The recently appointed Canadian Music Week CEO has some ambitious plans for steering the multi-platform music extravaganza to new heights. It's worth noting the annual celebrates its 40th in 2021.
In a recent Canadian Musician podcast, she spells out several elements intended to enhance the festival and the conference. For one, the chaotic 10-day music festival is being reigned in. With as many as a thousand acts marqueed last year, she reports that 2020’s focus is on “quality over quantity.”By this, she means that about half as many shows will be promoted, with the club and concert hall calendar pruned to a manageable five nights, May 19 through 23.
Dixon says that the festival’s focus is widening to include more genres, including jazz–and that hip-hop is going to have prominence because of its success, and its pervasive influence on modern culture.
She anticipates having 50:50 gender parity across the festival and conference by 2022. CMW is working with Keychange, an international campaign which invests in emerging talent whilst encouraging music festivals, orchestras, conservatoires, broadcasters, concert halls, agents, record labels and all music organisations to sign up to a 50:50 gender balance pledge by 2022.
Mental illness and life skills are to be addressed, with specifics TBA in the coming months. In the past, CMW has worked with Unison Benevolent Fund and Canadian Live to add content that addresses these topics. These relationships are expected to grow.
The four awards' shows expand to five as the broadcasters carve out a trophy event for themselves, effectively trimming the four-plus hour Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards by half.
The international component that has become immensely successful will, next year, include Poland and the Netherlands.
The CEO has been with CMW for the past 10 years and holds the same title for the burgeoning and successful O’Cannabiz business conference. In the podcast, she names her father, CMW president Neill Dixon, at the top of the list, but also names former Music Canada VP Amy Terrill, Warner Chappell Music GM Vivian Barclay, CMPA ED Margaret McGuffin, and Canadian Live CEO Erin Benjamin. “Really, there are so many women who have taught me so much,” she says, adding that her mentors have taught her to have confidence and make tough decisions when needed.