How to Help the Music Community Right Now

By NMC Staff

The profound impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt by those working in the Canadian music industryMore and more festivals and live music events across the country are being called off and venues are temporarily closed.  

As a result, a crucial source of income has disappeared for our community. Here are six ways to support the music scene right now—and maybe tune-up your playlist along the way. 

1. Donate your ticket

If you purchased a ticket to a cancelled or postponed show, think about donating the cost of your ticket instead of requesting a refund.

If you’re donating your ticket to registered charities like Sled Island and the Calgary Folk Music Festival, who both recently cancelled their 2020 editions, or the National Music Centre you could be eligible for a charitable tax receipt. 

If the event has been postponed, hold onto your ticket for a future performance. Then, you already have live music on the books for post-distancing. 

Jae Sterling performing at the King Eddy. Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino

2. Give to a music fund that’s supporting musicians

The Unison Benevolent Fund is doing incredible, impactful work for the Canadian music community in these troubled times. In addition to providing emergency financial support, they offer counselling solutions for Canadian artists dealing with economic or personal hardship.

Unison is also part of the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project, which will see Spotify matching donations dollar for dollar up to a collective total of $10 million. Donate to the Unison Benevolent Fund HERE 

3. Buy music and merch

This one is obvious, but it’s worth repeating. It’s incredible to have the entire universe of music at our fingertips for free. But, the popularity of streaming services has seriously reduced the revenue that artists make from people listening to their music. 

If you still have the means, now is the time to buy music and merch from the artists you love. Purchase that album you’ve had on repeat. Snag that tour tee you’ve been eyeing—we’re particularly fond of this one HERE from Mariel Buckley

Remember, the smaller the artist you’re supporting, the bigger the impact your dollar makes. Purchase music from independent artists on Bandcamp HERE. (Note: On May 1, they’ll be waiving their fees to give 100% of revenue to artists.) Or better yet, skip the middleman and reach out to your favourite artist directly on Facebook to get what you’re after.  

Tim Hus’ merch and music on sale at the 2018 Bell Live Series. Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino

4. Get takeaway or buy a gift certificate from a local venue (if that option exists)

Live music venues rely on people coming together to generate revenue. If your fave live music venue offers takeaway (see: Ship & Anchor and Tubby Dog) or gift certificates (see: The Palomino), get yourself some grub for now or later—for a good cause! 

5. Inform yourself to take action 

A crisis demonstrates just how important it is to have accessibly social “safety nets” for artists that enrich our lives. This is a good opportunity to think about how we prepare arts and culture organizations for times of crisis—and how we can advocate for them. 

If you feel that your government could support the Canadian music community differently, make your voice heard. Learn about your local representative’s stance on supporting the arts and let it inform your next trip to the ballot box.  

6. Keep listening, sharing, and supporting

If you’re not in the financial position to buy anything right now, that’s OK. Your support as a music fan first and foremost is appreciated.

By simply following an artist on Spotify, their music is more likely to be considered for major playlists. Even sharing your favourite trackon your social media feed could bring new music to new number one fans—we’ve even compiled a few excellent playlists to get your started. 


How are you supporting Canadian music right now? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.