The Canadian Music Industry Asks Federal Government for Urgent Relief for the Industry During Covid-19 Pandemic

Posted on
April 1, 2020
Tagged as
CCMIA, CIMA, CLMA, COVID-19, Federal Relief, mmf, Music Publishers Canada, SAC, SCGC, survey


April 1, 2020

TORONTO, ON —The Canadian music industry is asking the Federal government for further action including robust financial support and flexibility in funding rules that would support the artists and the industry’s small business community that is suffering through the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian and global music industry is currently experiencing unprecedented upheaval and turmoil due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Companies are barely operating and surviving with record low to no revenues, staff are being laid off, artists and musicians’ livelihoods are collapsing, and venues are closed indefinitely. In short, the Canadian and global music industries are being severely and devastatingly impacted.

The industry is grateful for the extensive and broad measures that the federal government and other levels of government have implemented recently. We look forward to the details and implementation of these measures, and future announcements in response to the very serious nature of this unprecedented global circumstance in which we all find ourselves. We are confident that these government measures will help provide much needed assistance to Canadians, and we call on governments to continue to focus attention on those who are vulnerable, namely our artists and the small business community that supports them.

Industry groups and associations launched a survey March 17-19 in order to capture the current state of the music sector during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis.  This survey received nearly 3,000 responses from a wide cross-section of the industry, from labels and publishers, to artists and musicians, to promoters and live venues and more.

The scope of the devastation captured by the survey is staggering. Results show that the vast majority (97%) of respondents stated that the COVID-19 situation is impacting their business. Staff layoffs have already begun across the industry, and many more are expected with some companies anticipating a need to lay off 75-100% of their employees. With revenues that have all but disappeared, combined with unrecoverable expenses as a result of the mass cancellations and postponements of music industry events, tours and other initiatives across the world, the majority of business respondents stated they will be able to sustain their operations for no more six months, and only 4% will be able to keep their business going for up to a year.   

These results reflect a moment in time when the music industry believed the COVID-19 impacts would only impact them for the next two to three months. The current reality is the impacts are far more dramatic and its effects will likely last up to a year or more. This means that the industry responses are in reality dramatically more acute than what the survey respondents noted at the time.   

As a result, the music industry is asking the Federal government for immediate action that can help sustain the industry during these difficult times:   

  • Invest more targeted funding to the music industry quickly, with the goal to sustain business continuity; invest in musicians and artists; retain staff and contract workers; pay overhead etc., with as few restrictions as possible.
  • Expand the funding envelope to include the broader music sector including artists, musicians, composers, managers, publishers, studios, promoters, songwriters and live music (venues, promoters, talent agencies and supply chain) and relevant associations.

“Times like these remind us all just how essential and powerful music is at helping bring us together and carry us through crises. The willingness of the music industry to contribute to community life these past weeks has been on full display. However, our artists, industry workers, and companies are suffering particularly hard, and will not survive the shutdown of performing, touring, and recording without urgently needed assistance.” – Sean McManus, President, CCMIA.

“We don’t want to give up on the successes our industry has earned over the last few years. The Federal Government has already taken good, important steps to protect and support Canadians during this pandemic. We are now asking the government for targeted support to help the most vulnerable in our sector, namely small-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and Canadian artists that have been and continue to be, severely impacted by this pandemic.” — Stuart Johnston, President, CIMA.

“We know the Minister understands, and is attempting to address, the complexity of our ecosystems, and we thank the Department and Federal government for their tireless efforts.  It’s our hope that we can meet those complex needs on as many levels as possible, so there will still be an industry to return to when the recovery period begins, and we can celebrate and rejoice, together. Our artists, our fans and our future are depending on all of us.” – Erin Benjamin, President & CEO, Canadian Live Music Association.   

“Artists and the CEOs of their businesses, the managers, have been particularly impacted by this pandemic with the vast majority of revenue at a standstill for the foreseeable future. Government financial relief for this sector is vital for survival.”  – Meg Symsyk, President, MMF.   

It is expected it will take a year or more for the industry to start to get back on its feet. Immediate and sustained assistance will help the industry to weather this storm and be prepared when “normalcy” returns to the world.   


Media contact:

Elise Rustad

Senior Policy Advisor, CIMA

Desk: 416-485-3152 x 223

Cell: 416.432.2099

About CCMIA:

Formed in 2002, the Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations (CCMIA) is a national council representing the provincial and territorial music industry associations (MIAs) in Canada, including Alberta Music, Cultural Industries Ontario North, Manitoba Music, Music BC, Music Nova Scotia, Music NWT, Music PEI, Music Yukon, Music/Musique NB, MusicNL, MusicOntario, and SaskMusic. Together, the CCMIA’s member MIAs work with more than 10,000 artists and industry professionals across the country. With day-to-day contact with the people working in the industry, including extensive experience supporting emerging artists and professionals, MIAs are on the front lines of the development of Canada’s growing music industries – direct experience that makes CCMIA members some of the most knowledgeable about the issues facing Canada’s music industries.

About CIMA:

CIMA is a not-for-profit national trade association representing English-language, Canadian-owned and controlled businesses of the domestic, commercial music industry. CIMA represents a diverse membership of small businesses including: record producers, record labels, recording studios, managers, agents, licensors, music video producers and directors, creative content owners, artist-entrepreneurs and other professionals from across the sound recording industry.  CIMA represents over 280 Canadian companies and professionals and 6,200 Canadian artists including: A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq, Serena Ryder, The Trews, Terra Lightfoot, Tegan and Sara, Whitehorse, The Sheepdogs and METRIC.

About CLMA:

The Canadian Live Music Association is the voice of Canada’s live music industry, advancing and promoting its many economic, social and cultural benefits.

About MMF:

Music Managers Forum Canada (MMF Canada) is a non-profit trade association that supports and promotes the profession of music management in Canada. Our members come from across Canada and work in various genres at a range of levels including self-managed artists, new managers and highly experienced managers representing some of the largest acts in Canada. As the management sector’s voice in the industry, MMF Canada advocates to various levels of the government on key issues that affect managers and their artists. We also work collaboratively with strategic partners within the larger music community and offer workshops, mentorship and other programming that allows our members to connect with each other while developing their management skills and industry knowledge.

About Music Publishers Canada:

Music Publishers Canada is a membership-based organization, founded in 1949, that ensures the views of music publishers working in Canada are heard. It is our mission to create business opportunities for our members and to promote their interests and those of their song writing partners through advocacy, communication, and education.

About S.A.C.:

The Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) represents 1000 Canadian music creators including songwriters, composers, beat makers, producers, and top-liners from across the country, in all genres of music. S.A.C. is a not-for-profit arts service organization that has been serving Canada’s music creators for over 36 years. The S.A.C. exists to nurture, develop and protect the creative, business, and legal interests of music creators in Canada and around the world. We do this by advocating for creator’ rights, providing educational programs and services to members (professional), and by creating community amongst members and industry through networking and live music performances.

About SCGC:

The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) is a trade association certified under the Canadian Federal Status of the Artist Act and represents all professional Anglophone composers and music producers for film, television, video games, mobile and all other screen media.  The SCGC promotes the status and rights of screen composers through professional development, sharing information, advocacy on issues such as creator’s rights and the value of screen music.

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