Work in The Music Industry in Canada

March 8, 2024


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada boasts a vibrant and diverse music scene, and with that comes a dynamic music industry offering a multitude of exciting career paths. Whether your passion lies in composing, performing, promoting, or the business side of things, there's a space for you to contribute your unique talents. Learn more about working in the Music Industry in Canada.

The Music Industry in Canada

The music industry in Canada is a thriving ecosystem brimming with talent and innovation. It punches above its weight, ranking as the eighth-largest music market globally, according to the 2023 Global Music Report by the IFPI.

With a rich cultural heritage and a strong tradition of musical excellence, Canada has emerged as a global powerhouse in the music scene. From chart-topping artists to independent musicians, the country's music industry encompasses various genres and styles, reflecting the country's multicultural fabric.

At the heart of Canada's music industry is its artists – talented individuals who craft melodies, lyrics, and performances that resonate with audiences worldwide. From pop icons to indie darlings, Canadian musicians have significantly impacted the global stage, earning accolades and admiration for their artistry and innovation. Canada is a great place for musicians who want to work in the music industry.

Canada’s Music Industry Infrastructure

In addition to its vibrant pool of talent, Canada boasts a robust infrastructure to support the music industry. Major cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are home to world-class recording studios, concert venues, and music festivals, providing artists with the resources and platforms to showcase their work.

Music in Canada is bolstered by a strong network of record labels, talent agencies, and music publishers, facilitating music production, promotion, and distribution across various platforms and formats.

From mainstream radio to digital streaming services, Canadian music enjoys widespread domestically and internationally exposure. With government support and industry initiatives, Canada's music industry continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the digital age.

Key Aspects That Contribute to the Vibrancy of Canada's Music Industry

Canada's music scene is like a delicious potluck - full of variety and flavor! There's something for everyone, from French songs in Quebec to electronic music parties in Toronto. The government even helps artists make and share their music with the world. Canadian musicians are winning awards and making waves around the globe, and there are always great concerts and festivals happening across the country. We explore what makes Canada's music scene so special.


When it comes to music in Canada, the industry reflects the rich cultural tapestry of Canada, encompassing various genres, languages, and regional scenes.

Foreign-born musicians play a crucial role in shaping Canada's musical landscape in various ways. They bring their musical heritage, introducing new instruments, rhythms, and styles that enrich the Canadian music scene. This cultural exchange often leads to the creation of unique Canadian genres such as Indo-Jazz or Celtic Rock, exemplified by bands like تلفزيون (Televisão), blending Brazilian rhythms with electronic music in Toronto.

Foreign-born musicians or those with foreign ancestry, often achieve international acclaim, putting Canada's music industry on the global stage. Examples include Brazilian-born Queer Canadian singer-songwriter Bruno Capinan, Somalian-born Canadian rapper K’naan. Icons like Oscar Peterson, born in Montreal to Caribbean parents, and Deadmau5, born Joel Zimmerman in Niagara Falls to British parents, showcase Canada's diverse talent worldwide.

Newcomers establish themselves within specific musical communities, enriching local scenes across the country. From traditional Chinese music in Chinatowns to opera schools in Little Italy, their presence fosters a vibrant and diverse musical environment. Additionally, foreign-born musicians bring specialized knowledge and teaching techniques, enhancing music education in Canada. Whether teaching Indian classical music or European violin techniques, they elevate the skills of aspiring Canadian musicians. Lastly, immigrant musicians challenge traditional musical boundaries, promoting inclusivity and diversity within the industry. By incorporating elements of their heritage into their music, such as African-descended hip-hop artists, they contribute to a more representative and relatable soundscape for Canadian audiences.

Government Support

Government initiatives like the Canada Music Fund support artists, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals. This fosters the creation, production, and promotion of diverse Canadian music.

International Recognition

In recent years, Canadian artists have garnered attention for their contributions to various genres, including pop, rock, hip-hop, electronic, and folk music. From Grammy-winning superstars to emerging talents, Canada's music industry is a melting pot of creativity and innovation, offering endless opportunities for artists to thrive and succeed.

Canadian artists consistently achieve international acclaim. From the legendary jazz vocalist Diana Krall to the pop phenomenon Justin Bieber, music in Canada continues to leave its mark on the global stage.

Live Music Scene

Canada boasts a vibrant live music scene that pulsates across the country, from bustling city centers to intimate cafes in small towns, where there's always a stage waiting to be graced by talented musicians.

Live performances provide a crucial platform for artists to showcase their talent, connect with audiences directly, and build a loyal fanbase, whether a rising star playing a local bar or a seasoned artist headlining a stadium concert.

The live music industry is a significant economic driver, creating jobs for musicians, sound technicians, lighting specialists, venue staff, promoters, and countless others involved in organizing and running concerts and festivals. Music also attracts tourists who spend money on travel, accommodation, food, and drinks, further boosting the local economy.

Live music events foster a sense of community and cultural exchange, bringing people together from diverse backgrounds to share in the joy of music. Whether it's a genre-specific festival or a multi-artist show, live music provides a platform for cultural exploration and discovery.

A Symphony of Opportunities

The music industry in Canada is a harmonious blend of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. From bustling urban centers to quaint rural communities, there are countless avenues for aspiring musicians and industry professionals to pursue their passions and carve out successful careers.

Top Music Jobs in Canada

Music Job NOC Average Salary per Year (CAD)
Musician NOC 51122 48,750
Composer NOC 51121 49,082
Conductor NOC 51121 170,625
Sound Engineer NOC 52113 57,275
Record Producer NOC 51120 89,117
Music Teacher NOC 51122 50,213
Show Promoter NOC 11202 74,000
Music Industry Executive NOC 00015 137,063
Music Therapist NOC 41301 69,568
Musician Agent NOC 11202 65,780

In the music industry, many jobs help make the music we love. From musicians who play instruments to composers who write music, each job is important. In this section, we'll look at different music jobs in Canada and how much they usually pay. Whether you dream of performing on stage or working behind the scenes, there's a job for everyone in the music industry.

Landing a Job in the Canadian Music Industry

The Canadian music industry offers exciting opportunities, but navigating the path to a fulfilling career requires a strategic approach. Here's a detailed roadmap to guide you.

Network Like a Pro

Join online forums, Facebook groups, and platforms like LinkedIn specific to the Canadian music industry. This allows you to share your expertise, learn from others, and connect with potential employers or collaborators.

Attend conferences and online networking events if you are not in Canada. If you do happen to find yourself here, attend events like Canadian Music Week (CMW) or Pop Montreal to connect with industry professionals, artists, and fellow aspiring individuals. These events offer workshops, panels, and networking opportunities specifically designed to foster connections within the music industry.

Immerse yourself in the local music scene by attending live shows, artist showcases, and industry mixers. This allows you to build relationships with local musicians, venue owners, and industry professionals in your city.

Carry Out a Targeted Job Search

Check out Canadian music industry job boards like or, or to find job postings tailored specifically for the music industry. Research music companies, recording studios, artist management firms, and music venues in your area of interest. Check their career pages for current job openings and submit applications directly.

Showcase Your Talent

Build a strong online presence that showcases your skills and experience. Create a professional website or online portfolio highlighting your work, demos, or past projects. Utilize platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud to share your music if you're a musician or producer.

Use platforms like LinkedIn to create a comprehensive profile that highlights your skills, experience, and any relevant certifications you may have. This increases your visibility to potential employers searching for talent within the industry.

Cold Contacting

It's also a good idea to research and identify individuals in your desired field. Craft personalized emails or messages introducing yourself, highlighting your skills and passion, and expressing your interest in connecting or learning more about potential opportunities.

Canadian Work Permits For Unlocking Your Music Career in Canada

For aspiring music industry professionals from outside Canada, obtaining a work permit is the key that unlocks your dream career. Canada offers two main categories of work permits.

The Open Work Permit

This permit provides flexibility, allowing you to work for any employer in Canada. This flexibility is ideal for freelance musicians who can perform with different bands, session musicians who can work on various projects, or music teachers who can offer private lessons to multiple students.

The Employer-Specific Work Permit

This permit ties your employment to a specific Canadian employer. This is the most common route for musicians who are offered jobs with a Canadian orchestra, recording studios seeking audio engineers, or artist management firms requiring marketing specialists. To obtain this permit, your employer will need first to secure a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), demonstrating that they couldn't find a qualified Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position.

The Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream is a federal program expedites work permits for high-skilled workers in specific sectors. You can apply via the Performer (R186) stream if you are a highly accomplished musician with demonstrably valuable skills and international recognition.

There's a chance that some music-related professions, such as music producers, composers for film and television, or music sound designers, might be included on the Global Talent Occupations List. Carefully research the list to see if your specific skillset aligns with any listed occupations.

If you prefer a more permanent option, you may want to immigrate to Canada.

Immigration Pathways for Musicians

Canada offers a dynamic music scene for those seeking to immigrate and establish themselves. Below are two of the most popular options. There are three primary immigration pathways to consider: Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) and Express Entry.

The Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) offer a beacon of hope for musicians seeking Canadian permanent residency. Unlike the more competitive Express Entry system, PNP programs are administered by individual provinces and often have a more musician-friendly approach.

PNP programs often prioritize candidates who can contribute to the province's cultural scene. This aligns well with the value musicians bring.

Compared to Express Entry, PNP programs frequently have lower entry requirements and may not require extensive work experience in specific NOC codes.

Many provinces offer PNP streams specifically designed for skilled workers in the cultural sector, including musicians. These streams may have tailored requirements that better reflect the realities of a musician's career path.

Learn more about the best places to live as a musician in Canada.

Express Entry

Qualifying for Express Entry as a musician can be challenging, but it's not entirely impossible. The Canadian immigration system categorizes occupations using the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system. Certain music-related professions, like music producers or music therapists, have specific NOC codes and may be eligible for Express Entry if you meet the experience and educational requirements. Research the NOC list to see if your specific musical profession is included.

Here are some scenarios where you might qualify for Express Entry:

  • Musician with a Relevant Degree and Work Experience: A musician with a music education degree and several years of experience teaching music in a recognized institution might qualify under the NOC code for music teachers.
  • Musician with Additional Skills: A musician who also possesses skills in audio engineering or music production and has demonstrable work experience in those fields could potentially qualify under the relevant NOC code.


What Are the Benefits of Working in the Music Industry in Canada?

Canada offers a stable and diverse music scene with opportunities for growth and collaboration. Additionally, Canada is renowned for its high quality of life, multiculturalism, and welcoming environment.

How Competitive is the Music Industry in Canada?

The music industry in Canada is very competitive, requiring dedication, perseverance, and ongoing upskilling. However, with talent, passion, and the right approach, individuals can carve out their niche and build successful careers.