Local musicians to serenade city callers

Enough with the Muzak already!

That’s the message from the city as it announced plans Thursday to start playing music from Ottawa musicians when the city staff put callers on hold.

“We debated about this and thought we should make you listen to council when we put you on hold but we’d probably get lots of hang ups so we opted for good local music instead,” said Bay Coun. Mark Taylor, as he announced the initiative dubbed #ottmusik

Coun. Taylor was joined by Mayor Jim Watson and local musician Rolf Klausener, artistic director of the Arboretum Music Festival, and lead singer of The Acorn, who performed after the announcement at the Capital Rehearsal Studios.

“I haven’t played this early before without caffeine,” said Mr. Klausener.

The mayor said it’s an innovative way to get the message across that Ottawa has a rich, deep music scene.

“This is not going to probably sell an awful lot more CDs for one person but it may give that individual a little bit of a start, a little bit of a boost as they build their music career,” he said.

Successful musicians will get $200 for every song used and Coun. Taylor said the city has plans to promote the musicians at venues around town.

Submissions will be accepted until 11:59:59 p.m. on Monday Jan. 12. Coun. Taylor songs will be judged on artistic merit, diversity, community involvement and content.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on things like buy local, shop local, eat local. This is listen local. We have a tremendous opportunity with the number of people calling in to play anything. Why would we bring in canned music,” he said.