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Canadians' Concerns Growing Over the Health of Music & Live Venues

Music Canada has again partnered with Abacus Data to check back in with Canadians on their understanding of COVID-19’s ongoing impact on Canada’s live music sector — and the effects that venue closures have on those working in the music sector and its lasting impact on communities, arts and culture. The public opinion research also explored how Canadians feel about venue closures and their views on the need for continued support for those working in the sector. The findings show that Canadians are concerned that without additional support, more live music spaces will be lost before the music community can recover, resulting in a longer threat to the industry and a negative impact on Canadian culture.

“This latest research confirms that Canadians view live music venues, like festivals, concert halls and pubs, as economic and cultural lifelines within their communities,” says Patrick Rogers, CEO of Music Canada. “Canadians also understand that the pandemic will have severe impacts on the long-term viability of the live music sector which affects Canadian culture in the long run.”

“The research also confirmed what we have long believed to be true: music lovers can’t wait to get back to seeing live shows, once it’s safe to do so. But Canadians also believe that artists, live music venues, crews and others working in the industry will require continued support long after other sectors of the economy can reopen. Notably, most Canadians will be 'disappointed' if more venues go out of business.”

According to the report, one in five Canadians has a favourite live music venue in their community where they attend events, and half believe it is likely the venue will close due to impacts of the pandemic.

Canadians believe that further live music venue closures will mean thousands of jobs lost, fewer musicians and music will be created, and new and upcoming musicians will be lost without the opportunity of playing in live music venues. These impacts are felt across Canada, and even more strongly in Quebec.

“This research substantiates everything we’ve been hearing – Canadians are deeply saddened by the loss of live music venues,” adds Erin Benjamin, President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association. “Venues are closing their doors in increasing numbers, for circumstances beyond their control and people are recognizing the extent of the loss, and what that loss means – economically, culturally, and socially. Direct financial support today from governments is urgently needed; it can keep more venues alive, helping us to preserve as much of our vital cultural infrastructure as possible until the industry can fully recover.”

“As an artist, it is devastating to see the severe and long-term impact the pandemic is having on the music community, after nearly a year of living with restrictions due to COVID-19,” says Miranda Mulholland, artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “Artists, and emerging artists especially, depend on live performances to develop their craft, generate a following, and gain income. The opportunity to do that, at every milestone in your career, is only possible with multiple venues from the smallest locations to the larger stages and concert halls.”

In a separate report expected to be released in the coming weeks, Music Canada is checking back in with Canadian artists and creators for a renewed perspective on how their profession has evolved at this stage of the pandemic. Data for these two studies will continue to be shared with government and industry partners in 2021. The findings are helping to shape Music Canada’s advocacy message, and give decision makers a complete and up-to-date picture of the recovery phase in the music industry.

The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA), the people behind live music in Canada are also working to bring awareness to the damage COVID-19 shutdowns have caused Canada’s live music industry and will make further information available here.

For more information on earlier study findings visit Music Canada’s website here.

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, go to www.abacusdata.ca/live-music-government-support-music-canada/.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast. www.canadianmusicianpodcast.com.
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