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How Congress Can Provide Relief For Music Makers During COVID-19
With a growing number of states imposing restrictions on bars and restaurants on the heels of the widespread cancellation of music-related events and festivals, the landscape for live performers is quickly shifting. Many artists have turned to creative solutions in order to combat these schedule changes, such as focusing on merchandise sales or playing shows for online audiences, but replacing the income touring and performing live generates for most working music makers will take much more.
"The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the music community. Music festivals, tours, live events, video shoots, writing workshops, studio recording sessions, and more have been canceled across the country and around the world." Mason jr. wrote. "These cancellations don’t just affect famous featured artists and headlining bands. They impact thousands of songwriters, session musicians, live musicians, backing vocalists, audio engineers, studio mixers, and other individuals who make a living by making music."
The letter follows Congress' relief package, which will provide paid sick leave for some workers, free coronavirus testing, increased food assistance, strengthen unemployment insurance benefits, and assist with other necessary relief efforts. But Congress must continue its work by passing a subsequent package that provides additional relief to self-employed music makers.
"I urge you to protect our nation’s musicians, performers, songwriters, and studio professionals. Just as many large industries will be seeking support, you should not forget the smallest of small businesses: individual music makers who will not benefit from employer-based relief." he wrote, adding, "Music is the original 'gig economy.'"
The message to Congress is clear: Congress must provide these creators with some economic relief.
The Recording Academy will continue to show its commitment to creators and their families by advocating on Capitol Hill. But now it is time for Congress to continue its bipartisan and bicameral spirit by passing more specific relief packages. You can join the Recording Academy in this call by contacting your members of Congress here.
To further support music makers during these difficult and uncertain times, the Recording Academy and MusiCares recently established the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
If you are an artist or music professional who has been impacted by this unprecedented circumstance and are in need of assistance, please visit our MusiCares page to learn more about the financial, medical and personal emergencies services and resources offered by the Recording Academy.