Before you run down this list of helpful resources, I just wanted to extend congrats to Team Gigmor for officially launching their Twitch Channel, Gigmor Live, this weekend!
It was great to be introduced to new talent in such a personal, informal atmosphere. Of course, chances are there will be a lot more of this dynamic especially with the recent announcement of the social distancing protocols extended through (at least) April 30.
How long it will last, the impact it will have on live music again in venues, festivals, concerts, tours, etc. won’t be known until well after the “all clear” is sounded. To help bridge the gap of lost income, this article lists grants, funds, organizations, and resources you may turn to for financial assistance.
Most, if not all, have a short application process, so it may be a good idea to block out a chunk of time to research and apply to appropriate ones. Resources listed below with an asterisk (*) are COVID-19 specific.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS
A2IM is surveying indie music companies about how the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting their businesses. The results will inform the organization’s discussions with the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, as well as its investigations of federal assistance programs.
The AFM is calling on Congress to provide immediate economic relief on behalf of musicians and other working people in the midst of the crisis, including expanded unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs. The organization has a resource page providing more information.
- Additionally, disabled AFM members can apply for financial aid through its longstanding Petrillo Memorial Fund.
Any AGMA member in good standing is invited to apply for financial assistance under the AGMA Relief Fund, which has temporarily doubled the amount of assistance available to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Anyone pursuing the arts as a career (any discipline, any level of experience) can request financial support from the Artist Relief Project, which will provide applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis with a one-time emergency stipend of $200 and free resources and support to pursue alternative economic opportunities.
Anyone who is an artist can request funds from the Artist Relief Tree, which plans to fulfill every request with a flat $250 on a first-come-first-serve basis. The fund is currently not accepting new requests until it can secure more funding, but if you would like to be informed if and when the opportunity becomes available again, click here.
Performance-rights organization ASCAP has launched a site to help its songwriter, composer and music publisher members stay connected and financially stable during this uncertain time. It includes information on how to receive ASCAP royalties through direct deposit, an online works registration application, access to free mental health services for ASCAP members and more.
Music education hub Audio Assemble has put together a list of online remote opportunities for U.S.-based musicians during the COVID-19 outbreak, including both short-term and long-term job opportunities. It is also raising money for its first live streaming music festival, PLUGGED IN, set for April 8-10. Musicians can apply for paid opportunities to perform during the livestream here.
Backline was established to connect music industry professionals and their families with mental health and wellness providers. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has established a virtual support group that plans to meet regularly via the Zoom app.
The HART Fund helps underinsured or uninsured blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a range of health concerns.
Professionals in the business of bluegrass who are in a time of emergency need can apply for assistance from this fund.
Grants and/or brokered assistance for artists that have experienced a recent, career threatening emergency, such as an illness, accident, fire or natural disaster.
A Facebook group meant as an “open forum for constructive debate about the effects of COVID-19 on music production industry professionals,” according to administrators. Its nearly 4,000 members (as of March 18) are sharing news updates, suggested actions, job opportunities and other resources.
This more than $70,000 fund prioritizes LGBTQI+, non-binary, gender fluid and gender non-conforming people of color whose livelihoods have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The first round of funding closed on March 17, but organizers say they plan to continue to raise funds through mid-April.
Equal Sound, an organization that strives to break down traditional genre boundaries through events and advocacy, is inviting musicians who have lost income due to the pandemic to apply for funds. Applicants must provide proof they had a confirmed concert cancelled over the coronavirus to receive the money.
In response to the pandemic, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses around the world, including music and live events businesses. More details to come (you can sign up for updates here).
- Facebook also has a new Business Resource Hub to help small businesses prepare for and manage disruptions like COVID-19.
16. Financial and General Assistance In The US:
Federal-State-Local Benefits Finder:
211 offers information about referrals to social services for everyday needs and in times of crisis: Visit http://211.org/services/covid19 or dial 2-1-1.
Individuals working in the gospel music field can submit a request for financial assistance to the Gospel Music Trust Fund, which grants funding in the event “of an emergency or major catastrophe, terminal or severe illness,” according to their website.
Though no emergency special enrollment period has officially been instituted by the federal health insurance exchange due to the coronavirus outbreak, uninsured people are being invited to inquire about their eligibility for a special enrollment in light of the virus.
Non-profit organization Independent Venue Week has compiled a list of indie music venues that have launched GoFundMe and other fundraising campaigns to stay afloat during the nation-wide closures.
Current or former bluegrass music professionals can apply here for financial grants and loans, which are generally between $500 and $5,000. The association has also created a coronavirus-specific resource page.
This fund offers financial support, housing assistance and pro bono medical care for musicians who have made a living playing blues, jazz and roots music.
The “peer-to-peer wealth distribution” service is a tool for salaried workers to donate funds across a database of freelancers, service industry and gig economy workers who are impacted by coronavirus health and safety restrictions.
23. Missed Tour*
Artists and bands who have been displaced from touring due to the pandemic can list their merchandise on this site to help offset lost revenue — with zero charges or fees. Apply to be added to the site here.
The Recording Academy and its charitable foundation MusiCares have committed $2 million in total to a COVID-19 Relief Fund, established to assist those in the music community who have been affected by the pandemic. People can donate and apply for assistance by navigating to the fund’s official web page.
The Nashville-based Music Health Alliance provides healthcare support services to uninsured members of the music industry.
The New York-based nonprofit established a new emergency grant program in response to the pandemic, offering all eligible applicants up to $200 each. After receiving an “immense volume of applications,” the foundation placed a temporary hold on all applications on March 13. Check this page for updates.
The foundation, which provides ongoing support to American artists 55 and older who live in chronic poverty, also gives out emergency grants to artists in crisis. It is now soliciting donations to ensure the stability of vulnerable elderly musicians during the pandemic.
This artist-led initiative is granting emergency funding to freelance musicians “working in new creative, experimental or improvised music” who have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The fund has already raised more than $130,000 and beginning on March 31, eligible artists may apply for grants of up to $500.
Online music course hub Soundfly has put together a free Guide to Learning Things Effectively Online for musicians in quarantine who want to continue learning or practicing skills virtually
This is an awesome relief fund created specifically for production techs who are now unemployed.
33. Sound Royalties*
In light of the crisis, music finance firm Sound Royalties is allocating $20 million to offer a no-cost royalty advance funding option through April 16. Songwriters, performing artists, producers and other creators with royalty income can apply for cash advances on a one-year repayment schedule, cost-free.
Sweet Relief has established a donor-directed fund to be used specifically for musicians and music industry workers affected by the coronavirus. Funds will go towards medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses for those who get sick or lose work due to the pandemic.
Independent musicians are invited to use this more than 21,000-member Facebook support group to connect with music fans. “Use this joint to post links to your merch store, online shows, Patreon, or online music lessons,” organizers write. “If you’ve had a gig cancelled, post the city and your Venmo/PayPal — many of us would love to pass along our ticket refunds to you.”
How cool is that? The silver lining in this crisis is seeing communities come together in so many ways. And this is just a partial of what’s available, so I encourage you to see which resource(s) may fit your needs.
For even more options on a local level, Google “COVID-19 financial assistance in (your city) or (your state)” to see what may be available.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home if at all possible.
Leonard Patterson is an avid fan of all things New Edition, an indie-focused booking agent, a frequent hi-fiver (currently practicing safe “air fives”), and a certified digital marketer. Since stepping off stage as a band manager/front man of a 6-figure party band, he launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands reach more fans and book more gigs. When he’s not working, he’s most likely at a live music event, analyzing Marvel movies, or soaking up vitamin D at the beach with his wife and son.
We got 40 musicians together the only way we could — in song! Check out our virtual cover of “Lean On Me” #LeanOnMusic.