Highlight: Dr. Rebecca Franklin


Newfoundland and Labrador is well-known across Canada for its energetic and high-quality music scene.

Dr. Rebecca Franklin is examining similar music centres in the United States and Australia to explore the importance of vibrant music industries for communities and the ways in which communities can support both the industry and its participants. One important way to do that in St. John’s is to bolster a dynamic downtown core, she says.

“We want tourists to come here, and music is a fantastic reason for them to come here,” she said. “People get bored with cities that are homogenized and everything’s the same, including the gift shops and restaurants. The more interesting and iconic the downtown is in St. John’s, then the better it is for everybody, in not only this city but throughout the entire province.”

According to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, musicians and singers across Canada earn an average of just $9,394 each year, in spite of the music industry having a significant effect on local, provincial and national economies. In Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, the music industry accounts for an estimated $61.3 million of the province’s nearly $31.6 billion gross domestic product.

Bolstering the industry means offering enough opportunities for musicians to earn a living wage, creating a strong sense of community, providing plenty of good quality venues and developing dynamic districts that attract both tourists and residents.

Dr. Franklin’s research on music and entrepreneurship also shows that the province’s music industry needs more participants in the management and booking side of the business, and that government can play a bigger role in supporting the industry through funding, grants and reducing bureaucracy. Her work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

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