The East Coast Music Awards will be handed out on Sunday night in Sydney, N.S., but anyone interested in watching the gala will have to cozy up with their computer.
The annual celebration of East Coast musicians will not be broadcast on television this year — instead it will be streamed online.
The decision to offer only online coverage of the gala event has some artists regretting the lack of national exposure that would come with a televised event.
In years past, ECMA nominees were able to perform on a national television broadcast or at least get their names mentioned during the event which would be broadcast across the country.
Steve MacDougall, a member of Slow Coaster and the musical director for the gala, said the decision is a loss for the ECMAs.
“Well, I mean, obviously it’s just less exposure to the common Canadian,” MacDougall said.
“Usually, sitting down in a farm in Winnipeg this time of year, people would turn it on.”
Cost-saving move – or sign of the times
Television broadcasts are expensive and CBC said last year’s ECMA ratings weren’t great.
However, Su Hutchison, the ECMAs’ executive director, said those two factors didn’t play a huge role in the decision.
She said the switch to a webcast is more a sign of the times.
“It made sense to us that [the internet] is where the community is going to get their content,” Hutchison said.
“That content is in an online world. It gives you the complete flexibility to curate your own experience, which television just isn’t able to do anymore for us.”
Saint John’s Jessica Rhaye said the switch away from a televised awards ceremony is unfortunate, but she said she sees an opportunity for artists too.
“It’s really a matter of the artists getting out there and promoting the show,” Rhaye said.
“Maybe put a splash on your website saying go to this link and watch this award show.”
As far as the buzz on the ground, Rhaye said, the event is as exciting as ever.