For 25 seasons CSI member The Whole Note magazine has built the bulk of its content around providing 300 to 500 listings for live music — particularly classical, new, early & world music, jazz, opera and musical theatre. Each issue has been distributed via 960 shops, cafes, venues, etc around Toronto.
Then came COVID-19.
As a result of the pandemic, those 300 to 500 events were postponed or cancelled. And 960 distribution points available to the magazine shrank to 10.
As The Whole Note’s publisher David Perlman explained to the Toronto Star, he and his team have responded to this new normal by reinventing the magazine’s content:
What is different in the July-August issue is the replacement of listings with essays covering specialized subject areas, with Brian Chang, for example, writing about how choirs face the challenge of social distancing and Lydia Perovic interviewing Katherine Carleton, executive director of Orchestras Canada, on how orchestras are coping.
Just as Perlman asserts there was no actual model for his enterprise in the first place, there is obviously none for the age of COVID-19. “We are always improvising,” he says.
So far, the improvising seems to be working! The Whole Note’s distribution numbers are creeping back up! The September issue will be available in 140 places in the city. If you are still sheltering in place (good for you!) you can read it online.