2- Beyond the Branch Plant - Gregory Taylor, University of Calgary

4:00 PM, Saturday 25 May 2019 (2 hours)
Guided tour "Montréal in jazz"   06:00 PM to 08:00 PM (2 hours)
The opening of EMI’s first record pressing plant in Canada in 1977 offers a window to the wider cultural political economy of the era. This cutting-edge facility located near the Toronto airport represented a large step in the maturity of the Canadian music industry and illustrates the relationship between the materiality of the Canadian cultural economy and wider issues of industrial infrastructure. This plant embodies a 1970s Canadian music industry that is witnessing significant domestic growth and demonstrates the increasing vertical integration of EMI Canada. The methodology of this paper draws upon detailed files from the EMI archive on the building of this plant that reveal how this facility fit into wider developments of the global place of Canadian music in the 1970s. The official plans and letters in the archive allow for comparisons between this new Canadian facility and similar plants in major American centres. The files reveal the strong correlation between the seemingly mundane elements of construction such as zoning laws, transportation access and quality of basic utilities and the finished product on record store racks. Among the key questions: what political and economic factors, in Canada and abroad, precipitated the construction of this plant? Is the establishment of this production facility the material consequence of the still nascent Canadian Content policy? Did the use of tariffs, increasingly-relevant in 2019, play a role in the establishment of the Toronto pressing plant?
University of Calgary
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