Music PEI sets schedule for Bell Aliant Canadian Song Conference

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The schedule for the third annual Bell Aliant Canadian Song Conference was announced Thursday at the Rodd Hotel.

The four-day event will bring music industry professionals from around the world to Charlottetown to work with some of the Island's best musicians.

The two-day Canadian Songwriter Challenge is also part of the festivities, kicking off on May 9, bringing P.E.I. musicians together with musicians from other provinces.

Song Conference

Rob Oakie, executive director of Music PEI, says the conference started out as an experiment to help Island musicians find a viable career path in the industry.

"We wanted to see what we could put together but really focus on trying to help artists create other revenue streams, alternate revenue streams to live performance," he told CBC's Mainstreet P.E.I.

Oakie says these alternatives like music publishing, and having work featured in films, television and video games, have become essential as album sales are not what they used to be.

"In order to develop a sustainable career you need to create multiple revenue streams, you can't just rely on a couple."

'Opened a whole world'

Island singer and songwriter Dennis Ellsworth spoke at the news conference about his experience with both events.

In 2012 Music PEI brought English musician John Smith to the Island and Ellsworth had the opportunity to collaborate with him.

"That opened a whole world to me that I had pretty much shut out," Ellsworth said.

He has since toured Finland, the Netherlands, England and Ireland as well as the United States.

"The trajectory from that day has been quite an incredible one."

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