fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Major US music orgs write to Congress for Covid aid

The Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America and Music Managers Forum US are among the US organisations that have written to Congress to ask for additional support to “avoid a level of loss that that could devastate everyone in the music industry for a generation”.

The letter reads: “There is no denying that Covid-19 has truly tested the nation, and it has had a devastating effect on our country’s music industry. The live music business – once a sign of a thriving community and a draw to our cultural and commercial centres – has gone tragically silent. The music community remains grateful for Congress’ bipartisan relief efforts earlier this year, but more must be done soon.”

In the letter, the organisations present six recommendations to Congress: renew and extend existing benefits that have proved indispensable; pass the Restart Act (Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery), which is currently stalled; fix the Cares Act by passing the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Act.

The signatories have also urged Congress to: expand the Saves Our Stages Act; expand employer retention tax credits and pass a 100% Cobra premium subsidy; and pass the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act and the Hits Act.

The letter concludes with: “Like many in 2020, our community has come together to speak with one voice to ensure that we all can enjoy better days in the future together. We hope that with your leadership, Congress, in the upcoming lame duck session, will take this clear opportunity to save American music, culture, and countless small businesses. Thank you for your consideration.”

Read the letter in full below.

 


24 November 2020

Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and Leader McCarthy,

There is no denying that Covid-19 has truly tested the nation, and it has had a devastating effect on our country’s music industry. The live music business – once a sign of a thriving community and a draw to our cultural and commercial centres – has gone tragically silent. The music community remains grateful for Congress’ bipartisan relief efforts earlier this year, but more must be done soon to avoid a level of loss that that could devastate artists, musicians, engineers, producers, venues, and everyone in the music industry for a generation.

First, Congress must renew and extend existing benefits that have proved indispensable, including the weekly funding provided through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Congress must also act to pass the Restart Act, to build on the short-term relief provided by the Paycheck Protection Program.

Second, Congress must fix an unintended error in the Cares Act by passing the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Act. Mixed earners, or gig workers with a minimum amount of W-2 income, have been excluded from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and overly burdensome PUA documentation requirements are out of step with the workplace realities of the gig economy.

Third, with no clear direction on when safe public gatherings may resume, Congress must expand the current form of the Save Our Stages Act and pass it to provide sufficient assistance for small venues and multi-use publicly owned venues. 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their incomes, including 97% of 1099 workers. These people work at venues of all sizes and in a variety of capacities – whether it be full-time, part-time, or on the side as a gig worker. With uncertainty surrounding the resumption of live events, most of these workers are still struggling to make ends meet.

Providing direct financial relief to the workers of all venues is critical to keeping local communities afloat. Indeed, dollars spent to keep venues open have a multiplier effect, as live music brings patrons to hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses that are also struggling to survive. Expanding Save Our Stages to include all different types of live events workers – and not excluding them simply for where they work – will help revitalize our economy at the ground level.

Fourth, Congress must do more to ensure workers can keep their job-based healthcare plans during this pandemic. We believe Congress should expand employer retention tax credits and pass a 100% Cobra premium subsidy to ensure that job disruptions through no fault of their own don’t cost Americans their health as well as their livelihoods.

Finally, Congress must ensure that tax relief reaches musicians and workers in the performing arts by passing the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act and the HITS Act.

Like many in 2020, our community has come together to speak with one voice to ensure that we all can enjoy better days in the future together. We hope that with your leadership, Congress, in the upcoming lame duck session, will take this clear opportunity to save American music, culture, and countless small businesses. Thank you for your consideration.

Signed: Academy of Country Music; Artist Rights Alliance; Broadcast Music, Inc; Christian Music Trade Association; Church Music Publishers Association Action Fund; Country Music Association; Gospel Music Association; Music Artists Coalition; Music Managers Forum – US; National Music Publishers Association; Production Music Association; Recording Academy; Recording Industry Association of America; SESAC; Society of Composers & Lyricists; Songwriters of North America; SoundExchange; Southern Gospel Music Guild; The American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers; The Living Legends Foundation, Inc; The Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Inc.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

US live sector adopts #WeMakeEvents campaign

North America is adopting the UK-born initiative #WeMakeEvents with a day of action that will see 1,500 venues lit in red to symbolise the live event industry’s red alert.

The call-to-arms, which will take place on 1 September, has been organised in the hope that the US government will take notice and provide the appropriate support by way of relief funding and necessary legislation.

“Live events have been completely halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement from #WeMakeEvents, North America.

“Because our business is rooted in large group gatherings, we were one of the first industries to be completely shut down (early March) and will be one of the last to return to any operations (well into 2021), let alone restore former prosperity (likely not until 2022 or beyond).

“The live event industry in North America directly employs more than 12 million people and includes hundreds of thousands of businesses with a combined economic impact of over US$1 trillion. This likely includes someone you know, are close to, or it may even include you. If we do not receive government assistance the live events industry will literally collapse, including all of the people involved.”

The campaign sees #WeMakeEvents partner with ExtendPUA.org, which is requesting a continuation and expansion of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which supplements earnings per week for those on unemployment and opens up unemployment to 1099 workers.

The campaign comes after a survey conducted by National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a new alliance of US grassroots music venues, found that 90% of its members said that if the shutdowns lasted six months or more with no federal help, they would never reopen.

“We were one of the first industries to be shut down and will be one of the last to return, let alone restore former prosperity”

In April, NIVA wrote to members of the US Congress to ask for immediate assistance for a sector it says is facing an existential crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, the alliance is lobbying to push two bills through Congress before the end of August in order to keep independent venues nationwide from permanently closing.

The #SaveOurStagesAct is a new $10 billion grant program for live venue operators, promoters, producers, and talent representatives provides grants of either 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $12 million (whichever is less), as well as supplemental grants of up to half the original grant if the entity is still experiencing 80%+ revenue loss as of Dec. 1, 2020.

The grants can be used for payroll and benefits, rent, utilities, mortgage interest payments, interest payments, insurance, personal protective equipment (PPE), existing loans, payments to 1099 employees, and other ordinary and necessary business expenses.

The #RestartAct (Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery) is a new loan program that provides funding for six months of payroll, benefits, fixed operating expenses, PPE, accounts payable, and other ordinary and necessary business expenses, with loan amounts of either 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $12 million (whichever is less).

It features partial loan forgiveness based on losses in revenue, a seven-year loan term, and no principal payments for the first two years. The bill also extends the covered period for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from eight weeks to 16 weeks. The Restart Act is currently moving through congress but has stalled.

NIVA is also lobbying for tax relief and additional unemployment insurance for employees of shuttered businesses.

Currently, NIVA has nearly 2,000 charter members in all 50 states, including 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue in Minneapolis, Chicago Independent Venue LeagueWorld Cafe Live in PhiladelphiaPabst Theater Group in MilwaukeeRed River Cultural District in Austin, and Exit/In in Nashville.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.