The Coronavirus pandemic has decimated the music industry with untold damage and financial ruin of many thousands of industry workers worldwide, here are a few things to note of the effects across multiple sectors within the music industry.
As the novel coronavirus continues to flourish, it is with a sad inevitability that some of our most beloved musicians will be taken from us. Today it was the turn of the 86 year old Afro-jazz legend Manu Dibango to join the "gig in the sky" after contracting COVID-19. The 86-year-old Cameroonian, whose best-known hit was "Soul Makossa," was based in Paris, France, where funerals have now been limited to 20 people to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Musicians and performers who have touched our hearts are rightly mourned all over the world when they pass. But those still alive and working in the music industry are now facing unprecedented financial disaster due to coronavirus, as lockdowns are being deployed and tours and concerts canceled. Music blockchain and data company Viberate revealed today that over 300 festivals have already announced cancellations or postponements, via their tracking website SickFestivals.
"Our industry has almost ground to a halt," reveals Olga FitzRoy, the award-winning recording engineer, and campaigner who counts Coldplay and the TV shows Dr. Who and The Crown amongst her clients. "The recording industry has been badly affected by the pandemic, and many studios are completely shut down now." FitzRoy is also an executive director of the Music Producers Guild, the trade body for music producers, remixers, engineers and mastering engineers, and she sees some dark and challenging times ahead for the industry. "I think people often only see the glamorous side of the music business, forgetting that musicians, studios and engineers usually live at the bottom of the supply chain, and are often living hand-to-mouth with not much in the way of savings."
Mixcloud a music streaming platform for creators with approx. 18 million monthly users have released a statement and initiative to assist their Mixcloud Select creator community, every bit helps in time of crisis. https://www.facebook.com/mixcloud/videos/1146979189002358/
Spotify, Tidal, Pandora & More Streaming Services Donate to MusiCares' COVID-19 Fund. Their donations help bring the fund's total to more than $4 million. Amazon Music, Facebook, SiriusXM and Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music have all donated to MusiCares' relief fund for music workers whose livelihoods have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
MusiCares, the charitable arm of the Recording Academy, launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund last week. It kicked off with an initial $1 million donation each from MusiCares and the Recording Academy, totaling $2 million. Thanks to the donations announced today (March 24) from major streaming and tech companies, plus fundraising efforts from musicians like Alicia Keys and Better Than Ezra's Kevin Griffin, that total has more than doubled, according to a representative. The funds will go directly to music professionals who lost income due to coronavirus-related gig cancellations, from artists to technicians and production crew members.
Music professionals who have had at least five years of employment in the music industry, or six commercially released singles or music videos, can apply for funds on the MusiCares website, where they will be required to show proof of gig cancellations due to coronavirus precautionary measures. These measure and initiatives are really great however this is only in America and other countries have marginalized the music industry categorization of employees and there is very little support for music industry professionals, so they are left to fend for themselves or in micro-communities to find solutions to their urgent basic needs.
The UK Arts Council has announced a £160 million emergency fund for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund will directly help various strands of the arts in England. As well as £90m being made available for National Portfolio Organisations and £50m for organizations outside of the National Portfolio, £20 is available for individuals, namely artists, creative practitioners, and freelancers.
In a statement as part of the emergency funding package, the Arts Council said, "We will offer individuals and organizations working in the cultural sector new financial support during this crisis, totaling £160 million. We’ve re-purposed all our investment strands to be able to offer this support. These emergency funding streams will be open to applications very soon."
Go here for more information about the fund. The news comes after Germany's performance rights organization, GEMA, launched a fund for musicians worth up to €40M.
Other useful resources (USA) for music industry professionals that require help:
Emergency Funding For Artists American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund:
https://agmarelief.org/ Artist Relief Tree: https://artistrelieftree.com/ Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund:
https://equalsound.org/musicians-corona-relief-fund-application/ MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund:
https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/covid-19-relief-fund-faq Musicians Foundation’s COVID-10 Emergency Aid Grant Program: http://www.musiciansfoundation.org/apply/ SoundGirls Coronavirus Relief (for production techs who are now unemployed): https://soundgirls.org/soundgirls-coronavirus-relief/ Sweet Relief’s COVID-19 Fund: https://www.sweetrelief.org/news/covid-19-what-were-doing Funding For Musicians Infected With COVID-19 Who Require Intensive Medical Care: CERF+ https://cerfplus.org/get-relief/apply-for-help/