SUPPORT FOR MUSICIANS
A variety of measures have been announced by the UK Government and various music organisations and businesses, which may be of assistance to those in the music industry in these uncertain times. We have compiled a list of the various initiatives that have come to our attention.
a) UK Government self-employed support scheme
The government is providing a support package to help freelancers who have lost earnings as a result of the pandemic. As part of the package, freelance musicians will be able to apply for grants worth up to £2,500 per month for at least three months. This provision is subject to further review and may be extended to longer than three months.
In order to claim the grant, a self-employed person must have earned less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or as an average between 2016 and 2019 and the majority of his/her income must come from self-employment. The first payment is expected to be no earlier than the start of June. More information can be found on the government website here.
b) PRS Emergency Relief Fund
PRS has introduced the PRS Emergency Relief Fund to provide help to those suffering from financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Eligible PRS members may apply for a grant of up to £1,000 here.
c) PRS Members Fund
PRS also provides general financial and psychological support via the PRS Members’ Fund. Applicants must have held membership for seven years or more, or earned at least £50 in royalties with PRS (more information here).
d) Help Musicians Financial Hardship Fund
Help Musicians has raised an emergency fund to help affected musicians with a one-off payment of £500 by applying through an online form here.
e) Musicians Union Hardship Fund
The MU has made available a £1,000,000 fund for members who have lost work as a result of the virus and are in dire need of financial support. Click here for more details.
f) Royal Variety Charity Grant
The Royal Variety Charity is providing grants to professionals working in the entertainment industry who are in need of support. The application form can be found here.
a) USA (for American artists)
The US has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This creates a rescue fund for Americans who are self-employed, contract independently or own small businesses, including music industry professionals. It includes a $1,200 payment that will be sent to most adults making $75,000 or less annually, according to past tax returns, as well as a fund aimed at providing loans to small businesses. Details of the application process are not yet available.
The Recording Academy in the US are making grants available to American musicians via Musicares. Affected musicians can apply for assistance with their living costs and for loss of earnings due to cancelled gigs here.
We’ve seen a number of international PROs launching financial support funds for their members, such as SACEM in France and GEMA in Germany. Links to both of these initiatives are below:
SACEM - apply in the membership area
c) Other Funds and Resources
Live Nation Crew Nation Fund – this is designed to support backstage crew members. More information on how to apply should be available soon. In the meantime the website can be accessed here.
Soundcloud have also launched a fund to help affected musicians and have put together a helpful list of further resources and information on their blog here.
The above is a non-exhaustive list of funds available which focusses on individual assistance and relief.
Success and failure is never binary particularly in these extraordinary times. Moreover, many of the businesses facing financial difficulties at the present moment were, until very recently, solvent and thriving businesses. There is no reason, therefore, with careful planning and prompt decision making, that those businesses cannot survive and return to profit, even if it is in a different shape or form.Please note that this briefing note is not and is not intended to be professional legal advice. It merely sets out certain key points to bear in mind as you navigate these difficult and uncharted waters. Needless to say, the position in each case will turn on the facts and circumstances of the business concerned, and you should make sure that you seek specific advice in each case from your usual contact at Clintons.