With much of the music industry reeling in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Recording Academy and its charitable foundation MusiCares announced on Tuesday that the two organizations have set up a $2 million COVID-19 Relief Fund for music industry members in financial need.
A spokesperson for the Recording Academy said music industry members could apply for assistance through the MusiCares website. According to the site, applicants must supply proof of event cancellations and bookings along with copies of their lease agreements or mortgage statements along with a completed MusiCares application. Applicants can request a maximum of $1,000.
COVID-19 has hit the live music industry particularly hard. Major festivals like South by Southwest and Coachella have been canceled or postponed, and artists have been announcing tour cancellations over health and travel concerns. Some are starting to turn to livestreaming as a means of connecting with fans or making up for some lost revenue from their axed concerts.
Beyond the performing artists, live music’s standstill has impacted thousands of behind-the-scenes music workers like tour managers, sound technicians and production managers, who rely on steady shows for their livelihoods. Many of these workers are part of the gig economy and aren’t receiving employment benefits or protection from unions.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Recording Academy chair and interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. called COVID-19’s impact on music unprecedented and implored the rest of the industry to join the academy’s effort to support industry members. “Event cancellations are at unprecedented levels and the situation therefore requires an unprecedented response. Many people in the industry are now in crisis, not knowing what the future holds or having to deal with dire commercial realities,” Mason Jr. said. “We are asking the entire industry to stand with us to support the musicians, artists and professionals who are the bedrock and the future of our music community.”
In the same statement, Steve Boom, Chair of MusiCares, similarly called for action from the music community. “The music industry is built on the work of musicians, artists, and music professionals. It is in times like these, that the industry needs to come together to support those who are struggling, particularly those who rely on touring incomes to survive. We know this fund will need to be significant,” Boom said. “We will not be able to do it alone, and that’s why we are asking the entire music community including labels, streaming services, and anyone who is able to join us in this important effort. We’re all in when the good times roll, and it’s important that we’re all in when times are tough, too.”