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Public Research Findings: Threat to live music extended as more Canadians to avoid public events for longer

August 10, 2020, Toronto: Music Canada commissioned Abacus Data to conduct public opinion research to determine how the music industry is being impacted by Canadians’ changing feelings around music, during the pandemic. The second round of the national public opinion survey found that an increasing number of Canadians are concerned about COVID-19, and a growing number of them plan to avoid public events even after restrictions are lifted, resulting in a longer threat to live music.

“The ongoing triple threat facing the live music industry, and all mass gathering industries, requires government action,” said Patrick Rogers, Interim co-Chief Executive Officer. “This threat includes the medical concerns that Canadians have about the virus, that government restrictions on large gatherings will remain well into recovery, and that even after government restrictions are lifted, confidence in returning to live events will continue to be low.”

“Live music was one of the first sectors impacted by the pandemic, and it will continue to feel the impacts long after restrictions are lifted,” continued Rogers. “Artists, venues and support staff will require further support long after other elements of the economy have reopened.”

Concern among Canadians about the pandemic remains elevated, with more believing that “the worst is yet to come” than did in April. The research shows that even as economies begin to slowly re-open, more Canadians expect to stay away from live music events long after physical distancing restrictions are lifted. Even those who regularly attended live music events before the pandemic, 55% said that they will wait at least 6 months or longer to attend a music festival after physical restrictions end – and for large concert venues, it was 60%. Perceptions of risk for attending these types of events are rising over time – instead of declining. The findings ultimately point to the prolonged threat faced by the live music industry.

“This research confirms that Canadians continue to worry about the health impacts of COVID-19. While both artists and fans dearly miss the live music experience, it is clear that ongoing concerns about the virus will continue to significantly impact live events well into 2021,” said Jackie Dean, Music Canada’s Interim co-Chief Executive Officer. “The results show that certain safety measures will help attract some live music lovers back to live events – but many will remain hesitant.” 

Many Canadians want to get back to enjoying live music when it’s safe to do so. As the pandemic continues, the research found that self-identified “live music lovers” now miss live music even more than they did in April. 90% of respondents in this group now say “I really miss going to concerts” – and 89% of this group agree that digital content will never replace the feeling of seeing live music (an increase of 5% from polling conducted at the end of April). 

This research builds upon Abacus Data’s findings from earlier in the pandemic. In May, Abacus’ national public opinion survey identified the triple threat the music industry faces in its recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. 

Music Canada also commissioned Abacus Data to conduct national research that explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the experience of Canada’s artists. That research found that professional musicians are feeling increasing pressure as a result of the pandemic, due to a reduction in income and their ability to produce music that threatens their ability to survive.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on artists’ ability to perform, to create, and to earn a living from their music,” said Miranda Mulholland, artist and Chair of the Music Canada Advisory Council. “While the findings are bleak, this series of research is providing valuable insights for artists, industry, and government as we look for safe ways to return to work. It is clear that artists and those who work closely with them in the live performance space will need further support as the economy begins to reopen.”

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, please visit: https://abacusdata.ca/live-music-threat-pandemic-music-canada/.

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Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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National Research: Musicians Feeling the Pressure to Perform in a Continuing Pandemic

July 16, 2020, Toronto –  Music Canada has commissioned Abacus Data to conduct national research that explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the experience of Canada’s artists. Professional musicians are feeling increasing pressure as a result of the pandemic, due to a reduction in income and their ability to produce music that threatens their ability to survive.

“Musicians are experiencing severe, short-term impacts due to the restrictions on live, in-person events that many of us rely on as a main source of income,” said Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “While live music is crucial to Canada’s professional musicians, both financially and as an outlet for their creativity, artists have strong concerns about the health risk of the virus and its impact on their ability to perform. And over the longer-term, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way artists earn a living and create music.”

The report found that professional musicians perform, on average, 96 times a year, typically traveling across Canada and the world. Revenue generated from live performances in turn helps support an average of 11.5 other people, such as band members, technicians, and other industry jobs. A staggering 85% have agreed that without live performances, they will have difficulty earning enough to pay their bills. To further highlight the full impact of the pandemic, for the remainder of 2020, the average number of bookings is eight, down from last year’s average of 87. More than half of musicians surveyed have zero performances booked for the remainder of the year. 

Music Canada thanks all participants who shared their experiences with Abacus Data. On behalf of Music Canada, Abacus Data conducted an online focus group to help guide the construction of the survey in order to accurately capture the impact the COVID-19 pandemic was having on the careers, emotional and financial well-being of professional musicians in Canada.

Many professional musicians have been able to take advantage of government emergency aid to pay for everyday expenses. As these programs come to a close, the outlook for 2021 is immensely uncertain. Many live events have been cancelled or postponed for the remainder of 2020, and well into 2021. Musicians are not expecting a quick return to the stage because of continuing government restrictions, and for many- their own concerns of performing while the health risk of the virus remains.

“As reopening begins and many focus on the impacts on businesses and the consumer experience, we asked artists’ how the pandemic is impacting them, and how they feel about performing again, after restrictions are lifted,” said Jackie Dean, Interim co-Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operating Officer. “What we hear is that for many, the pandemic feels like a choice that no one should have to make, a choice between earning a living or keeping family and loved ones safe. As governments move forward with plans to reopen the spaces artists work and perform, the concerns of artists must be included in the process.”

“Not only are musicians anxious about the financial implications resulting from cancelled concerts and impossible profit margins due to social distancing restrictions, they are also worried about the health risks associated with the pandemic,” continued Mulholland. “They are concerned about their families, their fans, audiences, and themselves. Even when safety precautions are being taken, the risk of COVID-19 is still too great for many musicians to consider touring for the foreseeable future.”

These findings reflect the feelings of musicians in the industry, and are significant for the prospects of the industry as a whole. As governments continue to implement physical distancing requirements, and live performances remain limited, many professional musicians in Canada will struggle to get by. This is having a long-term impact on their creativity, and ability to create new music.

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, please visit: https://abacusdata.ca/crowded-out-musicians-live-performances-covid19-pandemic/.

Initial Public Research Findings from Music Canada and Abacus Data on the pandemic, and the effect it is having on live music are available here.

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Erica Meekes
Director of Public Relations and Events
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

 


About Music Canada

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Press pause: COVID-19 strategies for artists – On-Demand Webinar

The music industry is confronting particularly harsh and long-term challenges in the wake of the global pandemic. Cancelled and postponed concerts and tours have led to a dramatic drop in revenue. That being said, the demand for streamed music and performances could not be stronger, with people looking for comfort and content as they isolate at home.

To provide insight into the many legal issues that surround this widespread industry upheaval, Gowling WLG’s Entertainment and Sports Law Group – in partnership with CONNECT Music Licensing and Music Canada – recently presented a live Q&A webinar.  Featuring Susan Abramovitch, head of Gowling WLG’s Entertainment and Sports Law Group, Catherine Jones, executive director of CONNECT Music Licensing, and moderated by Miranda Mulholland, JUNO-nominated artist and advocate, the panel discussed timely and important topics for artists, including:

  • Protecting copyright in your works
  • Music licensing
  • Royalty collection

Video from the webinar is now available, and is embedded below. 

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Brett Kissel reveals first Platinum certification at Edmonton drive-in concert

Brett Kissel announcing the Platinum certification of “Airwaves” at Edmonton drive-in concert (Photo Credit: Warner Music Canada)

Over the weekend, Canadian country star Brett Kissel performed 8 sold-out drive-in concerts in the parking lot of Enoch, Alberta’s River Cree Resort and Casino, with all proceeds benefiting Food Bands Alberta via the Safeway Community Action Fund. With strict social distancing measures in place, Kissel made good on his commitment to “having one hell of a good time together, while apart!”

During one of his shows on Saturday, June 13, Kissel announced to his fans that “Airwaves” had now been officially certified Platinum in Canada. Fans celebrated with a chorus of car honks before launching into the hit single. Video of the announcement was captured by fans below.

“Airwaves,” from 2015 album Pick Me Up, is Brett Kissel’s first Platinum certification in Canada. In 2016, it became the first song to be officially certified under the Single Award guidelines, which allowed for on-demand audio streams to be included in the certification criteria.

Kissel will continue his run of drive-in concerts in Regina, SK this Saturday, and in Saskatoon on Saturday, June 27.

Watch the video for “Airwaves” below.

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Music Canada Statement on The Next Steps for the Canadian Music Industry

Music Canada and its members, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada, have heard the calls for change within the music industry. We recognize that there is a need for improvement and are committed to sustained action in support of the values of equity, diversity and inclusion.  With the support of our members, Music Canada will build upon efforts with greater urgency to create meaningful change for the Black community.  To do so, Music Canada will continue to invest in and empower our Advisory Council to help shape a fairer future through education and accountability. 

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Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Canadian musicians, please take the time to fill out this survey

Music Canada has partnered with Abacus Data to get artists’ perspectives on returning to work during the COVID-19 recovery phase. We believe that it is important for governments and the industry as a whole to understand how artists feel about returning to venues and festivals while COVID-19 remains a health concern.

Data from this study will be added to consumer data that Music Canada is gathering to give all decision makers a complete picture of the recovery phase.

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Music Canada Announces Departure of Chief Executive Officer

May 28, 2020, Toronto: The Music Canada Board of Directors and Graham Henderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, announced this afternoon Graham will be stepping down after serving more than 15 years. 

“I have been given the great honour and privilege of serving the members of Music Canada and the wider music community for 15 thrilling and rewarding years. And throughout this entire time I have had the unalloyed joy of working with the most incredibly dedicated, effective team of music lovers in the world: my staff!” Mr. Henderson said. “I have absolutely every confidence that the staff, the Board and everyone at Sony, Universal and Warner will go forward from strength to strength. I hope that my experience and insight may be of some value down the road.”  

On behalf of the Board, Chairperson Jennifer M. Sloan said, “We thank Graham for guiding Music Canada through a period of phenomenal growth and transition, including his dogged domestic and international championing of copyright reform and protection. Graham has led Music Canada’s transformation, strengthening our executive team and developing a clear strategic path forward as the trusted voice of the music industry in Canada and a recognized global partner.”

Graham added, “As for me? Well, my passion for the cause will never abate. In the meantime, I have one of the best darn poetry websites in the world and you are all welcome to join me as I explore the life and times of the revolutionary writer, Percy Bysshe Shelley! He reflects my mood best in these lines: “The world’s great age begins anew, The golden years return, The earth doth like a snake renew…A brighter Hellas rears its mountains…Another Athens shall arise.”

Graham will continue to serve as CEO until June 17, 2020. The Board wishes to thank Graham for all his years of dedicated service to the organization and to the advocacy work it does. 

The Board will initiate a search to identify a new CEO and has appointed Jackie Dean, Chief Operating Officer, and Patrick Rogers, Vice President Corporate Affairs, to serve as interim co-Chief Executive Officers, effective June 18, 2020.

 

Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Public Research Findings: Live Music Industry Faces Triple Threat During Recovery

May 14, 2020, Toronto: Music Canada commissioned Abacus Data to conduct public opinion research to determine how Canadians’ feelings around music have changed during the pandemic. The national public opinion survey gauged the comfort Canadians have for returning to live music as restrictions lift, and the results are startling. 

“As governments across Canada and the world increasingly shift their focus to recovery, this data from Abacus underscores the precarious position of the live music ecosystem – an ecosystem upon which artists rely for a significant, and in some cases predominant, portion of their livelihood,” said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “The music industry faces a triple threat. First – the very real medical concerns of Canadians about the virus. Second – that government restrictions will remain on large gatherings well into recovery. And third – that even after government restrictions have lifted and economies begin to reopen – Canadian confidence in returning to these live events will continue to be low.”

The findings show that even of the self identified “live music lovers” – for many, it will be at least 6 months after government restrictions are lifted, before they feel comfortable going to: bars / pubs (28%); small venue concerts (35%); large venue concerts (42%); festivals (41%); community event with live music (31%). 

The research also demonstrated how important music is in helping Canadians to get through the pandemic. Nearly two thirds  (58%) of respondents reported feeling worse about the pandemic because of the cancellation of live music events. Half of those identified as “live music lovers” also reported listening to more music during the pandemic, and that for the vast majority (86%), listening to music is a way to relieve stress. 

“As an artist, what I’m finding I miss the most is the collaboration and connection I have onstage with my fellow musicians and that powerful, ephemeral experience that is created between artists and a live audience,” said Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “What I find most heartening is that 84% of Music Lovers state that digital will never replace the live experience. Also, more than a third of respondents increased their music listening during this pandemic. These stats show that people clearly recognize the value and importance of music in their lives, perhaps more than they ever have.”

“Unfortunately, it’s clear that the pandemic will cause serious and possibly irreparable harm to Canada’s artists, the majority of whom were already living in a precarious state. We must continue to think about how we can help them through this as they’ve been here for all of us in this crisis,” said Mulholland.

Not only are these findings significant for the music industry, but they are important for the travel and tourism industries as well. As the government and music industry develops plans for recovery, they must understand that those whose businesses depend on large gatherings will continue to be affected by this pandemic for a much longer time. To that end, Music Canada will continue to assess Canadian’s changing perspectives on their comfort for returning to live music so that we can deliver this important and timely information to our partners.

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, please visit: https://abacusdata.ca/live-music-after-pandemic/.

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Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

 

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Music Monday @ Home shines a spotlight on the importance of equitable access to music education

Today marks Music Monday, an annual event in which thousands of Canadians come together in song and in support of music education. Hosted by the Coalition for Music Education, Music Monday unites musicians in communities from coast to coast to make a powerful statement about the importance of equitable access to quality music education for all students. This year, the celebration will move online with Music Monday @ Home, allowing all Canadians to participate safely while practicing social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year on Music Monday, students, educators, and music makers from across the country participate in the collective singing of the Music Monday Anthem, an original song written by a Canadian artist. This year’s anthem is “Hymn to Freedom,” the iconic civil rights anthem by Oscar Peterson and Hariette Hamilton, in a new bilingual translation. Resources to perform the anthem, including sheet music, lyrics, and translations are available on the Coalition website.

“Music Monday celebrates the power of music, and the importance of music education. Equitable access to music education is important to Music Canada, which is why we have partnered with the Coalition for Music Education, the Canadian Music Educators Association, MusiCounts / CARAS, People For Education, and the Canadian Network Arts and Learning on a national study to assess the state of music education in every province and territory,” said Sarah Hashem, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Music Canada. “This research will help all stakeholders to better understand the state of K-12 Music Education from region to region, and to provide information to support its future growth and development.”

Music Monday @ Home begins at 9am EST, with a series of regional broadcasts, including live performances, messages from prominent Canadians, interactive activities for children of all ages, and more. To join in the celebration and add your voice, tune into the Coalition’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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Canada’s major record companies announce support for Unison Benevolent Fund

April 29th, 2020, Toronto: In response to the impact on the lives of artists and their teams caused by COVID-19, Canada’s major record companies, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada have announced direct financial support for the Unison Benevolent Fund, Canada’s leading music community support program. Unison is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to individuals working in the Canadian music community.

“This support helps Unison help the music community- and with the support of our member labels, Music Canada is proud to work even more closely with Unison to provide targeted support for the benefit of our creative industry,” said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada.

Additionally, Music Canada has announced that it has expanded its supporting role for the organization. In response to COVID-19, Music Canada has provided Unison financial and administrative resource support, together with government relations expertise and guidance. “As one of the founding supporters of Unison, we have seen the crucial need for their services,” continued Henderson, “and we have seen the impact of their relief on those who come to Unison for help.” 

“Unison is enormously grateful for the continuous support from some of the biggest players in the Canadian music industry,” said Unison Fund Executive Director, Amanda Power. “The direct and valued efforts from Canada’s major record labels ensures that we can continue to provide discreet counselling and health services in addition to immediate financial relief for the most vulnerable in our industry at this very critical time.”

Unison is an assistance program – created and administered for the music community, by the music community. It provides discreet, dignified and meaningful relief to music industry professionals in times of crisis. Unison’s COVID-19 Relief Program is making $1,000 grants available to members of the music industry. The relief fund is allocated toward housing costs, medical expenses, groceries, and other necessities for those who are eligible.

Professionals in any role within the Canadian music community are eligible and are encouraged to register at https://unisonfund.ca/index.php/register

 

Erica Meekes
Director of Public Relations
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485


About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

About Unison Benevolent Fund
Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. We are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance program – created and administered for the music community, by the music community – designed to provide discreet relief to music industry professionals in times of crisis through financial assistance and counselling and health solutions.

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