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Canadian live biz hits out over latest Covid rules

Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) boss Erin Benjamin has warned of further cancellations after Billie Eilish became the latest superstar act to postpone tour dates due to provincial restrictions.

Eilish’s planned 15-16 February shows in Montreal and Toronto are being rescheduled as a result of “local guidelines and an abundance of caution”.

The singer follows the likes of Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and The Offspring in shifting concerts in Canada in light of the latest Covid-19 restrictions issued by the Ontario government, which limit concert venues to 50% capacity until at least 14 March – despite other entertainment spaces such as cinemas, casinos and restaurants expecting to be given the go-ahead to host full houses from 21 February.

Benjamin told The Canadian Press the policy was “really hard to understand”, and would likely deter other top international acts from visiting the country this year.

“We’re hearing things like outright cancellations and conversations being paused until 2023”

“I think the growing sentiment is that Ontario is closed for business,” she said. “The idea of doing business in Ontario is so uncertain that folks are just not interested in constantly trying to navigate the rules. We’re hearing things like outright cancellations and conversations [regarding future tour dates] being paused until 2023.”

The CLMA is also appealing for the government to extend relief for live music businesses via the Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

“We thank the government of Canada for its support of small business recovery through the recent extension of the interest-free repayment period for CEBA and RRRF loans from their previous end date of December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023,” says Benjamin in a letter to the ministers of finance and international trade. “However, since the start of the pandemic, many live music businesses have taken on debt that will take at least two years to resolve; our members continue to report a bleak outlook for the future. As such, while this extension will provide some relief, it will not be enough.

“In support of other associations, such as the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), and on behalf of the CLMA, I urge you to consider increasing both CEBA’s and the RRRF’s maximum loan forgiveness amount by up to $10,000 if the balance of the loan is repaid by the end of the 0% interest free grace period; and extending the interest-free repayment period for CEBA loans and RRRF loans to December 31, 2024. These changes will help reduce the financial burden many businesses and organisations are currently facing.”

 


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Canada creates $20m fund for commercial live music sector

The Canadian government today (8 July) announced that organisations operating in the for-profit live music industry can gain access to a CA$20m (€13m) Covid-19 support fund.

The funding, the first sector-specific support to be granted to the commercial music sector in Canada, comes in the second phase of distributions from a CA$500 million (€326m) emergency support fund for cultural, heritage and sport organisations that have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The second wave of funding distributions will see temporary support given to organisations that do not currently receive funding from Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada or the Canada Media Fund, including “organisations in live music”.

“Unfortunately, we have already lost venues and companies. But this will make a difference for others, and comes not a moment too soon”

Types of eligible companies include for-profit venues, festivals, promoters, booking agents and managers, as well as non-profit organisations who were otherwise ineligible for phase one distributions. Successful applicants will have to meet the eligibility criteria. The minimum contribution will be $5,000 (€3,260).

The music funding, which also includes $5m (€3.3m) for the recorded sector, will be delivered through the Canada Music Fund and administered by Factor and Musicaction.

“This is significant,” comments Canadian Live Music Association CEO Erin Benjamin. “For the historic recognition the for-profit live music sector is finally receiving from the federal government (having never been able to access funding in the past), and for the help the financial relief may provide to those who are in urgent need.

“Unfortunately, we have already lost venues and companies. But this will make a difference for others, and comes not a moment too soon.”

More information about the fund, eligibility and applications is available here.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

Canadian Live Music Association appoints new board

The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) announced a new board of directors at its fifth annual general meeting on Thursday 10 October.

The association, headed up by CEO Erin Benjamin, shared the year’s achievements, including its retirement of the former Music Canada Live brand and relaunch as the CLMA.

“Our new name and brand clearly reflect who we are and will strengthen our ability to advocate on behalf of our sector, our amazing members and deepen relationships with our many valued partners,” commented board chair Jesse Kumagai at the meeting.

The newly elected 2019-2020 board members are Sam Baijal, artistic director of Ontario’s Hillside Festival; Kerry Clarke, artistic director of Calgary Folk Music Festival; Tao-Ming Lau, founder of Blue Crane agency; entertainment lawyer Miro Oballa; and Katy Venneri, director of the Juno Awards.

“Our new name and brand clearly reflect who we are”

The CLMA thanked outgoing founding board members Jean Wilkinson (APA), Neill Dixon (Canadian Music Week), Tom Kemp (Feldman Agency) and Michael Hollett (NXNE) for their contributions.

Over the year, the CLMA engaged in issues including secondary ticketing, safety and security at live events, harassment and bullying in the workplace, artists’ career development and the future of grassroots music venues.

In March, the Canada Arts Presentation Fund received a CAN$16 million boost in funding from the federal government, in a move lauded by the CLMA.

 


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Canadian Live Music Association launches

Canada’s national industry association, formerly known as Music Canada Live, has rebranded as the Canadian Live Music Association for 2019.

“This is an important milestone for our organisation,” explains Jesse Kumagai, chairman of the association’s board. “As Music Canada Live we were able to hit the ground running back in 2014, with great thanks to Music Canada for providing the support we needed to launch and grow as quickly as we did.

“Now, with over 200 members across the country and a clear mandate ahead of us, the time is right to establish our own distinct identity. Our new name and brand clearly reflect who we are and will strengthen our ability to advocate on behalf of our sector, our amazing members and deepen relationships with our many valued partners.”

In addition to the name change, Erin Benjamin, formerly Music Canada Live executive director, becomes president and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association.

“We are helping to tell the story of live music in this country by championing the work of our members”

“We have achieved a remarkable amount of success in a very short time,” says Benjamin (pictured), “because live music is more important than ever, especially to artists. Our sector, in terms of Canadian music market revenues, is anticipating tremendous growth by 2021 and beyond.

“A robust association means a healthy industry. We are helping to tell the story of live music in this country by championing the work of our members, because when live music prospers, everybody benefits.”

The Canadian Live Music Association, formed as Music Canada Live in 2014, represents concert promoters, festivals, booking agencies, venues, clubs, arenas, performing arts centres, ticket agencies and other organisations and suppliers in Canada.

 


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