Live music industry professionals lay in limbo as Congress leaves for recess without passing COVID-19 relief bill
Live music professionals that make a living through live music have been hit especially hard by COVID-19’s social distancing guidelines as the rules have rendered all large social events prohibited until further notice. Yet some light appeared at the end of the tunnel as the Restart Act and Save Our Stages Act have been introduced and set the groundwork for financial aid through grants and loans for businesses within the music industry.
However, with the recent recess from Congress (not to be expected to return until September 14) the fate of Americans and music professionals alike lay in limbo. Hank Sacks, a booking agent at Partisan Arts and co-founder of NITO, emphasizes just how dire the situation is.
“Concert venues have revitalized neighborhoods in American cities, and if they close and there’s a condominium building that’s put up in their place, the venues aren’t coming back,” he says. “Cultural institutions that are some of the most important places to all of us — where memories are made, where we make friends, where we see our bands, gather together — they’re gonna be gone. And for the bands that I work with, this is where [they] start. Bands don’t start out playing in arenas. They start out at the 200-capacity club on the corner, and then they grow into the thousand-capacity room, the theater, and then, hopefully, to arenas. When that ecosystem is gone, it’s going to do permanent damage to the music business that we’re not going to be able to get it back.”
COVID-19 has made some impactful effects within our music community as a projected loss of $5.2 billion by late August of 2020 – with a total of up to $9 Billion if touring remains cancelled for the remaining year.
These losses can lead to devastating impacts on our music ecosystem as Rolling Stone writes:
“Without any kind of aid, many independent venues and talent businesses are in danger of shutting down completely, which would devastate a crucial sector of the live-music ecosystem and open up the door to monopolization.”
Monopolization is never good for the audience or consumer, as Will Meyer of CASH MUSIC has an enlightening article on monopolies and their impact on our ecosystem
“The consolidation in the music industry today is a threat to not only musicians and their ability to make a living, but to the principles of political and economic equality.”
The implications behind this are huge, as only the largest of companies that have the strongest financial positions to survive in market conditions like these, we’re hoping relief comes before it becomes too late.