Patrick Watson at the Vogue Theatre (Photo: Brandon Artis)

How To Support The Live Music Industry Right Now

Investing your time and money now will pay off in decibels in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created difficult challenges for many, and one sector that is especially struggling to find a clear path is the live music industry, with indoor concerts and large gatherings the last to be phased in.

Independent music venues are at risk of shuttering without the support of the government, and without small to midsize music venues operating in our communities, artists will be left with limited places to perform. As avid concertgoers and live music supporters, we have put together some innovative ways to rally behind and support an industry that is struggling to survive. 


The Canadian Independent Venue Coalition has launched its #SupportCanadianVenues Initiative to rally the government for support of independent concert venues who have been financially affected.

The CIVC is seeking emergency funding and an economic stimulus plan for the unfunded live music and touring sector to ensure there are venues for artists to perform at when the quarantine restrictions are lifted. If you want to help, the CIVC is asking music fans to write to their members of parliament using easy-to-use templates on their website, and to share across social media. For more information and to discover other organizations rallying for the same cause, check out the National Independent Venue Association and the Independent Promoter Alliance.


Behind every credible band is a stockpile of unsold merchandise. While there aren’t any opportunities to be showcasing their goods at the moment, a lot of band merch is left collecting dust. For artists who don’t have their own e-comm stores set up, some venues have set up digi-stores to help generate funds. So if you want to support your favourite club or artist, consider your purchase power. Bandcamp has also stepped up in their role as a streaming platform, actively directing their cut of profits back to the artists on specific days they have coined Bandcamp Fridays. The next share day is on July 3 so mark your calendar


You’ve probably noticed some shows have been announced for late 2020, early 2021. While promoters can’t predict the future, we can applaud their efforts for taking that leap of faith and trying. If you’re thinking you might be interested in attending any of these shows, support your local promoters and buy your tickets now. Not only will it give you something to look forward to, but you’ll definitely be able to learn all the words to the songs by the time it rolls around. And if you’ve already got a ticket for an event that was rescheduled, rather than asking for a refund, hang on to it if you can and keep the industry in good standings. 


Live streams were one of the first things to be fully embraced at the beginning of the pandemic, taking on quarantine life in a positive way. These streams have evolved since; some even developed a life of their own thanks to Minecraft and other online gaming platforms. From acoustic bedroom jam sessions to virtual funding drive festivals or Pride-themed dance parties, no matter your quar flavour, there’s a stream somewhere out there for you. Donations are always welcome. 


If you’re in a band sitting on unrecorded tracks, consider pooling your money and booking a studio session with a local producer. 

“Recorded music has never been more important for music fans,” says producer Jesse Gander at Rain City Recorders. “As social restrictions begin to ease and bands start rehearsing again, it’s an excellent time to write and record new material.” Recording studios are often staffed with musicians so it benefits them directly, but it also benefits everyone else down the chain. It helps the pressing plants stay busy, and the record labels and publicists have new material to promote. The long term benefit is that the better your record is, the more fans will want to come see you live, thus benefiting venues down the road.