Document Type

Border Policy Brief

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Human mobility, Seattle, Vancouver, music scenes, Cross-border collaboration


This Border Policy Brief examines the degree of connectivity between the two music scenes of Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC, which are less than 150 miles apart and share similar socio-demographic, economic, and regional characteristics. This Brief focuses on the effect of the Canada – U.S. border on the degree of connectivity between those music scenes and points out some opportunities and challenges faced by independent music artists in the early stages of their career, including Indigenous artists. The research presented here includes highlights from a broader project (see sidebar).

The vitality of the music industry in the two city-regions of Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC is the product of the cross-fertilization and growth that result from the attraction, retention, and infusion of new talent, ideas, styles, information, and investments. This music ‘ecosystem’ relies on a social and physical infrastructure, with venues of different sizes, genres, and importance, in a transnational setting that includes shared ownership of venues. The region’s audiences, patrons of the arts, institutional support, and a local and diverse talent pool contribute to thriving music scenes in both cities. Cross-border collaboration in music production, distribution, and events is also an important element to establishing touring networks, maximizing investment, and developing information networks that collaborate with other industries, such as film, television and the region’s booming tech sector.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Concerts--British Columbia--Vancouver; Concerts--Washington (State)--Seattle; Music--Performance--British Columbia--Vancouver; Music--Performance--Washington (State)--Seattle; Musicians--Social networks

Geographic Coverage

Canadian-American Border Region; Vancouver (B.C.); Seattle (Wash.)


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