Monday, April 13, 2020

Update on C-19 initiatives in Europe and elsewhere


> EU Ministers of Culture agree of a series of measures
During a virtual meeting on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the cultural and creative sector attended by European Commissioners Thierry Breton (Internal Market) Mariya Gabriel (Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth) and Vice-President Věra Jourová (Values and Transparency), Ministers of Culture of European Union member states, have decided on the following rules:
  1/ Maximum flexibility within the existing rules of the ongoing and planned actions: extending deadlines, to give people more time to finalise their applications;
  2/ Clear instructions to Creative Europe Desks on how to invoke the force-majeure close;
  3/ Special measures for cinemas via €5 million in the form of vouchers for cinemas most severely affected by the lockdown;
  4/ Redirecting the work of the support scheme of the cross-border dimension of the performing arts works towards digital culture and virtual mobility. The call of €2m will be published in May. This fund should reach CCS as soon as possible;
  5/ Speeding up the selection procedure for the last call of the translation scheme of books;
  6/ Speeding up the evaluation of 2020 cooperation projects;
  7/ Exploring how to adapt CCS Guarantee Facility to mitigate the adverse effects of the crisis.

> CCS organisation call for urgent measures
More than 200 associations from the Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS), representing over one million individual members, have signed an Open Letter/petition to the EU Commission and the EU Member States asking for urgent measures to support the creative sector.
  In the short run, the signatories ask for "immediate and unbureaucratic" initiatives such as:
  - Offer financial aid to the Cultural and Creative Sectors and the whole cultural eco-system, including through the Corona Response Investment Initiative, proportionally to the size of the CCS in our economy.
  - Ensure access to unemployment and other social benefits for all cultural professionals, with particular attention to freelancers, self-employed and others in atypical forms of work, including creators coming from cultural minorities, and grant them compensation for the discontinuation of income.
  - Provide emergency aid to cultural professionals, especially the independent ones, as well as to small and medium-sized cultural companies, for example in the form of tax relief, loans, (micro-)credits, compensation for losses and non-recoverable costs.
  - Implement fiscal measures to relieve the pressure on the CCS and stimulate a recovery in the consumption of cultural services.
  They are also asking for a series of structural measures, once the Covid-19 crisis is over, including:
  - Set up an adequately funded stimulus package for cultural creators all over Europe in order to tackle the long-term effects on the CCS. This package should also include legal facilitation for the mobility of artists and their works, e.g. regarding taxation and visa regulations.
  - Protect the CCS from future shocks, in particular by reinforcing its social dimension and adapting rules on social security and labour rights, taking into account the diversity of the CCS workforce.
  -Increase public funding to arts and culture while also ensuring their access to other sources of finance, for example by reinforcing the availability of the CCS Guarantee Facility. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) also represents an important instrument to support and revitalise the CCS. They call for a swift adoption of an ambitious MFF, investing more in the arts and culture through the Cohesion and Values heading.
  They conclude: "In these times of despair, we as a society must stand together and support those who need our help the most. And we have to do so now! Only if we take immediate action, we will be able to continue enjoying music, books, theater, films, dance, pictures, fashion and much more arts and entertainment in the future.  After all, culture is the backbone of our European society."
  The list of signatories can be found here.

> IMPALA's launches mapping on C-19 initiatives
IMPALA's Covid-19 Task Force has followed up the adoption of its ten point crisis plan with the launch of a mapping tool to track the evolution of the situation for the independent music sector in Europe. Available online, the information is based primarily on ongoing information provided by IMPALA members to keep track of developments relating to their situation.
  “The aim of our mapping is to promote best practices and co-ordination in Europe,” said Francesca Trainini, Chair of IMPALA and its Covid-10 Task Force. “We want to see artists and freelance workers preserve their livelihood, and independent music companies stay in business and continue investing.”
  Monitoring will include action by digital services, collecting societies as well as national radio and other media, alongside the EU and national governments. IMPALA said sector losses will be assessed and post crisis recovery measures to boost growth will be also included.
  IMPALA’s mapping revealed the following trends so far:
  - Most countries have adopted basic economic responses of some description.
  - There are considerable discrepancies between countries. "If governments really want to make an impact and help their cultural sectors weather the storm, they should go for the full package of measures listed in point 3 of IMPALA's crisis plan," said the organisation.
  - There is still a lack of specific support for music from the EU and most governments.
  - Ensuring music companies fit into general support schemes can be difficult, as often the eligibility criteria don’t match. "This also underlines why a sector approach is important," noted IMPALA.
  - Sector measures by collecting societies, digital services, national radio and other media are still developing and there should be more responses coming soon.
  - More focus on post-crisis recovery mechanisms is needed.
  - Work is still being done by the sector in most countries to assess losses.
  “Many countries need to do more, in particular as regards specific action for music and culture,” commented Helen Smith, Executive Chair of Brussels-based IMPALA. “As well as EU and national measures, our mapping focuses on action taken by collecting societies, digital services and national media. This is a key part of our crisis plan where we expect to see further developments.”

> Petition tops 12,000 signatures
The petition launched by Swedish freelance drummer Per Lindvall, who played with ABBA, among others, asking for the European Union to create a fund to support performers has received more than 12,000 signatures as of April 12. “There are hundreds of thousands of musicians like me, suddenly without work. Actors are facing the same catastrophe,” wrote Lindvall. He added: “This is a heartfelt plea from musicians, artists and actors in Europe to our governments and to the EU. Please help us. Please set up a Covid-19 Solidarity Fund for Performers. Please help us so performers can survive the next few weeks, until live sessions – and our regular life can go back to normal.”
  The petition can be found here.

> Artist organisations ask for a solidarity fund
Fourteen European organisations representing artists have asked the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to create a European solidarity fund for performers who are “in a catastrophic economic situation” due to the pandemic. The letter was signed by Spain's AIE, France's Spedidam, Ireland's RAAP, Sweden's SAMI, Belgium's Playrightand several others.


> Ministry of Culture sets up support unit for festivals
French Minister of CultureFranck Riester has set up a support unit for 2020 festivals to help them navigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The unit will operate from April 6 to the end of the health crisis.
  “In conjunction with the other ministries, the support unit will rely on the directorates of the Ministry of Culture and its operators, on the regional directorates of cultural affairs and the directorates of cultural affairs overseas in order to identify the various needs. and thus adapt the responses of the State,” explained the Ministry of Culture.
  Added the Ministry: “Franck Riester wishes to provide support on a case-by-case basis to organisers. Indeed, if some already wish to be able to cancel their 2020 edition, others for whom confinement does not create delay in the preparation of their edition, wish to wait for the evolution of the situation.”
  Festival organisers can reach the support unit at the following e-mail address:

> French festivals demand clarity about C-19 restrictions
SNA, France's organisation regrouping music festivals, has published an open letter to government, in particular to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Minister of Culture Frank Riester, and Minister of Interior Christophe Castaner, to ask for clarity about the Covid-19 situation.
  “The vast majority of our events take place in spring or summer and should therefore be held in the coming months,” wrote the SNA, but the unprecedented health crisis has created “uncertainty about the feasibility of our events and uncertainty about the accompanying measures for our structures which will have to suffer the consequences of this crisis.”
  The letter continued, “Our ambition is to be able to organise our events, with of course, the requirement and the responsibility that such a situation imposes. We therefore need visibility in order to engage our events in this unprecedented international context. Our festivals are independent and a 'misstep' could be fatal to the very existence of our projects in the future.”
  Therefore, SNA is urging the government to “inform organisers a minimum of two months before the events” if the situation allows for the events to go on. “The sooner your decisions are made, the less damaging it will be,” reads the letter. It added, “It is imperative to understand that the decisions you make, the merits and complexity of which we appreciate, are crucial to the survival of our structures. To act too late would lead to a massacre, but to react only punctually without taking into account the modifications which will impact the sector over time would also be harmful.”

> A €10 fund from the  Île-de-France Region
The standing committee of the Île-de-France Region, the administrative unit which includes Paris and its greater metropolitan area, has voted unanimously to create a Covid-19 emergency fund of €10 million to support the region's performing arts sector. This fund consists of two packages: a €9m allocation to speed up grant payments to subsidised structures that are cash-strapped; and €1m for exceptional emergency aid for the live sector. The goal of the latter fund is to help organisations that have faced economic losses such as ticketing deficit, loss from sales from cancelled shows, and remuneration of workers.
  “This emergency aid is destined to professional live performance teams, venues and operators with their head office in Île-de-France,” explained to NewsTank Florence Portelli, vice-president of the Île-de-France Region in charge of culture, heritage and creation. “It will help support artistic teams so that they can cope with cancellations; support places and operators who have faced show cancellations and loss from ticketing; and support, in a spirit of solidarity, all players in the live performance sector faced with the impact of the health crisis of Coronavirus and its structural effects on the economy of the sector, in order to preserve the Ile-de-France cultural fabric of the performing arts.”


> Cultural sector calls for an investment fund
Personalities from the Italian creative sector have started a petition urging the government to create a National Fund for Culture or an investment tool guaranteed by the State. The scheme would be "open to the contribution from all citizens wishing to support the Italian cultural sector in the face of the liquidity crisis which threatens museums, cinemas and theaters, closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic."
  The petition reads: "We must now respond to the immediate financial difficulties of cultural enterprises, not only to guarantee their survival, but also to allow them, in the future, to continue to produce culture and, with it, added value in terms of social cohesion and economic gains. In the Italian system, there are already tools and entities that can immediately be operational to guarantee financial liquidity to all cultural businesses that today face bankruptcy."
  Petition signatories include Roberto Cicutto, president of the Venice BiennaleStefano Boeri, president of the Milan TriennaleGiovanna Melandri, president of the MAXXI Foundation in Rome; Christian Greco, director of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Turin; and Sergio Escobar, director of the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, among others.

United States

> Artist Relief launches with $10m
Artist Relief has secured $10 million in financing to distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to Covid-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the C-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists moving forward.
  An initial $5m funding was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which was matched by some 20 arts foundation, such as the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual ArtsFord FoundationOpen Society FoundationsRobert Rauschenberg FoundationTeiger FoundationTheWallace Foundation, and The Willem de Kooning Foundation, among others.
  Artist Relief is an initiative from the Academy of American PoetsArtadiaCreative CapitalFoundation for Contemporary ArtsMAPFundNational Young Arts Foundation, and United States Artists.
  The initiative will operate through September, as organisers monitor the impact of the pandemic and continue to fundraise to assist with the rapidly escalating needs of the country's artists.

United Kingdom

> Creative Industries Federation asks for urgent grants
The UK's Creative Industries Federation has called for urgent grant support for creative organisations and charities who "fall between the gaps." In a letter to Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the CIF highlighted "the urgent cash flow challenge that our creative industries are facing."
  For the Federation, government support measures such as the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) "are welcome, but the delay in their introduction is a major concern for our sector’s workers and businesses."
  According to data presented by the CIF, based on a survey of almost 2,000 creative businesses and individuals, showed that 42% of creative organisations estimate that their income has decreased by 100% since the outbreak and 63% of creative organisations predict a decrease in annual turnover of more than 50% by the end of 2020.
  The letter, signed by Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, went on: “Despite welcome changes to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), we know from our previous experience with the Enterprise Finance Guarantee – on which CBILS is based – that many creative businesses will still struggle to access these loans, and for those who do, this finance will come too late. Many charities are also still not eligible because their trading income falls beneath the 50% threshold… Grant support is needed now."
  Norbury added: “The crux of it is that creative businesses need money now, and they can’t wait another month. Through no fault of their own, many creative industries businesses are on the brink of collapse – with all the economic knock-on effects and hardship that entails. And more will follow. Government must act rapidly to get grants to where they are needed most." 

> UK Music's Tom Kiehl wants clarify on the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
UK Music Interim CEO Tom Kiehl has asked the government to clarify the conditions to access the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which in its current state, prevents many self-employed professionals to access it. For example, many artists or self-employed professionals are directors of their own companies and do not qualify for the scheme.
  "We are urgently seeking Government help to make sure these individuals, often low earners, do not slip through the net and receive parity," wrote Kiehl in M Magazine. He added: "‘The Government must also acknowledge the portfolio nature of many careers in the music industry and allow those that less earn less 50% of their income through self-employed work to qualify for a mix of Government schemes designed to support the employed and self-employed."
  He continued: "It is also unfair that the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is capped at those earning £50,000, yet a similar earnings eligibility does not exist for the support package available to workers that are not self-employed."

> AIM launches a fund for contractors
The UK’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) has launched a support fund for contractors who work with emerging artists and have lost work as a result of C-19. The fund has received a first allocation of £500,000 from AIM and the indie community, with an end target of £1m.
  The aim of the fund is to distribute £1,000 to 1,000 workers. The AIM fund is "open to any contractor due to work with new and developing artists currently signed to AIM member labels who have lost committed income because of cancelled projects with those artists and who does not qualify for other music industry hardship funds on offer."
  Beneficiairies includes: tour crews, studio producers, mixing engineers, radio pluggers, graphic designers, stylists, photographers, publicists and so on. AIM member labels will invite signed artists and their managers to nominate candidates to be pre-approved on this basis.
  AIM CEO Paul Pacifico commented:  “Despite government initiatives and the groundswell of support from the music industry, there are still many thousands of workers being left behind without the help that they need to get through this difficult time. Many of these people have suddenly found themselves with no source of income and with families to support, while government support measures for microbusinesses are hard to access for creative businesses and those for the self-employed are not expected to kick in before June.”


> Australia's government pledges A$27m for the arts
Australia’s Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher has announced an A$27 million for an emergency funding for the arts, A$10m of which will go to Support Act, an organisation that provides relief to performing artists, musicians, crew and others working in the industry, and A$10m to regional artists and organisations.
  Said Fletcher: "The charity Support Act will receive funding to immediately bolster its incredible work providing crisis relief to artists, crew and arts workers across the arts sector who have been affected by cancellation of gigs and performances across the country. We have chosen to back Support Act, and I hope that others consider contributing to this worthy cause too – if they are able – to help extend the important work it does even further."
  However, Billboard reported that while labels' trade organisation ARIA, rights society APRA AMCOS and Live Performance Australia welcomed the government’s funding commitment, they fear that "money won’t stretch far enough," especially in the live music sector, which is estimated to have lost over A$330 million due to the cancellation and postponement of live events related to the bush fires and the coronavirus pandemic.
  “Governments still haven’t come to grips with the scale of the devastation that has been wreaked across our world class $4 billion live performance industry,” said LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson.
  Meanwhile, the Australian radio industry is also asking for relief from the government as advertising revenues have dramatically fallen. Commercial Radio Australiachief executive officer Joan Warner called on the Australian government to "provide much-needed relief and certainty by easing regulatory constraints and the heavy compliance burden on local radio."

> Copyright Agency set up funds to support writers
Australia’s Copyright Agency will allocate A$375,000 from its Future Fund to finance initiatives relating to the Covid-19 crisis and will bring forward its A$1.8 million Cultural Fund grants to the first half of the 2020–21 financial year.
  “Covid-19 could have a truly devastating effect on the work of Australian writers and visual artists and on the value and reach of Australian story telling,” said Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling, “It is difficult to overstate just how hard people in the sector work, what a grind it can be and how precarious things are presently.”
  The rights agency also announced an emergency action fund of A$150,000 to be allocated in grants of between $5000 and $20,000 for writing and visual arts projects “that have been adversely affected by Covid-19 or are responding directly to it.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.