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Get The Facts: What A $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Means For Music Creators
These are hard times for many music professionals, but knowing how to find the support you need right now can make a huge difference. Last Friday, President Trump signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. Fortunately, the bill contained some key protections and provisions for music creators, which the Recording Academy fought to be included in the final draft. So, what's in it for you?
On Monday, April 6 at 3 p.m. ET, the Recording Academy will be hosting a webinar on how the CARES Act can positively help creators. The webinar will be moderated by Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer Daryl Friedman and will feature Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.), Recording Academy Chairman and Interim CEO Harvey Mason jr, and experts from the Greenberg Traurig law firm, Kelly Bunting and Monica Schulteis. The conversation will go deeper into the unemployment assistance, small business loans, and stimulus payments included in the CARES Act. Find out more here.
Now let's look at what the $2 trillion stimulus package means for creators…
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Self-employed music professionals who, due to the effects of the Coronavirus, are out of work or unable to work are eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance program. This is crucial support for touring musicians stuck at home, everyone affected by local venues closing, and producers, engineers and studio players, owners and managers with canceled sessions.
In addition to standard unemployment benefits, individuals will also receive an additional $600 per week for four months, ending July 31. Eligibility for unemployment benefits is retroactive and the duration of unemployment benefits is extended for an additional 13 weeks (beyond the standard 26 weeks) through the end of the year.
How to get started: Like typical unemployment insurance you apply though your state of residency—select your state on the Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop to learn more about how to apply. Be sure to have all relevant tax documents (like 1099s) ready.
Small Business Loans & Paycheck Protection
More good news for creators as individual, self-employed music makers are eligible to apply for “paycheck protection” loans from the Small Business Administration. These loans may even qualify for full loan forgiveness if they are used to provide income support. Additionally, individual, self-employed music makers are also eligible to apply for Emergency Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), including a special $10,000 grant that can be used to pay for expenses and does not have to be repaid.
Because traditional small businesses are incentivized to use these loans to continue payments to independent contracts that they work with, this portion of the stimulus bill opens up the possibility for musicians, engineers, mixers and other creative professionals engaged in an independent contractor capacity to continue getting paid.
The application for Emergency Injury Disaster Loans can be found here.
The CARES Act also promises to put money in the pockets of Americans with stimulus payments. In short, eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples who file jointly. Additionally, parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child under 17
For music makers with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples), you will receive the full payment. For those with income above $75,000, the payment amount is reduced, and those with income exceeding $99,000 (or $198,000 for married couples) do not qualify.
How to get started: Learn more about who is eligible for stimulus payments here.
Many music makers are employed or contracted by education and non-profit organizations. Fortunately, the CARES Act also establishes a $75 million supplemental fund for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), with 60 percent of the funds dedicated to direct grants for non-profit organizations and other eligible recipients to respond to the coronavirus.
The remaining 40 percent will be distributed to state and regional arts councils, which also can go to fund and assist local musicians and artists. Funds are available through September 2021 and are in addition to the $162 million appropriated for the NEA in the current fiscal year.
How to get started: To learn more about grant opportunities visit the NEA here.
Need More Information?
The Recording Academy has partnered with other organizations in the music community to create the Music COVID Relief website. The site will serve as the go-to landing page for members of the music community and will contain frequent updates, a list of resources, and answers to the most commonly asked questions from music makers.
Want to learn more? Remember to join us for Monday’s webinar!
The Recording Academy and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares continue to raise funds to benefit creators 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.