When the pandemic put live performance on ice last year, veteran roots musician Matt Masters and his wife Amanda Burgener launched Curbside Concerts, an “a la carte culture delivery service.” They produced more than 500 socially distanced private concerts within the first six months. Today the company operates across Canada and has a roster of more than 50 musicians. Masters says that Curbside’s format could expand to include fitness, comedy and more. He plans to add health and dental benefits for performers and eventually take the company global.
While Curbside Concerts started in response to COVID-19, Masters believes it provides a solution to pre-existing difficulties in the live-music industry. Many musicians enjoy touring, but it can be tough to be away from their homes and families for extended periods of time. Curbside Concerts allows them to make a modest income from home, playing to an audience partially developed by the company in addition to their established fanbases.
Masters believes that when venues reopen, this model can integrate within the conventional live-music industry by offering musicians a way to earn income between tours. “The artists get to choose the gigs they want, where they want,” he says.
“It’s up to the artists: work when you want, as much as you want.”