Canadian musicians, music industry professionals, and music organizations are continuing to creatively adapt to the situation.

On Friday, March 20, Manitoba Music has launched an emergency financial relief fund to help Manitoban music entrepreneurs. Manitoba Music’s Board of Directors is seeding the fund with $20,000 to begin dispersals of micro-grants before the end of the month. An intake process with more detail will be available soon, and will explain how the fund will be administered and who will be eligible.

The Canadian Folk Music Awards are moving their gala celebration online this year, and will present all 20 Awards virtually, on Saturday, Apr 4, 2020. The Awards were originally scheduled for the weekend of Apr 3-4 in Charlottetown, PEI.

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) Canada is hosting online sessions to allow its managers to come together via video chat. These supportive, open-ended sessions will be hosted by one of their board members but will give everyone a chance to speak. The first one is slated for Tuesday, March 24, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

SOCAN member and country-roots singer-songwriter Corb Lund live-streamed a “taking your requests” show on Instagram on Saturday, and has two more sets planned for this Wednesday and Friday (March 25 and 27), both at 4:00 p.m. PT.

Randy and Tal Bachman teamed up for a joint 30-minute livestream, that aired via YouTube yesterday, March 23, streamed from Randy’s home studio on Vancouver Island.

Tonight’s (March 24) URGNT performance is with Mexican singer-songwriter, Quique Escamilla, at 7:00 pm ET, performing a solo house concert.

Stay safe!

Through his foundation, Shawn Mendes has made a donation of $175,000 to the SickKids Foundation this week, with the money earmarked to buy equipment and supplies for coronavirus preparedness at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Spotify will match up to $10 million in donations to organizations supporting artists in need, rolling out new initiatives today (March 25) to help artists struggling from the situation.

Words & Music regular contributor Melody Lau, via CBC Music, has written a guide for musicians, about how to successfully host a live music event from home.

The Canada Council for The Arts is processing grant payments as usual, and is working with the federal government on practical and immediate ways to help the arts sector face the challenges of COVID-19. The most important updates are:

  • New measures for unemployed workers will be extended to freelancers, whose numbers are particularly high in the arts and culture sectors.
  • The suspension period for new grants, for activities that include travelling and public performances, is extended to July 31.
  • Artists can use grants they’ve already received for a specific project towards digital-based projects.
  • Other measures will be announced as soon as the government has made certain decisions regarding the combination of universal measures and those for the arts sector.

Burton Cummings is playing a spate of Facebook performances to cheer us up, the first of which – an impromptu solo performance of “I Will Play a Rhapsody” – has earned two million views so far.

Facebook Canada and the National Arts Centre’s online performances series continues, with upcoming sets by Jenn Grant, Catherine McLellan, Alex Cuba, Jully Black, Rayannah, and Jeremy Fisher Junior.

Silverstein has released a COVID-19-themed T-shirt telling fans to “Stay the f__k home,” with profits going to the band’s crew, now idle because their planned tour was postponed.

The Alliance of Performing Arts Conferences, on Friday, March 27, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., hosts a free webinar: Ask an Expert: Contracts, Insurance, Visas, Employment, and legislation in the COVID-19 Era.

Stay safe!

Global creators’ rights organization CISAC, with more than 230 member societies in 120 countries, has released an open letter to governments around the world urging global action to help music creators. The text is as follows:

The coronavirus crisis is posing an unprecedented threat, on a global scale, to a generation of people who make a living and a profession as creators. We write today as the President and Vice Presidents of CISAC, and as artists from different regions of the world, to call for action by governments on a global scale to help creators survive the current crisis and eventually help lead it to recovery.

CISAC is the largest creative network in the world, with over 230 member authors societies representing 4 million working creators of all repertoires.

Creators of music, audio-visual works, visual arts, drama, and literature are the backbone of national cultures and of economies. Even now, it is their creative works which are everywhere helping and connecting millions of people who are having to endure a life of quarantine.

But creators are in a uniquely fragile position. The large majority of them are self-employed and dependent on royalties paid by authors societies. Today, and in the coming weeks and months, creators will be among the worst affected by the crisis.

Authors societies are doing their best, maintaining royalty distributions and using emergency social funds where possible. However, CISAC members from across the world, are reporting a collapse of cultural and entertainment activity, affecting concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and all the main platforms where creative works are used.

Creators are by nature self-motivated entrepreneurs and will be an enormously positive force in helping drive the economic recovery in the future. But they urgently need rescue measures now, and only the lever of government policy will have the impact required.

Several governments, such as that of France, have acted, for example with emergency funding for creative sectors; others such as those of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, have already identified protection for the creators (for example, via tax and social security concessions and emergency payments) as a priority.

It is imperative that governments in all countries act for creators now and ensure the highest level of support possible.

We thank you for your support and for understanding the vital importance of creators in the future of our culture and society.

CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre
CISAC Vice-Presidents Angélique Kidjo, Miquel Barceló, Marcelo Piñeyro, Jia Zhang-ke