COVID-19 Changing Canadians’ Tune About Live Music

Leave it to Live Music Lovers to remind everyone else we're not out of the woods yet.

I’m about as big a “Live Music Lover” as they come, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made me seriously reassess how I consume things going forward I wouldn’t have thought twice about attending in the recent past.

And according to a new survey by Abacus Data on behalf of Music Canada, I am definitely not alone in feeling this way. I am part of an audience segment representing approximately 20% of our country’s population who are slightly less concerned about COVID-19 compared to three months ago, yet have become increasingly pessimistic that it will still be a long time before we feel completely safe going to concerts again.

The most telling stat regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s live music sector for me is how more than 90% of Canadians don’t see themselves venturing to the United States for at least another six months, maybe never again. Not even for Smash Mouth at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. What was that all about, anyway?

“Canadians remain quite hesitant to return to live music and most think it will take half a year or more before they will be comfortable returning to live music events,” affirms Abacus Data CEO David Coletto. “The risk for live music venues, musicians, and the entire sector is real and profound and won’t be going away anytime soon.”

The consensus suggests this situation is going to get worse before it gets better. As upset as Live Music Lovers like myself may be at everything having to be cancelled, 2020 hasn’t been completely negative. I am personally seeking out stuff digitally even more than in the old Napster days, and I’m happy to report I count myself among the 64% who have discovered new artists while in quarantine. Check out Southern Ontario noise rock/pop trio JONCRO on Bandcamp to hear what I mean; I quite like their slowed-down, doo wop-y Ballad of Dakota Brown. I’d also be curious to know who All-Out Alternative readers have been listening to that are new-to-them (feel free to comment below).

Anyone who’s familiar with my tastes knows I have a thing for two-piece bands, the bluesier the better but Nashville duo The Cold Stares were somehow able to fly under my radar for as long as they did. I am pleased to inform you all that this is no longer the case.

I have been meaning to watch The Go-Go’s new documentary, honest. One excuse I can give is that I’ve been too busy shouting along to the chorus of next-gen all-girl group NOBRO’s “Don’t Die”. The song is all kinds of fun, and the accompanying animated video for it is a hoot!

See the full rock ’n research results at abacusdata.ca/live-music-threat-pandemic-music-canada.