Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Academy Endorses New Legislation To Support Creators, Venues & Small Music Businesses
Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, one thing is clear: its adverse effect on the music business is far from over. Especially now that many of the provisions contained in the $2 trillion CARES Act are set to expire, creators, studio professionals and venues are still in desperate need of additional financial assistance to overcome the lost wages due to the coronavirus crisis.
As the nation searches for answers, the music community must unite in order to advocate for necessary legislation. Fortunately, the Recording Academy has endorsed two solutions to do just that: the RESTART Act and the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act. Here's a closer look at what they entail and how you can help them pass by registering as a District Advocate.
The RESTART Act
The next round of stimulus support simply must ensure that small businesses – including self-employed creators, music venues, and recording studios – survive the pandemic. The bipartisan Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481) responds to the urgent needs of hardest-hit small businesses, including self-employed creators, by establishing a loan program to help keep music creators afloat through the remainder of 2020 and provide loan forgiveness as a backstop against continuing economic challenges.
With live shows, studio sessions and tours likely dark for the remainder of the year – and into 2021 – the industry-wide financial fallout will only worsen without meaningful support. Congress must include this program to ensure that the industry survives and venues will not close forever. For this reason, the Academy’s endorsement of the RESTART Act was recently announced by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), who are among the bill's champions and co-sponsors.
"The livelihoods of music creators heavily depend on the survival of recording studios and live music venues," said Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy in a recent. "With no certainty in sight as to when concerts will revive and normal operations will resume, these businesses struggle to persevere through the current economy. The RESTART Act provides long-term and flexible financial assistance that is more aligned with the reality of those within the music industry. The Recording Academy thanks Senators Bennet and Young for their leadership and support."
In short, The RESTART Act would support performers, songwriters, and studio professionals how and when they need it most.
The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act
Many music makers earn their living by combining several sources of income, be it live performance or studio gigs, teaching, songwriting or performance royalties or otherwise. This resourcefulness adds a wrinkle to the stimulus process that simply must be ironed out – here's how…
First, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program needs fixing so that gig workers can receive their full unemployment benefits. Because so many of the unemployment systems were unable to process mixed income streams, many gig workers did not receive their entire benefit during the program’s implementation under the CARES Act. This has cost countless unemployed creators thousands of dollars in lost benefits.
The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act (H.R. 7961), introduced by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), is designed to fix this problem and to ensure that gig workers are not excluded from critical financial assistance.
"The Recording Academy thanks Representatives Adam Schiff and Judy Chu for their tireless efforts to ensure that all workers have equitable access to unemployment benefits as our creative community faces the long-term effects of this unprecedented crisis," he added.
How Can You Help?
These two new pieces of legislation are the next step toward securing much-needed support toward the survival of our music community. Want to help pass these policies? If you are an Academy member, make sure to register for District Advocate to let your representatives know first-hand why these issues matter – but hurry, registration closes this Friday, July 24.