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!