Through his foundation, Shawn Mendes has made a donation of $175,000 to the SickKids Foundation this week, with the money earmarked to buy equipment and supplies for coronavirus preparedness at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Spotify will match up to $10 million in donations to organizations supporting artists in need, rolling out new initiatives today (March 25) to help artists struggling from the situation.

Words & Music regular contributor Melody Lau, via CBC Music, has written a guide for musicians, about how to successfully host a live music event from home.

The Canada Council for The Arts is processing grant payments as usual, and is working with the federal government on practical and immediate ways to help the arts sector face the challenges of COVID-19. The most important updates are:

  • New measures for unemployed workers will be extended to freelancers, whose numbers are particularly high in the arts and culture sectors.
  • The suspension period for new grants, for activities that include travelling and public performances, is extended to July 31.
  • Artists can use grants they’ve already received for a specific project towards digital-based projects.
  • Other measures will be announced as soon as the government has made certain decisions regarding the combination of universal measures and those for the arts sector.

Burton Cummings is playing a spate of Facebook performances to cheer us up, the first of which – an impromptu solo performance of “I Will Play a Rhapsody” – has earned two million views so far.

Facebook Canada and the National Arts Centre’s online performances series continues, with upcoming sets by Jenn Grant, Catherine McLellan, Alex Cuba, Jully Black, Rayannah, and Jeremy Fisher Junior.

Silverstein has released a COVID-19-themed T-shirt telling fans to “Stay the f__k home,” with profits going to the band’s crew, now idle because their planned tour was postponed.

The Alliance of Performing Arts Conferences, on Friday, March 27, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., hosts a free webinar: Ask an Expert: Contracts, Insurance, Visas, Employment, and legislation in the COVID-19 Era.

Stay safe!

SOCAN member John Nathaniel, along with Ryan Tedder and Brent Kutzle of the band OneRepublic, has co-written and co-produced the group’s song “Better Days,” which will help out musicians and artists during these tough times by raising funds in partnership with Spotify.

OneRepublic are donating a portion of the proceeds from the Spotify streaming of “Better Days,” through September 2020, to benefit MusiCares, which has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help those in the music community affected by the ongoing global health crisis.

Nathaniel has worked closely with OneRepublic in recent years, on the singles “Didn’t I” – which the band performed on The Tonight Show: At Home Edition on March 30;  “Rescue Me,” which is certified Gold in the U.S.; and “Wanted.” He also co-produced and mixed the band’s “Somebody To Love,” which was featured on the hit NBC show Songland.

Nathaniel has earned the 2017 SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award (Montréal), as well as six SOCAN No. 1 Song Awards, co-writing, producing, and mixing all of the winning songs, for artists such as Marc Dupré, Alexe Gaudreault, and Brandon Mig. He’s had more than 25 songs reach the Top 10 in the Top 100 radio charts, and more than 70 songs in the Top 100 in the past few years.

Canadian musicians, music industry professionals, and music organizations are continuing to creatively adapt to the situation.

On Friday, March 20, Manitoba Music has launched an emergency financial relief fund to help Manitoban music entrepreneurs. Manitoba Music’s Board of Directors is seeding the fund with $20,000 to begin dispersals of micro-grants before the end of the month. An intake process with more detail will be available soon, and will explain how the fund will be administered and who will be eligible.

The Canadian Folk Music Awards are moving their gala celebration online this year, and will present all 20 Awards virtually, on Saturday, Apr 4, 2020. The Awards were originally scheduled for the weekend of Apr 3-4 in Charlottetown, PEI.

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) Canada is hosting online sessions to allow its managers to come together via video chat. These supportive, open-ended sessions will be hosted by one of their board members but will give everyone a chance to speak. The first one is slated for Tuesday, March 24, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

SOCAN member and country-roots singer-songwriter Corb Lund live-streamed a “taking your requests” show on Instagram on Saturday, and has two more sets planned for this Wednesday and Friday (March 25 and 27), both at 4:00 p.m. PT.

Randy and Tal Bachman teamed up for a joint 30-minute livestream, that aired via YouTube yesterday, March 23, streamed from Randy’s home studio on Vancouver Island.

Tonight’s (March 24) URGNT performance is with Mexican singer-songwriter, Quique Escamilla, at 7:00 pm ET, performing a solo house concert.

Stay safe!