Monday, April 20, 2020

More C-19 initiatives from around the world


> US PROs team up to create a fund for songwriters
US three largest performing rights organisations have joined forces to create a special fund as part of the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to support music creators who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds collected from the PROs will be focused specifically on helping their respective songwriters, composers and lyricists, while the COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to help all music industry workers in need.
  Participating in the scheme are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and SESAC. Their members are encouraged to apply for a grant through the COVID-19 Relief Fund via
  Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said the COVID-19 Relief Fund, established in March, with initial seed donations of $1 million each by MusiCares and the Recording Academy, has raised an additional 8 millions from numerous partners, but said more needs to be done. 
  "With the help of these latest contributions and the generous donations over the past few weeks, we've been able to garner more than $10 million to provide aid for music people across all genres, crafts and disciplines affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That said, the need is still so great and these times remain critical for music people."
  Mike O’Neill, President & CEO of BMI, said the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund was "an important resource for songwriters and composers, who, like so many, have been adversely impacted by the pandemic." ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said the fund "will provide our music writers with the emergency relief grants they need at this difficult time."
    "It's essential that we do all we can to make sure that our creators have the resources they need to navigate this crisis and continue practicing their craft," said JohnJosephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC.

> A2IM and RoadNation partner for livestream series
US indie labels' organisation A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) and RoadNation, the platform that enables artists and fans to build tours together, have partnered to launch a new program for independent artists to earn money from livestream performances. The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), Women In Music (WIM), The Music Business Association and the Music Managers Forum-US (MMF-US) are promotional partners of the series.
  The programme kicked off with a livestream concert April 17 featured on the Twitch homepage, with performances by AZRARayvon OwenRuth Anne CunninghamStefan Poole and Speelburg.
  The “Livestream Road-Less Series,” is designed to provide all indie artists the opportunity to perform and monetise livestreams through a branded channel and experience on streaming platforms such as Twitch. Artists taking part in the series will get a free customised page to sell unique experiences and merch.
  "The 'Road-Less Livestream Series' enables indie artists to nourish their connection with fans and monetise online performances in order to pay their bills and keep creating," said A2IM President and CEO Richard Burgess.
  “Like so many of us in the music community, we are heartbroken to see the toll that the coronavirus exacts on artists and all who help bring music to life,” said Steve Marks, Founder and CEO of RoadNation. “We want to do our part to create powerful moments where artists can do what they do best -- bring music to life -- and fans can again feel that special connection to their favorite artists and support their work.”

> Independent venue set up lobby group NIVA
Independent venues in the US have joined forces to create the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) tasked with "securing financial support to preserve the national ecosystem of independent venues and promoters."
  NIVA expects to obtain from Congress and the White House a federal aid package to them weather the coronavirus crisis. To help them with the task, NIVA has enlisted Washington, DC lobbying firm Akin Gump, thanks to financing provided by See Tickets and Lyte.
  “Akin Gump has been tapped to represent us, and that telegraphs to Capitol Hill that our needs are serious," said Gary Witt, CEO of Pabst Theater Group and founding member of NIVA. "Most of us have gone from our best year ever to a dead stop in revenues, but our expenses and overhead are still real, and many will not make it without help. Our employees, the artists, and the fans need us to act. But we are also an important income generator for those around us, bringing revenue to area restaurants, bars, hotels, and retail shops. Our contributions to the tax base far exceed our ticket sales.”
  The organisation counts already some 450 members in 43 states, including First Avenue in Minneapolis, 9:30 Club in Washington DC, Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, Red River Cultural District in Austin and Exit/In in Nashville.
  NIVA's board includes Dayna Frank, owner of First Avenue Productions; Stephen Chilton, Owner/Talent Buyer at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix; Hal Real, Founder/President of World Cafe Live; Justin Kantor, Managing member/Co-Founder of (le) poisson rouge in New York, Stephen D. Sternschein, Managing Partner of Heard Presents in Austin, and Rev. Moose, managing partner of Marauder, which runs Independent Venue Week in the US.
  “Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open,” said First Avenue's Frank. “It’s just brutal right now, and the future is predictable to no one. We can’t envision a world without these music venues, so we’ve created NIVA to fight for their ability to survive this shutdown, which we hear could go into 2021. Our first order of business is to push to secure federal funding to preserve the ecosystem of live music venues and touring artists.”

Netflix has added another $50 million to its coronavirus emergency relief fund, bringing the total for film and TV production crews to $150 million. The fund was set up in March by the video streaming service with an initial allocation of $100m.·Reuters reported that some of the money has being allocated through nonprofit groups that are helping the industry through the coronavirus crisis. The company so far has provided assistance in the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, India, France, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and the Netherlands.


> European indie labels support record stores
Independent music companies across Europe are backing the #LoveRecordStoresinitiative, the online campaign where artists, music fans and many others are posting messages of support for their local record shops. Brussels-based indie labels' organisation IMPALA said it would promote its roll-out across Europe, "together with other campaigns to support local record stores and other initiatives to promote music during the coronavirus crisis."
  In addition, IMPALA is also urging EU governments "to include record stores in the first wave of shops that are allowed to re-open, subject of course to the necessary restrictions on the number of customers."
  "Record stores are a vital part of the music ecosytem," said Francesca Trainini, Chair of IMPALA, Italian association PMI and IMPALA's TaskForce. "One of the Task Force’s priorities is to promote buying online from these stores now and make sure they are in the first wave of shops allowed to re-open when lockdowns are lifted." 


> Québec government supports local music
The government of Quebec has ratified an agreement with collective management organisations SOCANSOPROQ and Ré: Sonne for the use of Quebec music during the broadcast of daily press conferences on Facebook. The government said it wanted to use Quebec songs and wanted to do it fairly for rights holders.
  "We have issued a license from our side and the other organisations as well," said SOCAN. The society said it "welcomed the initiative of the office of the Prime Minister François Legault, which has reached an agreement with rights management organisations for a fair compensation for rights holders for the public use of Québec music."


> Summer festivals forced to cancel 
In France, Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, has set a timetable for the country's de-confinement. "Public places, restaurants, cafes and hotels, cinemas, theaters, concert halls and museums, will remain closed at this stage," said Macron in a TV address. "Major festivals and events with a large audience will not be able to take place at least until mid-July. The situation will be collectively assessed from mid-May, each week, to adjust things and give you visibility."
  As a result, a large number of summer festivals have been cancelled, including Les Vieilles Charrues, France's largest outdoors festival, set in Brittany, Solidays in Paris, Francofolies in La Rochelle, ArtRock in Saint Brieux, HellfestLes Eurockéennes in Belfort, Lollapalooza Paris, among others.
  But festivals have asked for clarification of the government's policies since the Minister of Culture Frank Riester has let it slipped in a radio interview that "small" events might be authorised to take place after July 11. “Frank Riester's declaration plunges the whole of entertainment sector in the greatest confusion," wrote live music trade body PRODISS, adding that festivals, concert producers, artists and spectators are scrambling to understand the situation. PRODISS asked: "What are the definitions given to large festivals and small festivals? Does this mean that the concerts could also be held?"
  Riester said a specific unit within the Ministry of Culture will be providing festival support and will "centralise all specific requests on safety standards, distance and barrier gestures and find the best possible solutions for festivals on a case-by-case basis."
  The live music sector in France represents "nearly €5 billion in turnover and 135,000 jobs supporting the economic fabric of many territories," said PRODISS.

> Adami allocates another €11.3 million to relief funds
French neighbouring rights society Adami has announced an additional €11.3 million to provide the performers with support. As part of the €11.3m, €8.5m will be allocated to an exceptional payment paid directly to artists; and €1.8m to financial aid for artistic projects canceled or postponed and previously supported by Adami.
  Some €330,000 will go into additional funding for Adami's “Right to the Heart” scheme in support of artists who face the most urgent social situations; €500,000 has been allocated to the emergency fund set up by the National Music Center (endowed with €11.5 million euros in total); and €200,000 will go to the performing arts emergency fund (excluding music) managed by the Association for the Support of the Private Theater.
  Adami said that in addition, it had secured payment of artists' rights in March amounting to €4.7m. The next payment is scheduled for June 2020.
  "We are working both to respond to emergencies and to prepare for the future of collective management of our rights. Many things will have to be discussed when the time comes to relaunch, including the place we give to artist as this crisis has shown the extreme fragility of our profession as well as its importance," said Adami President Jean Jacques Milteau.

> SCPP earmarks €9 million for record labels
French neighbouring rights society SCPP has allocated €9 million to a plan to support phonographic production. The plan, adopted by SCPP's Board of Directors on April 8, includes two components: a financial aid package of €5.22m, intended exclusively for independent labels members of SCPP, and additional aid to support creation of € 3.78m.
  SCPP, which has the three major companies as its members as well indie labels, said that "75% of the total amount of this support plan should thus benefit the 3,000 independent producers members of SCPP."
  SCPP said the €5.2m financial aid was initially intended to cover up to 40% of the financial losses of any nature suffered by its independent members during the months of March and April 2020, and who could not be the subject of aid within the support measures framework put in place by the authorities. "SCPP’s financial aid is not intended to replace the mechanisms put in place by the authorities, but to complement them," said the society.
  The second part of the support plan will kick in in May when the country will end the confinement. The €3.78m are earmarked "to encourage a restart of activity after confinement." These additional funds will take the form of an increase in the share of subsidies that the SCPP will chip in to help with the production of records and music videos.
  SCPP, alongside the other neighbouring rights society for record labels SPPF, did not participate in the funding round organised under the aegis of the Centre National de la Musique (CNM), which was mostly allocated to support live music, in order to focus on their own support schemes. SCPP said it "hoped that its support plan, which shows the solidarity between the different members of the SCPP, whatever their size, will allow all of its members to overcome the difficulties created by the health crisis and will encourage the restart of their activity."

> A tax credit for advertising expenditures
A member of the French Parliament, Aurore Bergé, the rapporteur for the audiovisual communication bill, has proposed to introduce a tax credit on advertising expenses. The measure would allow companies and brands to get a tax break for their advertising expenditures on media. Bergé told News Tank that both print and electronic media have continued to function despite the lockdown linked to the coronavirus crisis, but their advertising revenues have almost completely collapsed, putting a lot of them at risk. "If a company knows that it can allocate some of its budget to its communication and that it can deduct it from taxes, it will anticipate it. Companies need to know now that they can do it. The collapse of advertising must not continue. Triggering the tax credit now would create a virtuous circle," said Bergé. To be adopted, the measure should be included in the new audiovisual bill and voted by the Parliament.


> Ban of major events confirmed
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has introduced a plan to "gradually" reopen schools, as well as those of stores with a sales area of ​​800 Sq meters maximum. But the ban on major events has been confirmed, affecting some of the most important German festivals, such as Rock am RingRock im Park (Nuremberg), Hurricane (Scheessel), Southside (Neuhausen ob Eck), MeltSplash (Gräfenhainichen), Wacken Open Air (Wacken) and Parookaville (Weeze).
  The summer season of festivals has also been frozen in countries such as Belgium, Austria and Denmark.


> Music industry donates £1.5m to Help Musicians
The British recorded music community awarded £1.5m to several initiatives providing support to artists. Record labels Sony Music Entertainment UKWarner Music UK and Universal Music UK, as well as independent record labels Cherry Red and Demon Music GroupThe BRIT AwardsAmazon Music and music licensing company PPL provided the funds mostly to Help Musicians, enabling the organisation to reach a further 2,500 musicians in need of immediate financial help.
  An additional £250,000 has also been set aside to support musicians through other channels, including other musicians’ wellbeing charities and support to the grassroots live sector.
  "All sectors of the music industry have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but grassroots artists who rely on festivals, touring and recording sessions for the bulk of their income are particularly hard hit," said Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards. "The UK’s record labels, digital services such as Amazon Music and music organisations including PPL have already done a great deal individually to support the people they work with, but we also recognise the need for an additional collective effort to support those who face the most immediate threat to their livelihoods, to add to the welcome measures announced by the Government."

> PPL allocates £700,000 to music industry funds
British neighbouring rights society PPL has pledged £700,000 to three of the music industry’s hardship funds set up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:
- the Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Funds (£500,000), which in its first phase provides individual grants of £500, offers support to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures being faced by professional musicians (the scheme had initially made available £5m for 10,000 applicants, but has received over 17,000 applications);
-  the Musicians’ Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund (£100,000),which is  offering grants of £200 to members of the Union experiencing pressing and genuine hardship from loss of work due to the pandemic;
- and the AIM COVID-19 Crisis Fund (£100,000), launched in early April, aimed at contractors and freelance workers in the independent music industry whose source of income has been severed without warning due to lost work in April and May.
  “At PPL, we recognise the role of these Hardship Funds in providing a lifeline to those in the music industry who have been most impacted by the current crisis and we are delighted to be able to contribute to the funds established by Help Musicians, The Musicians’ Union and AIM to ensure financial support reaches those in need," commented PPL Chief Executive Officer Peter Leathem. "This funding is vital for those who have lost their regular means of income and find it challenging to sustain their livelihood.”


> SGAE allocates €15 million to relief programmes
The Board of Directors of Spanish society SGAE has allocated an additional €7 million to the €8m that had already been earmarked for economic and social aid for members who need it. SGAE said the €15m were "an initial amount that the entity expects to increase through aid from the different public administrations."
  One of SGAE's relief programme is SGAE-Corona, which consists of aid of up to €3,000 euros to creators who cannot take advantage of other SGAE measures to compensate for losses due to the cessation of activities related to Covid-19. In addition, SGAE has made available to older members with fewer resources a home delivery service and an effective solidarity program between authors.
  Authors can also apply for loans and advances, in line with conditions established in SGAE's regulations.


> SAMRO seeks to provide relief to its members
Mark Rosin, CEO of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), has welcomed the decision from the country's five biggest banks to announce "some form of relief to their customers.”
  SAMRO, alongside other organisations, has called on financial institutions and various stakeholders "to exercise some leniency towards musicians in relation to their financial obligations."
  “We are very pleased to note that the response by various stakeholders to that call has been extremely positive," said Rosin. SAMRO itself has been speeding up distribution of royalties. Some 10,000 of its members benefited from a recent TV distribution of R63 million ($3.35m), completed on 30 March.
  A month before, SAMRO paid out R141m ($7.5m) in royalties from the Radio category, making it the highest radio distribution in the past five years. "The ongoing achievement of higher royalty collection and distributions is the result of the efficiency measures we recently put in place," said Rosin.
  Rosin said SAMRO would help members, wherever possible, to access the fund made available by the Department of Arts and Culture to compensate performers where shows have been cancelled. “We are working on a host of other member benefits that we offer, over and above our primary role as copyright administrators," said Rosin. "For instance, we are the only CMO that has a funeral policy fund for our members and we have just increased the funeral benefit from R20 000 per member to R25 000.00."
  Rosin said he will try to convince broadcasters to increase their usage of local music and will seek Government’s support in this regard. "This will help when we pay out future royalty distributions and, in some way, mitigate the potential loss of income for members that rely on live shows," he said.

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