We’re quickly approaching a full year since in-person concerts stopped abruptly, without warning — and for who knows how much longer.
The Canadian Live Music Association knows we’re all anxious for concerts to start up again, but it also understands that some of those beloved venues, concert halls, small stages and bigger clubs, to say nothing of the people who make the music we love so much, are in danger of disappearing.
If you’ve seen the #ForTheLoveOfLive tag floating around social media, this is why: The Canadian Live Music Association wants your stories, memories and support.
“Live music is an economic driver across the country and we know that Canadians will want to return to live music venues when it is safe to do so,” says Erin Benjamin, the association’s president and CEO. “Real people in your community are at risk of losing their jobs forever. They need additional, ongoing targeted support from governments to ensure that when COVID measures are lifted, Canadians continue to have access to the artists and live music experiences they know and love.”
It’s little surprise to know that the live music industry in Canada alone has lost 92% of its annual revenue in the past year, since shows started shutting down around March 10, 2020. It’s also no surprise that it’s hard to know when any venue, large or small, will be safe or comfortable opening its doors to concertgoers again — or when artists will feel confident to play them.
“The venue ladder is a crucial part of building a fan base and maintaining a sustainable living as an artist. It’s been heartbreaking to watch beloved venues close where so many careers were started and so many memories were made,” says Miranda Mulholland, a JUNO-nominated artist and vice chair of Massey and Roy Thomson Halls. “When we are able to return to live performances, and it’s safe to do so, support will be crucial to our artists and our stages.”
Prior to shutdown orders put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the live music industry in Canada was responsible for 72,000 jobs and had an estimated value of $3 billion to the national economy. Since March, an estimated 92% of revenue has been lost, while 64% of the industry, including venues, crews, technicians, artists, etc., face the risk of permanent closure. One-quarter of art, entertainment and recreation workers lost their jobs — 114,400 artists, technicians, marketing staff, administrators and cultural workers are no longer making a living in the arts. In Toronto alone, nearly $100 million in GPP was lost due to closed music venues, with more closures and lost jobs anticipated for 2021.
To help remind the country, and each other, how important live music is to the economy and the culture, fans are asked to use the hashtag and share their stories. More information is available here.