Photo: Patrick Foto/Getty Images
Music Community Unites To Send Letter To Congress Seeking New Relief
As the coronavirus crisis continues to devastate music makers, the music community has come together to draft and send a united letter to Congress on May 8, and the message is simple: "our situation is dire."
In the letter, which was written in collaboration with our fellow allies in music, the Recording Academy called on Congress to reduce unfavorable restrictions for the self-employed in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to amend the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) to better assist the self-employed, and to improve the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) to more adequately accommodate workers with mixed-income sources.
"While we appreciate the efforts of lawmakers to meet the challenges of this pandemic, we need to ensure that our community is getting the aid they need to survive," the organizations wrote in a joint statement. "Musicians are struggling to access the basic financial resources available due to conflicting and burdensome requirements in relief programs. Simply, there is a hole in this safety net that Congress must fix in the next version of the CARES Act."
The music community’s message was amplified by members of Congress this week. A letter led by Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) of the House Judiciary Committee outlined similar concerns, elaborating on the issues facing the creative workforce and calling on House Leadership to address these concerns in an upcoming relief package.
While an additional letter led by Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) focused on fixing PUA for workers with mixed-income sources. Their letter, signed by more than 20 members of the House of Representatives, asked for additional protections for independent workers with multiple types of income in future coronavirus legislation. Currently, independent workers have been struggling to receive much needed financial relief under the CARES Act due to the legislation favoring traditional employment arrangements.
“Due to the sporadic and unpredictable nature of work in film, television, theater, and music, many professionals in the entertainment industries earn a living through a combination of traditional (W-2) and independent (e.g. 1099) employment,” the Members wrote in their letter. “As a result, even if they have lost a substantial source of income due to coronavirus-related disruption of their independent work, these workers are ineligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.”
The House is expected to vote on a new relief package, called the HEROES Act, as soon as Friday—but more negotiations will be needed with the Senate and White House before future assistance is delivered to the American workforce. With the music community and lawmakers coming together in support of the independent workers who need it the most, hopes are high that a bipartisan and bicameral relief package will address the unique needs of those in the music community who are suffering.
To further support music makers during these difficult and uncertain times, the Recording Academy and MusiCares recently established the COVID-19 Relief Fund.