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November 25, 2003
For immediate release

Funding Announced for ECMA 2004 International Program

Development and Technology

The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and the Honourable Michael Currie, Minister of Development and Technology for Prince Edward Island, today announced funding for the International Program for the 2004 East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs), which will be held in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador between February 12-15, 2004.

This program is designed to recruit music industry buyers and educators from the United States and Europe to the 2004 event to view the talent that Atlantic Canada has to offer.

An international focus gives the members of the East Coast Music Association an opportunity to learn more about international business relations, forming new contacts and working within international markets. The 2003 ECMAs in Halifax, Nova Scotia proved to be the largest event to date with over 2,400 delegates. Thirty-five international delegates and seven consulate officers participated in the 2003 International Program, 22 more delegates than in the previous years.

"The music industry is increasingly becoming an integral part of the Atlantic economy," said Minister Byrne. "Our region boasts numerous international calibre performers and the ECMAs provide an ideal forum to promote them. The Atlantic Canada economy continues to benefit as we export more of our cultural products and services to the world."

This Atlantic Canadian event has grown from a one-day event in a modest Halifax venue to a four-day international gathering, with an annual budget exceeding $1.4 million. It has become the premier event of its kind in Atlantic Canada and one of the top music industry events on the continent. This event now attracts industry professionals, talent buyers, media and record label representatives from around the world.

"The Government of Prince Edward Island is pleased to provide assistance to allow Island musicians an opportunity to showcase their talent to international markets and industry leaders," said Minister Currie. "The music industry on Prince Edward Island has a unique culture and heritage that Islanders have come to enjoy and appreciate. The ECMAs recognize Atlantic Canadian musicians and celebrate all the talent that comes out of these four wonderful provinces."

The East Coast Music Association markets Atlantic Canadian music to the world. Artists like Natalie McMaster, Sloan, Great Big Sea, Julian Austin and Sarah MacLachlan enjoy thriving careers that were launched and/or boosted by the ECMAs. Since 1994, the event has showcased Atlantic Canadian music to millions of record buyers through a national award-winning broadcast on CBC television.

"The International Program has become an important part of the ECMAs, since it enables us to expand the reach of the talented artists we have in Atlantic Canada," said Steve Horne, Executive Director, East Coast Music Association. "Through this program, our region has new tools to help us access the many export opportunities available around the world."

The International Program at the 2004 ECMAs is made possible with a $21,571 contribution from the Canada/Atlantic Provinces COOPERATION Agreement on International Business Development (IBDA). The IBDA is designed to increase exporting in Atlantic Canada by funding projects that help small- and medium-sized companies explore, enter and succeed in international markets.

First signed in May 1994, the $13-million Agreement involves the four Atlantic Canadian provincial governments and three federal departments - the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Industry Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. ACOA provides 70 percent of the funding while the provincial governments provide the remaining 30 percent.

For more information, see the Canada/Atlantic Provinces COOPERATION Agreement on International Business Development on the Web site, or the ECMA 2004 Web site at

Media Contact: Julie Whitlock
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