Music, Entertainment Companies Call for Congressional Aid in Letter - Rolling Stone
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Struggling Amid Coronavirus, Music Companies Ask Congress for Aid

“The unique nature of our industry means rules that require beneficiaries to have had a single, long-term employer will simply leave our entire workforce behind,” organizers write

Some of the biggest music companies in the industry have sent Congress a letter asking for financial aid.

MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Some of the largest companies and organizations across the music and entertainment industries have issued a letter to Congress asking for financial relief in light of the economic impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The letter, issued to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday, asks Congress for financial benefits similar to the recently passed HR 6201, which offers emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave, among others, that President Trump signed into law on Wednesday. 

According to the letter, because of the entertainment industry’s gig structure, many of its members who aren’t working for one long-term employer won’t receive benefits with existing legislation. 

“Our home is on the road, on the studio lot, or in the theater, in venues across the country that must close during the pandemic, in front of live audiences or with cast members who cannot gather,” organizers wrote. “For now, those performances — and our jobs — have vanished, along with the costly and personally devastating investments we can never recover. Without help, we know that many in our community will find themselves homeless, hungry, and unable to tend to their medical needs.

“The economic pain cuts even deeper, touching not only performers and musicians, but also managers, producers, promoters, stagehands, drivers, and countless others who are feeling the immediate repercussions of this new reality,” they added. “This unprecedented economic loss caused by canceled performances and production shutdowns is being played out in bars, nightclubs, theaters, stadiums, concert halls, studios, and festivals in every state, sidelining thousands of workers.”

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This is the latest call from the music industry for government intervention to help struggling industry members; the Music Artists Coalition similarly sent a letter to President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for aid on Thursday, and the Recording Academy sent one to Congress on Wednesday. 

Forty-three companies, including some of the most prominent in the music business, such as the Azoff Co., Live Nation, the Recording Academy, Creative Artists Agency, and William Morris Endeavor, signed the letter.

“This fund and expanded unemployment insurance access and benefits would ensure that hundreds of thousands of families across the country can continue to pay rent, put food on the table, and care for their children during this public-health emergency,” organizers wrote. “In addition, we encourage you to be as inclusive as possible when crafting emergency paid leave, tax credits, and other programs — the unique nature of our industry means rules that require beneficiaries to have had a single, long-term employer will simply leave our entire workforce behind.”

Read the full letter and see the entire list of signees below.

March 20, 2020

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

As united representatives of the large and diverse American entertainment community, we offer our sincere gratitude for your immense efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide much needed aid.

We understand the sacrifices our country is making and appreciate our shared responsibility. We will make the necessary adjustments to our lives but, unfortunately, there is no option for many in the entertainment community to work from home. Our home is on the road, on the studio lot or in the theater, in venues across the country that must close during the pandemic, in front of live audiences or with cast members who cannot gather. For now, those performances — and our jobs — have vanished, along with the costly and personally devastating investments we can never recover. Without help, we know that many in our community will find themselves homeless, hungry, and unable to tend to their medical needs.

The economic pain cuts even deeper, touching not only performers and musicians, but also managers, producers, promoters, stagehands, drivers, and countless others who are feeling the immediate repercussions of this new reality. This unprecedented economic loss caused by canceled performances and production shutdowns is being played out in bars, nightclubs, theaters, stadiums, concert halls, studios, and festivals in every state, sidelining thousands of workers.

The entertainment community will do what it can to support its members, but this moment calls for the unmatched capabilities of Congress. As you navigate the difficult path to providing necessary aid to distinct sectors of our economy, we ask that you specifically address the unique nature of our work. Payroll tax holidays, paid leave, and other typical assistance may never reach many in the entertainment community; in fact, direct financial aid remains one hopeful — and perhaps best — solution to replacing lost income and offering some semblance of economic sustainability.

We propose a similar benefit to the Emergency Paid Leave in Division C of HR 6201, along with emergency unemployment insurance access, available to those who cannot work due to a canceled performance or a production shutdown. This fund and expanded unemployment insurance access and benefits would ensure that hundreds of thousands of families across the country can continue to pay rent, put food on the table, and care for their children during this public health emergency. In addition, we encourage you to be as inclusive as possible when crafting emergency paid leave, tax credits, and other programs — the unique nature of our industry means rules that require beneficiaries to have had a single, long-term employer will simply leave our entire workforce behind.

We all look forward to the end of this crisis. Certainly, entertainment will help us get through it. But we must take care of the many people in the American entertainment community who will help us heal, rebuild, and bring us back together, in public and in spirit.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Actors’ Equity
Alliance for Recorded Music (ARM)
American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
Americana Music Association
Artist Rights Alliance (ARA)
ASCAP
The Azoff Company
The Broadway League
California IATSE Council
Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA)
Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA)
Country Music Association (CMA)
Gospel Music Association (GMA)
CreativeFuture
Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE)
Digital Media Association (DiMA)
Directors Guild of America (DGA)
Entertainment Union Coalition
Full Stop Management
Global Music Rights (GMR)
Gospel Music Association
Independent Music Professionals United (IMPU)
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)
Live Nation
Music Artists Coalition (MAC)
Music Business Association (MusicBiz)
Music Managers Forum – US
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)
National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)
Paradigm Talent Agency
Recording Academy
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
SESAC
Songwriters of North America (SONA) SoundExchange
Southern Gospel Music Guild
United Talent Agency (UTA)
William Morris Endeavor (WME) Writers’ Guild of America, East

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