How Toronto’s Blue Crane is helping the music industry sing a new tune


Music agency pro Tao-Ming Lau decided to do her own thing in 2018. After working for fancy record labels and booking acts like Joanna Newsom and Death Cab for Cutie, Lau felt ready to start a new kind of booking agency. Blue Crane would be different — it would prioritize women and artists of colour and offer the representation and resources to help them thrive.

“People sign young rappers of colour from Brampton or Scarborough and give them one or two months to develop as an artist rather than the two years they’d give white musicians who are given more access,” she says. “We need sustained support at labels and management.”

Lau was born and raised in Vancouver, but she knew that Toronto was the perfect place to start her new adventure.

“To me, Toronto represents opportunity and all the intense, exciting things of a large, sprawling city,” says Lau. “It symbolizes the safety and freedom of moving from a smaller city like Vancouver and turning myself into who I want to be.”

Lau finds joy in supporting her artists, including notable signings like Toronto DJ Bambii and Montreal rapper Narcy and emerging talents like rising R&B star Zaki Ibrahim. She is determined to change the industry from within. Blue Crane prioritizes under-represented artists, but it also helps create inclusive and safe environments by working with consultants to offer workshops, provide training manuals to promoters and ensure that venues and festivals are accessible to those with disabilities.

Now with a staff of four, Lau has big plans for Blue Crane, including branching off into HR consultation.