Music Business

85% Of Musicians Can’t Pay Their Bills Without Live Shows, Confirms New Study

An extensive new study shows just how much musicians are suffering from the coronavirus shutdown.

The Abacus Data study commissioned by Music Canada looks at the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on musicians due to the reduction in income and their ability to produce music that threatens their ability to survive.

The report found that professional Canadian musicians perform, on average, 87-96 times a year across Canada and the world. That number has fallen to 8 shows in 2020.

More than half of the musicians surveyed have no performances booked for the remainder of the year and 85% said that without live performances, they will have difficulty paying their bills.

The damage goes well beyond the musicians surveyed.

Revenue generated from performances also supports an average of 11.5 other people including band members, managers agents, technicians, and other industry jobs, according to the study.

“the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way artists earn a living and create music”

“Musicians are experiencing severe, short-term impacts due to the restrictions on live, in-person events that many of us rely on as a main source of income,” said Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “While live music is crucial to Canada’s professional musicians, both financially and as an outlet for their creativity, artists have strong concerns about the health risk of the virus and its impact on their ability to perform. And over the longer-term, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way artists earn a living and create music.”

The Outlook for 2021 remains grim.

Many live events have been cancelled or postponed for the remainder of 2020, and well into 2021. Musicians are not expecting a quick return to the stage because of continuing government restrictions, and for many- their own concerns of performing while the health risk of the virus remains.

“As reopening begins and many focus on the impacts on businesses and the consumer experience, we asked artists’ how the pandemic is impacting them, and how they feel about performing again, after restrictions are lifted,” said Jackie Dean, Interim co-Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operating Officer. “What we hear is that for many, the pandemic feels like a choice that no one should have to make, a choice between earning a living or keeping family and loved ones safe. As governments move forward with plans to reopen the spaces artists work and perform, the concerns of artists must be included in the process.”

“the risk of COVID-19 is still too great for many musicians to consider touring for the foreseeable future”

“Not only are musicians anxious about the financial implications resulting from canceled concerts and impossible profit margins due to social distancing restrictions, they are also worried about the health risks associated with the pandemic,” continued Mulholland. “They are concerned about their families, their fans, audiences, and themselves. Even when safety precautions are being taken, the risk of COVID-19 is still too great for many musicians to consider touring for the foreseeable future.”

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, please visit: https://abacusdata.ca/crowded-out-musicians-live-performances-covid19-pandemic/.

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