6 Ways To Support Canadian Musicians During COVID-19
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is huge – and among those feeling it are Canadian musicians who rely on playing live to earn a living.
Temporary bans on indoor gatherings and demands for social isolation are hitting homegrown musicians of all genres – from acts on cross-country tours to indie artists who find gigs at their local bars on weekends.
Virtually none of these musicians has access to benefits like sick leave or EI so if they don’t play, there’s no pay.
“We wish you good health and safety as we work through this challenging situation together,” reads a message on the website of SOCAN, which represents the performing rights of thousands of songwriters, composers and music publishers.
The Canada Council for the Arts has set up a FAQ page online to provide information to artists who have received grants for touring.
In a tweet on Sunday, singer Alan Doyle called on the federal government to consider a relief program for artists during the crisis similar to what Germany has pledged for its creative community.
So what can Canadians do to support homegrown musicians during the COVID-19 crisis? Here are a few suggestions:
Don’t get refunds
If you have purchased tickets for a Canadian artist’s upcoming show that has been postponed due to COVID-19, don’t seek a refund. Hold on to tickets that will be honoured on rescheduled dates.
Purchase their music
Artists don’t earn a lot from streaming – so now is the time to invest in Canadian music. Buy physical CDs or vinyl releases from homegrown acts (you can order online for home delivery) or purchase songs and albums digitally. This is also a good type to see if your favourite artist or band sells merch online. Grab some T-shirts for summer!
Discover their music
Staying at home for two weeks provides the perfect opportunity to discover new music. No matter the genre, Canadian musicians are among the best in the world and you may be surprised at what you fine. These acts will appreciate having a broader fan base when they’re back on the road.
Share their music
Instead of using social media to complain about politics or toilet paper hoarders, use your platforms to promote Canadian artists to your followers and others around the world. Talk 'em up to the world and be sure to include links to their websites and videos. It's more important than ever to tell the rest of the world about the incredible talent here at home.
Donate to musicians
Canadian musicians can turn to Unison, a non-profit organization that supports them in difficult times. The Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance program for qualified artists. Click here to make donate whatever you can.
Save for when it’s all over
If you’re able, put aside a little bit of cash every week so you will have a budget to spend on live music once the crisis is over and artists are back out performing live. And, if you haven’t been to a live show in awhile, consider going to one (or more). When this is all over, Canadian musicians are going to need your support.