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Juno Awards: And the winner is…

May 12, 2022, 11:00 a.m. (EDT)
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The 2022 Juno nominees for Sunday night’s “Artist of the year” award include 11-time Juno winner Shawn Mendes, 8-time winner Justin Bieber as well as Charlotte Cardin, JP Saxe and The Weeknd.

For the Canadian performing arts industry as a whole in 2020, however, most artists, executives and employees in the industry were singing the blues.

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, government restrictions led to the cancellation or postponement of shows across Canada, greatly limiting most business operations.

Even with growing digital sales and government grants and subsidies aimed at helping businesses through the pandemic, performing arts revenues declined by a record $783.8 million from 2018 to $1.8 billion in 2020, falling to their lowest level since comparable data became available in 2014.

With losses in operating revenues outpacing those of operating expenses (-$635.4 million), the operating profit margin for the industry fell 2.6 percentage points to 10.4% in 2020.

For businesses that could operate, reduced audience capacity or alternatives to in-person shows required constant adjustment, resulting in almost one-third of respondents (31.0%) adopting or expanding contactless business models and 14.6% investing in e-commerce platforms.

To help mitigate falling revenues amid the pandemic, many businesses worked to find substitutes for regular in-person performances, such as live-streamed digital performances or online viewing passes for pre-recorded shows. As a result, e-commerce sales expanded as a share of total sales, accounting for almost one-quarter (23.9%) of all sales revenues in 2020.

With the help of grants (such as federal employment subsidies), many businesses continued to pay employees throughout the pandemic. This resulted in salaries, wages, commissions and benefits (-25.0%) declining at a slower pace than many other operating expenses, and increasing as a share of total operating expenses by 1.2 percentage points to 26.7% in 2020.

Among the performing arts industries in 2020, musical groups and artists earned an increasing share of industry revenue, reaching 44.5% in 2020, up 5.8 percentage points from 2018.

With rolling restrictions throughout much of 2021, industry operators continued to face changing conditions throughout the year. The extent of the bounce back will vary across the performing arts industries, as evolving conditions during critical operating dates and limited opportunity for in-person events for most of 2021 will likely push any appreciable recovery to a later time.

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