Lizzo, Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani and a slew of other artists and executives have signed a letter from the Music Artists Coalition asking President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to provide financial relief to the music community and ease the “existential threat” posed by the coronavirus pandemic. (Per Variety, a similar letter was also sent to congressional leaders.)
The letter specifically seeks support for the “hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the live music business.” The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the live music industry, with a ton of major tours and festivals — including Coachella, Bonnaroo and South by Southwest — either canceled or postponed. While cutting down on mass public gatherings is crucial to stemming the spread of COVID-19, it’s also wiped out a source of income for many people who work on tours and festivals behind the scenes.
Other artists who signed the letter include John Mayer, Diplo, Maren Morris, Dave Matthews, Lionel Richie, Little Big Town, Mark Ronson, Meghan Trainor, Sheryl Crow, Charli XCX, the Doobie Brothers, Tim McGraw, Troye Sivan, Joe Walsh, Don Henley, Def Leppard and Idina Menzel.
“[T]he concert business is as drastically and negatively impacted as the airlines and the hospitality industries, despite a lack of media attention,” the letter states. “The men and women who work tirelessly to bring live music to fans are unable to work from home and have no alternative means of supporting themselves and their families… Concerts are not just about the headliner: the foundation of live music are the touring musicians, truck and bus drivers, stagehands, production teams, crews who handle lighting, sound, equipment, security, and so many others do not have any option for work as there are no live events for the foreseeable future.”
The letter concludes: “The music industry is facing an existential threat that is unprecedented — the touring business as we know it has disappeared without warning and without a safety net for hundreds of thousands of people. MAC believes the impacted people in the music industry are one of the groups most in need of government assistance.”
On Wednesday, the Recording Academy issued a similar letter to Congress, with a representative for the organization saying they’re interested in petitioning for “tax benefits, interest-free loans and direct support for small businesses and nonprofits.” President Donald Trump has so far signed one of what’s expected to be at least a handful of relief packages, some of which could provide direct financial payments to taxpayers.
Dear President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin,
The Music Artists Coalition (MAC) appreciates the bipartisan efforts underway to address the severe economic impact on millions of Americans because of COVID-19. As economic relief efforts are finalized, MAC believes it is essential that support is reserved for the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the live music business.
In compliance with CDC guidelines, all concerts and events have been canceled indefinitely. As a result, the concert business is as drastically and negatively impacted as the airlines and the hospitality industries, despite a lack of media attention. The men and women who work tirelessly to bring live music to fans are unable to work from home and have no alternative means of supporting themselves and their families.
The cancellation of concerts, tours, and festivals means that the musicians and crews who make every concert a special experience for music fans are now out of a job and have no other way to pay rent or put food on the table. Concerts are not just about the headliner: the foundation of live music are the touring musicians, truck and bus drivers, stagehands, production teams, crews who handle lighting, sound, equipment, security, and so many others do not have any option for work as there are no live events for the foreseeable future.
The cancellation of concerts, festivals, and tours has brought an abrupt end to income for hundreds of thousands of people. For these dedicated individuals, it is not an unwillingness, but an inability, to work, when all concerts, tours, and recording sessions are canceled or indefinitely postponed. While some concerts will be rescheduled, it is inevitable that many will be canceled and unable to find a venue in which to perform when this crisis has passed.
The music industry is facing an existential threat that is unprecedented – the touring business as we know it has disappeared without warning and without a safety net for hundreds of thousands of people. MAC believes the impacted people in the music industry are one of the groups most in need of government assistance.
Thank you for leading the fight to ensure Americans are able to pay their bills and survive these trying times.
Amy Lee (Evanescence)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Brandon Robert Young
Cold War Kids
J Ross Parrelli
Jerrod Bettis (p/k/a “Skins”)
Jonny Pierce (p/k/a “The Drums”)
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
Leslie Odom Jr
Little Big Town
Morgan Kibby/White Sea
Rory Andrew (p/k/a “Wynne”)
Stone Temple Pilots
The Doobie Brothers
The White Buffalo
Walk Off The Earth