Creative B.C. launches online hub to livestream entertainment, pay musicians
Published Monday, April 13, 2020 3:53PM PDT Last Updated Monday, April 13, 2020 4:00PM PDT
Dan Mangan and fellow band members play to an empty Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on March 13, 2020. (Henry Beckwith)
Live music and entertainment in B.C. is going virtual.
Performances will soon start streaming directly to audiences inside their homes, with funding flowing to musicians for their artistic work.
Creative B.C. is awarding grants of $2,000 to eligible, established musicians for livestreaming, song-writing and professional development. Emerging artists are eligible for $500.
By launching a new online hub known as Showcase B.C., the provincial government aims to deliver a variety of programming and entertainment to residents in their homes while also giving some support to an arts community that’s been effectively decimated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's also good for the soul, said Lisa Beare, B.C.'s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
"Music has the power to lift us up and give us hope in times of crisis," the minister said in a prepared statement.
Creative B.C. also announced plans to host a free, livestream concert featuring musicians from around the province. Viewers will be able to watch online, though no date has been made public. The concert lineup is expected this week.
Artists have already been taking to the internet airwaves. Chris Martin launched the #TogetherAtHome movement, a concert series supported by the World Health Organization and featuring worldwide superstars. On April 18, Lady Gaga will perform “One World Together At Home” to support health care professionals and access to medical services.
After his performance at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall was cancelled last month, Vancouver musician Dan Mangan hosted a "Show to Nobody" at the empty venue. He described the performance as "a really ecstatic sound check" and marvelled at the overwhelming support and gratitude it generated.
In an interview with CTV News Vancouver, he encouraged artists to “hunker down” and pour themselves into creative pursuits. Mangan also helps connect musicians with their audiences through the livestreaming platform, Side Door, which has a family-friendly concert scheduled Monday night with folk singer and children’s entertainer Peter G-G.
The CEO of Creative B.C. said Showcase B.C. as a nimble, helpful response to support artists who have lost the ability to perform at venues in front of crowds since many businesses have been forced to close and because of physical distancing requirements.
"This program is designed as a quick response by Creative B.C. to the immediate needs of artists across the province’s music industry. It helps them create, stream and generate revenue," said Prem Gill, adding that viewers can stay safe inside their own homes.
Like many aspects of life during this pandemic, Canadians are spending more time online, be it for work, to connect with family and loved ones, or for entertainment and escape.
The changes to daily life have been profound, according to data released by Stats Canada. Two in three Canadians under the age of 50 are spending more time watching TV, while three in four are online more than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.