Music industry reeling from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic


A fan takes a photo of a band at a live concert. Photo by Terry Farrell


Island musicians, promoters and producers alike reeling from cancellations, venue bans

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected virtually every industry in one way or another, and in that regard, the music industry is no different.

In fact, for the budding musicians still growing their portfolio and fan-base, the effects can be – and for some, already have been – devastating.

Vancouver Island MusicFest executive director Doug Cox is not only a concert promoter, but also a touring musician, as well as a record producer. He is experiencing the effects from all sides.

His scheduled tour with singer-songwriter Linda McRae that included shows in Washington, Oregon, B.C. and Alberta was cancelled mere hours after he spoke to Black Press.

“We just cancelled our entire tour due to Linda’s concerns over self-imposed quarantine,” he texted, shortly after a phone interview. “This included dates in Washington, Oregon, B.C. and Alberta – and I just lost a two-week recording project as a producer… someone who was coming to Courtenay from Argentina to record at my studio has the same concerns.”

Cox is no longer a full-time touring musician, but he empathizes with those who make their living playing the circuit venues. He said had this crisis happened 20 years ago, when he was on the road for eight months of the year, it would have been disastrous.

“It would have wiped me out, for sure,” he said. “It’s not only going to be devastating to musicians who are dependant on that money coming in, but if you are planning on making money on a tour, you’ve already put out a lot of money to book that tour… everything from updating your website to sending out press kits, phone bills, advertising… there’s a huge amount of money that goes out up front and a lot of that will never be recovered.”



  1. I was just thinking about this dilemma; Jann Arden has the right idea…a home concert, now how about by donation, or reasonable fee for time and talent, and perhaps even personal one-on-one concerts via Skype?

    Personally, I’d love for Tom Wilson to serenade me and yes, I’d gladly pay for my very own, intimate show.

    Call me crazy?!

  2. I think musicians should do ‘home concerts’ and have a donation button. I will happily promote anyone (if that’s okay, Michael) who is doing a show.
    Tom Jeffries on Facebook.
    Anything I can do to help.

  3. I agree 100%, the Home Concerts are a good idea, I also would be more than happy to donate to a “Donate Button “ .

    Those of us that can need to find ways to support as many as we can in any we can, there is nothing more important than doing everything we can to support those in need until they are once again able to support themselves .

    Let us hope that we are closer to anew beginning than some think .

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