SaskMusic Launches “Music Matters” Study

SaskMusic Launches “Music Matters” Study

Capturing a ‘normal year’ of music urgently needed

by SaskMusic

March 24, 2021 in SaskMusic News


SaskMusic is today launching a new music industry economic impact survey titled Music Matters, aiming to capture data about the last ‘normal year’ of activities in the province’s music industry prior to the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shutting down a huge segment of the industry.

“The longer the shutdown of the live music and events industry continues, the more important it becomes to measure and plan for the rebuilding of our industry,” notes SaskMusic Executive Director Mike Dawson. The last intensive economic study of the Saskatchewan music industry was undertaken by SaskMusic more than a decade ago(footnote 1) – before streaming services had even taken hold in Canada. “The landscape of the music industry changes rapidly, and we’ve seen especially large technological changes this past decade,” he continues. “We urgently need to capture a snapshot of 2019 economic activity to have up-to-date figures, and to be able to monitor the status of the industry’s rebound post-COVID.”

SaskMusic notes that live performance has made up the majority of revenue for the music industry for the past number of years, as physical albums sales have declined and been replaced by streaming consumption. Without live performances being able to happen on any significant scale since March 2020, artists, songwriters, venues and festivals, audio and lighting technicians, tour managers, live event planners, and many other workers associated with live event production have seen their income plummet.

Before March 2020, the Canadian live music industry provided 72,000 jobs and contributed approximately $3 billion to the national GDP. Since March 2020, the industry has reported a 92% average revenue loss drop.(2)

The survey aims to collect information on the financial and general activity of everyone working in the provincial music industry. “It’s a big ask of our industry folks to participate in yet another survey, but a very, very important one. Without this key information, it will be impossible to measure where we’re at in a year’s time, or two year’s time, compared to the past. We won’t know how much we’ve lost, nor be able to effectively advocate for support of the renewed live events industry and those rebuilding efforts,” notes SaskMusic Operations Manager, Lorena Kelly.

64% of the industry is at risk of permanent closure as a result of the pandemic(3). The many highly skilled workers and artists who have made their careers in the music industry have been supplementing where they can by teaching online music lessons, adapting into other areas of music, or entering other professions entirely as they’ve seen their income disappear. “We’re at risk of losing entire sections of the music scene, with potentially devastating consequences for music lovers,” notes Kelly.

SaskMusic is putting out the call for all music industry workers, regardless of their role, genre, or musical income, to participate in the survey which is set to close April 12 (extended)  The survey is being conducted for SaskMusic by leading data firm Nordicity, which has significant experience conducting creative industry studies, to ensure accuracy of data collection and the privacy of survey respondents.

“The live music industry has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic – extending to musicians, live music venues, staff, crews, music festivals, and others. Canadians believe that these sectors/professions need support from governments to help recover from the pandemic.”(4) - Live Music 2021: Where We Are and Where We’re Going

“Beyond the impact of the pandemic on the live music sector and those who depend on it for their livelihood, Canadians also believe Canadian arts and culture more generally is at risk. 84% think the pandemic will negatively impact Canadian arts and culture. Displaced musicians will need to find new ways to make a living, impacting the production of music. 65% agree that many musicians in Canada who have been unable to make a living from their music or art will have to find new ways to make a living, risking Canada’s culture, arts, and music industry long-term.”(5)

The survey can be found here: