Music Canada has released the results from the second round of surveys it commissioned Abacus Data to conduct to determine how the music industry is being impacted by Canadians’ changing feelings around music, during the pandemic. The latest 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. This second round of research builds on previous findings commissioned by Music Canada and released by Abacus Data in April.
“The ongoing triple threat facing the live music industry, and all mass gathering industries, requires government action,” says Patrick Rogers, Interim co-CEO. “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,” continues 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 six 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,” says Jackie Dean, Music Canada’s Interim co-CEO. “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).
While Canadians miss attending live music events, many suggested safety protocols or procedures do little to make them feel more comfortable returning to live events. When Abacus told respondents that a venue has reduced the number of attendees that can go to a concert, only 15% of all Canadians and 32% of Live Music Lovers say they are certain to or likely to attend a concert. Moreover, other safety measures such as mandatory mask-wearing and hand sanitization or physically distanced seating only get 19% to 24% of people saying they would be more likely to attend an indoor concert. Even those most likely to attend live events remain resistant, even with these measures in place.
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,” adds 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, go to Abacusdata.ca/live-music-threat-pandemic-music-canada/.