Now that the coronavirus pandemic has forced a virtual shutdown of cities across the U.S., people nationwide are taking a massive financial and emotional hit from the growing outbreak.
The music industry is no exception, with venues shuttered, artist tours derailed and major festivals postponed or cancelled altogether. With desperation increasing by the day, agencies, promoters and more have announced initiatives to help ease the burden on workers.
Some companies are focusing on employees who have lost income due to COVID-19, others are assisting musicians whose gigs have been cancelled or postponed and still more are emphasizing the health and safety of frontline healthcare workers and others who have been most directly affected by the crisis.
Below we’ve compiled a rundown of music companies who have pledged their support during this time of unprecedented societal upheaval. The list will be continually updated as we receive more information.
Amazon Music contributed to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund.
The online music platform has waived its revenue share for digital sales and merchandise and will instead send that money to artists and labels. It is also offering a Bandcamp Artist Guide that shows artists how to maximize their sales on the platform.
Events discovery and marketing platform Bandsintown is offering artists who have registered with Bandsintown for Artists free access to Twitch’s monetization tools. Beginning this week, artists with more than 2,000 followers on Bandsintown Concerts will be able to monetize their live-stream performances on Twitch via paid fan subscriptions, with fans who tune in being given the option of purchasing virtual “tips” known as Bits. Artists can learn more about the opportunity here.
Through its CAA Foundation, the powerhouse agency co-conceived #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative to provide first responder healthcare workers with physical and psychological resources as they help fight the pandemic. In partnership with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and behavior change technology company Thrive Global, #FirstRespondersFirst will launch a fundraiser to help address shortages of personal protective supplies and equipment for frontline healthcare workers while also providing access to online workshops, virtual training, coaching, and content to help improve their psychological well-being. CAA will also utilize its relationships with cultural influencers to help raise awareness around the needs of healthcare workers during the pandemic.
With Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Montana shut down due to the pandemic, the guitar maker is providing all of its hourly factory workers with a $1,000 support payment to help them through the crisis. The company has also launched Gibson HomeMade, a global program that will stream original full-length performances by Gibson, Eiphone and Kramer artists to support their current projects while they’re homebound.
The independent concert promotion and production company has launched the I.M.P. Family Fund to assist the company’s hourly employees who have been put out of work by the pandemic. When people buy an I.M.P. gift card for future shows, food and beverages, the company will match that amount via a donation to the fund; I.M.P.’s salaried staff also have the option of donating a portion of their salaries to the company’s hourly workers.
I.M.P. will also pay the employee portion of company health insurance premiums for hourly workers while venues remain closed; give customers the option of donating their refunds for cancelled or postponed shows to the fund; establish a food pantry at I.M.P.’s Washington D.C. venue 9:30 Club for hourly employees; and offer hourly employees the opportunity to work on alternative projects while venues remain closed.
PRS for Music
British collecting society PRS For Music has launched the PRS Emergency Relief Fund to support members affected by the pandemic. The effort is a partnership between the PRS Members’ Fund and the PRS Foundation and will got to members facing financial hardship due to loss of earning opportunities due to the virus. Members can apply for a grant here.
SiriusXM and Pandora contributed to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund.
Songtradr has made a commitment to increasing the revenue of artists during the pandemic by giving them 100% of licensing fees on any new transaction through April 18.
To assist music creators impacted by the coronavirus, the music-centric finance firm has dedicated $20 million to offer a no-cost royalty advance funding option on every new application through April 16, or until the fund is depleted. Creators with royalty income can apply for cash advances on a one-year repayment schedule with no fees or costs attached, with terms extending beyond one year also being made available.
Through a new agreement with Twitch, SoundCloud users can now utilize Twitch’s Affiliate program, allowing them to garner additional income during the shutdown. Additionally, SoundCloud Pro Unlimited subscriptions will be 50% off through March 30, while the SoundCloud artist relations and marketing teams will be hosting real-time AMAs for creators. The company also plans on providing financial and promotional support to organizations offering additional creator services.
Spotify is providing direct financial support to the CDC Foundation Emergency Response Fund and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to help spread information about the coronavirus, and is additionally making a portion of its ad inventory available for governments and nonprofits to share that information with users globally. The company also contributed to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund. Additionally, on March 25 Spotify launched its COVID-19 Music Relief fundraising site, through which the company will match donations to organizations helping musicians in need dollar-for-dollar, for up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million. The company is now working on a new Spotify For Artists tool that would allow artists to fundraise directly from fans on the platform.
Tidal is moving a number of its live concerts and live streams in front of the paywall as part of a program entitled At Home With Tidal. The service additionally contributed to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund.
To help combat the growing pandemic, YouTube launched StayHome #WithMe, a campaign highlighting content by creators who have found unique ways to encourage people to “stay home and save lives.” The company is also working to provide all creators and music partners with access to features that enable alternative sources of revenue, including merchandise and commerce products such as Super Chat. Creators now also have the option of setting up donations for a coronavirus-related charity of their choice via YouTube Giving. Additionally, the company has contributed to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund, and it has expanded its YouTube Premieres program, which allows creators to pre-record a video and premiere it live along with their fans.