With concert tours almost completely shuttered through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since March, some of the biggest acts in music — including the Eagles, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses and Green Day — have received federal funding to support their crews for any current and future postponed tours, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department. The financial support is part of the government’s recently enacted $2 trillion CARES act intended for relief to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
The Eagles, Pearl Jam and Disturbed took out some of the larger loans among the listed touring musicians, being granted somewhere between $350,000 and $1 million, and many of the other artists received between $150,000 and $350,000. Rolling Stone has identified more than 50 musicians and groups across all genres among the 660,000 recipients who were granted a loan for more than $150,000, according to the data, joined by small businesses such as restaurants and bars along with construction and plumbing companies.
Tool, Nickelback, Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Slipknot, My Chemical Romance, Wilco, Weezer, Cheap Trick, Tim McGraw, Chainsmokers, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Disturbed, Gary Clark Jr., Papa Roach, Ryan Tedder and the Head and the Heart have all received similar loans of varying amounts. Rappers Wiz Khalifa, French Montana and Lil Jon also received loans alongside country and Americana stars Rascal Flatts, Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs, Kip Moore and Jason Isbell.
“Like most tours that were happening this year, My Chemical Romance’s world tour was cancelled,” the band tells Rolling Stone. “MCR 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. 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.”
On Monday, the U.K. announced a $2 billion bailout for arts-related businesses such as concert venues, but relief for live music has been mixed in the U.S. Since April, the National Independent Venue Association has pushed legislators to give more assistance to venues, which have been completely shut down over social distancing measures with little alternative means of revenue. NIVA, founded in April, started with about 800 participating venues and now has nearly 2,000 venues as members. In May NIVA said 90% of its venues couldn’t operate for more than six months without more government assistance. “You’ll see, in the public, a lot more closings that are happening,” NIVA vice president Justin Kantor previously told Rolling Stone. “Right now, there’s three or four venues a week that I’m hearing about, in the nation, that are announcing it publicly. But a lot of [others] are probably in just as bad shape — they just haven’t officially gotten the boot by their landlord.”
The loans are listed to the artists’ touring companies specifically, with the Eagles’ loan, for example, helping retain 50 jobs, the data says. Earlier in the pandemic, large corporations like burger chain Shake Shack returned small business loans after criticism. The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the world’s most valuable sports franchises, was also granted a loan but returned it.
The CARES Act passed in April after the coronavirus pandemic first came to head in the U.S. Along with the business loans, the legislation also introduced $1,200 stimulus checks to eligible recipients. Officials released the data following mounting pressure from media outlets, who previously sued the SBA for information on who was granted loans. Officials announced last month that the SBA would release the data.
Other music-related businesses have been granted loans too; Kanye West’s clothing company Yeezy was loaned between $2 million and $5 million, as was high-end guitar maker PRS. West’s clothing line, most affiliated with his highly sought after Yeezy shoes, recently closed a deal with the Gap to bring a more affordable Yeezy line to the retailer, and earlier this year Forbes reported that West was officially a billionaire.