Kingston’s new YGK Music Pilot Project is giving musicians a step up in the recording industry.
The City recently told the public they’d be accepting submissions for a local music playlist project, which will highlight two streams of music: traditional and contemporary.
The traditional stream includes local jazz, classical, folk, and world music, while the contemporary stream will consist of pop, rock, electronic, hip-hop, indie, and country.
The pilot project promises to support local musicians by streaming their music on the city website and within city buildings.
Kingston’s produced some of the most talented and celebrated artists today, from The Tragically Hip to The Glorious Sons. This project offers exposure to local musicians who hope to follow in their footsteps.
That exposure has only been available to artists with an already-established following. For those without, there are few opportunities to gain listeners outside of touring and playing at local bars.
Not all new musicians can afford to tour, and those who perform at bars often play to the same fanbase night after night. This pilot project gives local musicians the chance to share their music on a new platform and reach new fans.
But first, they have to submit their songs to the Local Music Working Group—composed of members of Kingston’s Arts Advisory Committee among others—for consideration. Once they’ve picked 40 artists, their songs will be featured for a full year.
Artists whose songs make the cut receive a $100 honorarium and must sign a licensing agreement with the City. While the honorarium is hardly adequate payment for a year’s worth of work, considering the benefits and costs, it marks a step in the right direction.
The licensing agreement only allows the City to use these selected artists’ songs, and it doesn’t require artists to stop performing their songs or using them for other promotional measures. This means they’re not losing out on anything but rather gaining exposure.
If the $100 honorarium were considered minimum wage payment for a musician’s work, it’d equate about seven hours.
But the benefits of the pilot project extend past finances. Besides attracting tourists, listening to local bands in city buildings throughout the year will enhance the downtown experience for Kingston residents seeking new activities and talent.
It’s a step toward supporting artists who constantly entertain us and make Kingston enjoyable. It’ll also build a stronger sense of community and Kingston pride.
Kingston musicians are hard-working and face a competitive environment in the music industry. They deserve the chance to show their music to audiences beyond the locals who already love them.
Brittany is The Journal’s Assistant Arts Editor. She’s a fourth-year English student.
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