visitors over the first year versus the projected number, and ongoing debt-servicing commitments which must be addressed. Given the economic impacts of these issues, the NMC is committed to maintaining a nimble operational model that will allow for continued organizational growth.

“The NMC’s year-one statistics are solid, and they speak for themselves,” said Mary Kapusta, Director of Marketing and Communications at the National Music Centre. “While the last year has been hard on everybody, including us, we are confident in the partnerships we have built with our supporters and the public, and will leverage these partnerships as we move forward with another year of exciting programming and community investment.”

 Looking forward to the last part of 2017 and beyond, NMC will continue to focus on developing earned revenue streams, piloting and launching more public programs and live music events, expanding on-site recording and live-streaming, delivering more youth and teen programs, and working with tourism partners to increase its travel trade business.

From the report itself:

NMC ended the year with Net Income of $668K versus a budget of $276,000. Including interest and amortization, NMC reported a loss of $2.8M At year end, NMC had investments of $4M which are set aside for future investments.

As well, 467 new donors were brought in, and $10M was raised in funding in the calendar year.

Supplementary reading

National Music Centre visitor numbers hit sour note in the first year

 Estimates of 150K were off the mark, as only 100K walk through the doors — CBC News

First-year attendance numbers at National Music Centre fail to meet expectations, but CEO says organization has had 'very successful first year.'

Despite lower attendance than expected and a $60-million shortfall in fundraising, the first year of operations for Calgary’s National Music Centre is being proclaimed a success story by its president and CEO, who says the year-old organization continues to weather the tough economic times — Calgary Herald

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