Recap: Artist Roundtable

By Jenna Aquino

Recap: Artist Roundtable

Good Company Productions’ mission has always been about supporting artists and connecting people through music. Even under these challenging circumstances, our top priorities haven’t changed — we’re just having to experiment with different ways of going about them and we know everyone else is doing the same. That’s why, when it comes to pursuing a music career during a global pandemic, we want to make it easier for us all to lean on one another and navigate this ‘new normal’ together.

Last month, we called together a virtual congregation of local musicians, movers, and shakers, to have a candid conversation. With roughly 50 artists sharing their ideas and inspiration, while connecting over the power of music in these difficult times, it was probably the most meaningful Zoom call we’ve experienced yet.

“What we’re doing here is creating a community, and that’s what music does. That’s what music is for,” said Bob Egan, Film & Music Officer at the City of Kitchener.

So, in order to do just that, we want to share with you some of the highlights that came out of this discussion. Let’s dive right in:

Resources

A number of musicians in our community have experience mixing and mastering, including some of our own team members! If you want to learn and could use some help getting started, reach out to our team and we can connect you with the right person. 

When it comes to video and live-streaming, our Audio Team has put together a comprehensive overview of how to get the most out of platforms like YouTube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Twitch, JamKazam, and OBS. 

The folks at a local creative agency Trimmed Creative are a great resource to help you navigate content marketing and improve your skills now that it’s top of mind for everyone.

Finally, as the Good Company Productions office is currently sitting pretty with a stock full of microphones, cables, stands, and the like — we’re happy to drop off some gear to you to use during quarantine on a case-by-case basis if needed. 

Financial Resources

Local arts and culture champion Bob Egan, mentioned above, is putting together a list of resources to help musicians financially. In the meantime, check out the Local 1000 Artist Fund for up-to-date information on this front.

One common question that came up during our discussion around finances was around the CERB benefit and whether accepting payment for virtual gigs affects your eligibility. In case you’ve been wondering, you can still collect CERB while earning up to $1,000 in supplemental income.

Collaboration

We’re deeply missing casual jam sessions with other musicians, and we know we’re not alone in that. But, musical collaboration can still happen even in quarantine, you just have to get creative about it! For example, local bands like I, the Mountain, 12 Mile Island and John Muirhead have been experimenting with hosting a “virtual tour” over Zoom, where bands take turns performing for guests who want to listen. 

We’ve also put together what we call the Local Sounds Challenge - a community-crafted track made from snippets submitted by different musicians. Learn more and submit your track here. Interested in helping us produce the next track? Shoot Good Co.’s founder Amit Mehta an email.

Some other things we’re doing to centralize musical collaboration in our community is keeping an ongoing list of virtual gigs, as well as a musician database. We’d love to see you add to both so we can keep up-to-date on what you’re working on and how we can support you. It will also hopefully make it easier for you to connect with other artists as you see fit!

Opportunities for Artists

Off the bat, we want to remind you about the “Thank You Kitchener” live-streamed concert series taking place. Contact Kitchener-based Community Engagement master Mistie Brown for more information. There may not be many spots left at this point, but nonetheless it’s a great initiative to keep tabs on and support other artists through. 

The folks at Midtown Radio are accepting recordings from your home in MP3 format in any quality that they will play on their station. Don’t worry about making it perfect —take advantage of this great way to gain some exposure as a musician. 

Of course, if you haven’t yet, consider signing up for the Good Company Productions’ Virtual Open Mic, running every Tuesday via Instagram Live (@goodcoprod) at 7 p.m. until, well, until we can hear you play in-person again! Spread the word and sign up here — we can’t wait to hear you.

 

You can also check out our latest project, Concert in a Box, which is happening on May 24 and will follow the format of our classic pop-up concerts, virtually. Pay-what-you-can for to livestream the concert and place your order for a box full of local treats which will enhance your concert experience, giving you that Good Company feeling you’ve come to know! We hope to continue offering similar experiences if the response to this pilot is positive.

Have you heard about our Band Shop? Sell your merch online for free with a little help from our team. You can sell physical merchandise and digital downloads — and you keep 100 per cent of the profits. Bands only need to cover their transaction fees. We’ve also partnered with Civilian Screen Printing to help artists print merchandise at a reduced minimum order quantity of 12 shirts upfront. If you list your shirts online on our Band Shop, then Good Company Productions will cover all printing costs for t-shirts after you sell your minimum order quantity, so you will have no upfront costs. If you do not have designs, we can connect you with a local designer.  Email our Artist Liaison David for more information on this opportunity and how to get listed.

Other channels you can leverage to share your content include a Quarantine Music Video Club, the Home Sweet Home Music Festival (live-streamed concerts every Friday at 8 p.m), and checking back for more content and artist resources to come on our Good Company Productions Blog. Keep us in the loop about what you’re working on and we will try our best to feature you on it, and through our newsletter — especially when it involves helping you advertise a virtual event. 

As Good Co’s founder Amit Mehta so eloquently said in the Artist Roundtable session: “This is a time to build up habits and break down barriers.” For the past two months, we’ve watched you make the best out of a bad situation, re-organizing your projects with an impressive turnaround time and energy level. We want you to remember you have people in your corner and we’re always here to help. 

“I think there is a need for what we do, and at a time like this where the world is in a different place, your creative outlet might just end up giving people five minutes of relief, who knows,” said local treasure John Maksym. 

“Try not to measure the value of what you’re doing with comments and likes. If you’re getting engagement and people are watching, you’re making them happy and that’s what matters,” added Duncan Ivory of The Northcoast Band.

We know that our current climate is not presenting to be favourable to musicians and creatives, but if we put our minds together, we can come out of this stronger and more unified than before. 



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