Since its launch four months ago, the Crew Nation Global Relief Fund — the charity established by concert and ticketing giant Live Nation Entertainment and its House of Blues Music Forward Foundation to aid unemployed live music workers affected by the pandemic — has raised $15 million to support about 15,000 crew workers around the world, the organization tells Rolling Stone.
Many major artists have contributed to the fund too, with acts including Aerosmith, U2, BTS, John Mayer, Anderson .Paak, Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses and many others all donating. Live Nation initially donated $5 million when the fund launched and said it would match an additional $5 million from outside donations. The fund is for crew members who’ve had shows postponed or cancelled through June. Crew Nation says its next goal is to double its funding and raise another $15 million to continue supporting the workers.
“Concerts wouldn’t be possible without the many crew members working behind the scenes every step of the way, and we want to make sure that as independent workers, they get the support they need from both the industry and the government,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. “Live Nation is proud to be among the many artists, donors, partners and fans who are helping drive this mission forward and support those who make the magic of live possible.”
Along with taking donations, Crew Nation launched a merchandise line, with all proceeds going toward the fund. Potential contributors to the fund are asked to donate contributions of $80,000 or less through PayPal, while the largest donations are handled through email. Applicants looking for aid can apply through Live Nation’s website.
The live music industry has been devastated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Live Nation and fellow promoter giant AEG have had to issue furloughs or layoffs as tours stopped, as have most of the booking agencies that help coordinate artists’ show and festival dates. Independent venues have been hit particularly hard, with the established-during-Covid National Independent Venue Association saying that 90% of its thousands of venue members expect to permanently close if they don’t receive extra government funding. Senators John Cornyn and Amy Klobuchar introduced the “Save Our Stages Act” in late July to help these venues.
Many artists, including the Eagles, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses and Green Day, took PPP loans established from federal government’s CARES act for small businesses to help pay their crew members, Rolling Stone first reported in July. “My Chemical Romance received PPP money to ensure their crew is funded in these times of uncertainty until we are able to be out on the road again,” the band previously told Rolling Stone of their federal loan. They were one of over 50 identified who were granted a loan. “We are so grateful to these skilled, dedicated people – some of them are parents, others caretakers, still others who simply have rent to pay – and this money helps them take care of themselves and their families.”
Without shows, Live Nation’s revenue has plummeted, with the company reporting a 98% drop in revenue for its second fiscal quarter last week. That financial period, typically the busiest and most lucrative time of year for the live music industry with festival season and summer tours, was completely upended by the pandemic. The live music industry is relying on medical breakthroughs for a safe return to pre-pandemic style shows, and Rapino said on an investor call last week that Live Nation is planning for a strong return toward Summer 2021.