Canadian musicians, music industry professionals, and music organizations are quickly reacting to the COVID-19 situation in the first few days of widespread “lockdown” throughout the country.

With most tours and live performances cancelled, SOCAN members are already creatively adapting to the situation. Here are just a few examples:

  • Arkells’s Max Kerman and other members of the band are offering free guitar/song lessons online via Instagram live every day at 1:00 p.m. ET.
  • Dan Mangan video-recorded a recent scheduled show at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall with no audience, then started streaming it free on YouTube on March 16.
  • David Myles suggested on Twitter that CBC Music play only Canadian content for the next two months to offset the losses of musicians now temporarily unable to tour.
  • Julian Taylor has started offering a twice-monthly live song and “story behind the song” performance series for a modest $3 monthly subscription.
  • Choir! Choir! Choir! are presenting a “Choir!ntine” event on Facebook Live tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET, billed as “An Epic Distan-Sing-Along.” The tagline reads, “If we all have to be alone… we may as well sing together.”
    Click to see musician activity in Québec.
    CBC Music has posted an ongoing list of online music performances.

The music industry is working hard to help its own, too. A few instances:

  • SaskMusic, a non-profit representing Saskatchewan musicians and music industry workers, has announced an emergency relief fund to help offset income loss due to COVID-19, and called for private donations as well.
  • Hamilton patron of the arts Ellen Davidson has started a CONTRIBUTE 2 The RENT campaign to help out indie musicians in Hamilton with their rent payments.
  • Popular and extremely artist-friendly Toronto music venue 120 Diner has started a GoFundMe page to help offset ongoing expenses while its doors are closed.
  • CIMA is conducting a survey of the Canadian music industry to measure the impact of COVID-19.
  • The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec has created downloadable emergency aid applications for both artists and organizations in Québec.
  • The government of Québec has created a program offering financial assistance to meet the needs of workers who, because they are in isolation to counter the propagation of the COVID-19 virus, cannot earn all of their work income and are not eligible for another financial assistance program.
  • SODEC has announced  various measures to deal with the COVID-19 situation, including advance payments of grants under certain regular programs; payments for cancelled events; and postponement of repayments of loans that they’ve financed.

Online pages of ongoing information and strategies for Canadian music industry people who’ve “lost a gig” or work in live performance sectors have been created as well.

More to come as we see how the Canadian music ecosystem continues to adapt.

Take care and stay safe!

Canadian musicians, music industry professionals, and music organizations are continuing to creatively adapt to the COVID-19 situation lengthens throughout the country:

Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share on sales Friday, March 20, 2020 (from midnight to midnight, Pacific Time), and rallying the Bandcamp community to put much needed money directly into artists’ pockets.

Google Arts & Culture has partnered with more than 1,200 museums and art galleries to offer online tours and exhibitions that can be viewed from the comfort of your home – good news for visual artists, whose rights SOCAN now administers.

As CIMA did, Canada Music Live has launched a survey to gauge the severity of COVID-19’s impacts on the Canadian music industry, in order to give government a quick snapshot and to encourage them to provide immediate and long-term relief specific to the industry.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) has sent an open letter to federal and provincial ministries overseeing culture, social security, and employment, in part to ensure that compensation is made available for musicians who’ve had gigs or tours cancelled, for both lost revenue, and other expenses paid as petition fees for P2 visas for U.S. entry.

Roots Music Canada is testing technology to allow artists to stream performances on its website and sell tickets, and make some money to offset their losses from coronavirus cancellations. RMC’s website also includes five simple actions fans can take to support artists during the pandemic.

Ashley MacIsaac plans to livestream a ceilidh on April 1, 2020, surrounded by a small circle of friends, including George Canyon and comedian Bette MacDonald. He plans to livestream it on his website and social channels. He’s aiming to keep the price between $4 and $6 to watch or download, or free if he can find a sponsor.

Yesterday, Québec Prime Minister François Legault asked social media influencers to set a good example by urging their youthful followers to self-isolate. Several SOCAN members posted on social media, and some even wrote songs about it:

More to come as we see how the Canadian music ecosystem continues to adapt. Take care and stay safe!


All our members affected by the cancellation of their tours, shows, and festivals appearances should bear in mind the existence of the Unison Benevolent Fund, a non-profit organization that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. Unison is there to help you during financial or psychological hardships.

Professionals in the music industry have access to very few services during a crisis like the one we’re experiencing now, or simply during a time of financial or health crisis. They can easily find themselves unprepared to deal with the financial and emotional burdens of an unforeseen emergency or illness, such as COVID-19. That’s why the Unison Benevolent Fund offers financial assistance programs, counselling services, and healthcare solutions created and administered by the music community, for the music community.

SOCAN’s Chief of Québec Affairs and Visual Arts, Geneviève Côté, reminds us of the importance of initiatives such as tUnison, and how it is important that we support them during crises such as this one:

“We’re going through challenging times for the freelancers who are a majority of our members, as well as for the entrepreneurs that are our publisher members,” says Côté. “Concert cancellations, that have become necessary to flatten the curve, put many members of the ecosystem at risk, financially as well as mental health-wise. Unison is there for all the members of the ecosystem, whether they’re musicians, sound technicians, publicists, promoters, agents, managers, bookers… It’s efficient and it’s confidential. And those of us who are fortunate enough to have a salaried position should remember to make a donation. Every dollar matters.”

The Unison Benevolent Fund also offers insurance programs adapted to your needs. Visit Unison’s website to find out about all of the precious resources it has to offer.

If you’re a Canadian musician or music industry professional need help immediately because of the COVID-19 crisis, call the emergency helpline at 1-855-986-4766.

To register with Unison, click here!
To find out more about the financial assistance program, click here!
To find out more about the counselling and healthcare solutions, click here!
To make a donation to Unison, click here!

Above all, stay safe, and take good care of yourself.