Following a $100,000 revitalization process, Music NWT is looking to expand into the world of northern music post-Covid.
“Music NWT, this past year, has gone through some huge growth,” said Trevor Sinclair, president of the organization. “When I joined two-and-a-half years ago, we had one grant for $10,000 — we had otherwise lost all our previous funding.
“This past year, we managed to grow that funding to $110,000, which meant we got to do a lot more,” he said.
The new funding comes from organizations like the Songwriters Association, the Government of the Northwest Territories and FACTOR.
“Our primary funder is FACTOR,” said Sinclair. “Factor is the organization that funds a lot of musicians for recording. They give us $40,000 every year as they do every Music Industry Association across Canada.”
Music NWT launched a new website on March 25, which marks a significant milestone for the organization as Sinclair said that its strongest community “is the online community.”
“It provides greater access to artists that are particularly in the smaller, remote communities,” he said. “I can tell you just over the weekend (March 26 t0 27), we already had 400 people visit our website and I’ve already received written inquiries into how Music NWT can support artists. So that’s huge.”
The site features areas where users can highlight and share their music with other artists.
As well, there’s a plan for the website to allow the public to purchase tickets for events.
“Then that way, those commission fees remain in the NWT and ultimately go to support our artists and the music industry,” said Sinclair.
Other opportunities that have not yet come to fruition are items like Music NWT’s playlist project and a first-ever NWT Music Awards.
“When I walk through a lot of businesses in this town, they’re playing local radios and stuff, but a lot of those radio stations don’t cover a lot of NWT artists,” Sinclair said with regards the playlist project. “So we’ve built a few playlists that we’re going to be sending around to businesses, encouraging (them) to play these playlists that are just filled with all our NWT artists.
“This way our NWT artists get paid,” he added. “If you get airtime, whether it’s through streaming or through traditional radio, that is payment for an artist.”
As well, an NWT Music Awards gala appears to be on the horizon.
“We’ve never honored our own musicians. So this fall, we are planning on the first-ever NWT Music Awards and gala,” he said. “We want a proper dress-up gala. We will showcase a number of artists, we’re just sort of deciding that in the next month here and we’ll be putting out a call out for showcasing artists and for award nominations as well.”
The awards show and gala is tentatively set for Sept. 10, 2022.