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Coronavirus Relief Bill Includes Assistance for Music Creators
The Recording Academy applauds Congress and the President for stepping in and providing some much-needed economic relief and protections for music creators. Late last night, a stimulus bill of over $2 trillion passed the Senate and is expected to soon pass the House and be signed into law. The even better news is that the bill includes many priorities that covers music creators and other self-employed workers.
Reeling from the devastating economic effects of the Coronavirus, music creators are in need of increased economic relief following wide-spread closures and cancellations of tours, performances and gigs. Like many freelance or self-employed workers, music creators typically don’t enjoy the normal employment protections afforded to salaried or hourly workers, which puts them in jeopardy of not having access to many key protections in the relief package. Fortunately, thanks to the Recording Academy’s extensive advocacy, the spending package includes protections and provisions that put music creators in a better position for immediate and long-term relief.
Among these key protections, the Academy worked to grant new eligibility for self-employed workers to apply for “paycheck protection” loans from the Small Business Administration that can later be forgiven if they are used to provide income support. The bill also incentivizes traditional small businesses to use these loans to continue payments to independent contractors they work with. Self-employed individuals will also be able to apply for special Emergency Injury Disaster Loans.
The Academy also successfully lobbied for new pandemic-related unemployment insurance to be included in the bill, and to ensure that eligibility requirements were extended to self-employed workers. Music makers who qualify will now be entitled to four months of unemployment insurance through their state of residency.
In addition to supporting music creators with these individual protections, the stimulus bill also included a $75,000,000 boost to the National Endowment for the Arts. This big win for music and the arts marks a 50% increase from the 2009 stimulus package, and will go to provide funding and grants to state arts organizations and help fund new projects across the country
These important victories follow the recent surge of support for music creators to be included in the stimulus, led by the Recording Academy's letter to Congressional leaders outlining the need for relief efforts for the music community. In the letter, Academy Chairman and Interim CEO Harvey Mason jr appropriately stated, "music is the original 'gig economy.'"
The Academy also sent letters with leading entertainment industry organizations, associations and unions outlining a set of shared priorities impacting workers in music, television, film and theatre. The Academy also joined dozens of non-profit arts and culture organizations to advocate for key provisions for artists and arts organizations.
The message to the Hill was amplified by Academy members and music fans via the Academy’s call-to-action online tool, which sent tens of thousands of letters to Congress in support of providing critical assistance and relief for creators..
Members of Congress, heard that call, and weighed in, writing letters of their own advocating for creators' rights. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), along with 36 of his Congressional colleagues, sent a letter to Speaker of the House Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Republican Leader McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging Congressional action for creators. The Congressional Arts Caucus and the Congressional STEAM Caucus co-signed a letter to House Leadership with more than 50 signatures.
Additionally, both House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and Congressman Doug Collins sent separate letters to House leadership urging support for the creative workforce.
Last week, the Recording Academy’s Chief Industry, Government, and Member Relations Officer Daryl P. Friedman appeared on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Press Pool with Julie Mason. On the program, Friedman discussed the impact of coronavirus on creators, including the cancellation of big and small concerts, the financial impact on artists’ bottom line, and the potential solutions Congress could enact that would add some financial relief for creators.
The Recording Academy and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares continue to raise funds to benefit creators in need. Leading music streaming and tech companies Amazon Music, Facebook, SiriusXM and Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, and YouTube Music have announced that they are contributing to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to support music industry workers in need.
If you are a creator facing financial hardship due to this global pandemic, please visit MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund page here.
If you would like to support the relief fund, you can donate here.