Music

Ontario musicians can now apply to $300K relief fund for live streams

The provincial government and members of the Canadian music scene have partnered to create MusicTogether for one-time performance fees of $1,000.

The provincial government and members of the Canadian music community have partnered to create MusicTogether

'MusicTogether is our effort to bring much-needed financial support to musicians throughout the province and keep a light shining on the glorious experience that is live music.' — Kevin Drew (Dahlia Katz)

In the wake of tour and festival cancellations across the world, musicians have been taking to live streaming at-home shows to stay connected to fans, raise money for charities and try to recoup some of the lost income they're facing. And now, Ontario musicians have access to a $300,000 relief fund to apply for one-time performance fees of $1,000 for those live streams.

Described as "a living room concert series to help artists in need," MusicTogether was founded by Raja Khanna, Gary Slaight, Jeffrey Remedios, Oliver Johnson, label Arts & Crafts and Daniel Debow. The founders and the people listed under "crew" and "roadies" in this press release initially put together $150,000 for the fund, with an additional $150,000 coming from Ontario's Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture as part of the Ontario Live initiative. The site, MusicTogether.ca, was put together by Arts & Crafts and Shopify Inc., and is where artists can apply for funding and fans can find out when live streams will take place. Musicians can also take donations and sell any merch through the site, and they'll get $100 in Facebook ad credits.

"This is happening to all of us," said Kevin Drew, Arts & Crafts and Broken Social Scene co-founder, via press release. "MusicTogether is our effort to bring much-needed financial support to musicians throughout the province and keep a light shining on the glorious experience that is live music." 

All funds raised will go to Ontario musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the program is being run entirely by volunteers. Fans can also donate at any time on MusicTogether.ca.

While there isn't much money currently to be made in live streams, there is a growing amount of support: the National Arts Centre partnered with Facebook to launch a live stream fund — for performing artists across Canada, not solely musicians — on March 19. The fund started at $100,000, but with more donations over the last few weeks it's grown to $700,000, and now includes a literary component

Halifax-based company Side Door, co-founded by Dan Mangan and Laura Simpson, normally acts as a booking site for house concerts and is now opening up its site to ticketed live stream shows. (It's also waiving any booking commission fees for the month of April.) Mangan has been performing $6 live stream shows on Saturdays since mid-March, with proceeds going to organizations like the Vancouver Food Bank. His April 4 show proceeds will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund. 

Corrections

  • We originally named the founders as the people who raised the original $150,000, but have amended that to link to the full list of donors.
    Apr 06, 2020 8:35 AM ET

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