As the music community struggles with the new normal brought on by the impact of COVID-19, rest assured that BMI continues to advocate every day on your behalf to safeguard your rights and royalties.
As a first step, we’ve put together this resource guide to ensure you stay creative and connected, while we work to protect your livelihood.
Please know your BMI family is here for you during this challenging time.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, offering support to many individuals economically impacted by the pandemic, including music creators, copyright owners, and other small businesses. In response to the passing of this legislation, BMI joined the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA) and other music industry groups in releasing a joint statement of support for this vital legislation. To learn more about this new package and how it will help the creative community, click here.
HOW THE CARES ACT
HELPS MUSIC CREATORS
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act addresses the devastating impact of COVID-19 and will provide relief to music creators. We have a detailed breakdown of the provisions that will be most helpful to you here. Also, the U.S. Small Business Administration put together a guide for COVID-19 relief assistance under the CARES Act that includes information on the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advances, SBA Debt Relief, SBS Express Bridge Loans, local assistance and more.
ARE OUR PRIORITY
BMI knows you depend on your royalties to continue delivering your outstanding music, so we’ve made it our priority to change our royalty distribution schedule starting in 2022 to better serve our creative community. Starting next calendar year, BMI’s distributions will be evenly spaced apart every three months so there is one distribution per quarter, each February, May, August and November. Additionally, you will see royalties about one month faster from performance to payment than you do now. You can learn more here about our distribution schedule change starting in 2022, as well as an additional one-time distribution in November of 2021. Please take a moment to sign up for direct deposit, if you haven’t already. It’s also important to make sure your works registrations and contact information are up to date.
For the near future, BMI is continuing with virtual celebrations to honor our songwriters, composers and music publishers. Check out the 2021 BMI Latin Awards for exclusive content, including video messages, performances, photos, playlists and much more. For a look back at BMI’s various award shows over the past year, please visit – 2020 Latin Awards, Trailblazers Awards, Film, TV & Visual Media Awards, Pop Awards, Christian Music Awards, R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, London Awards and Country Awards.
BEST PRACTICES FROM
OUR DIGITAL PARTNERS
We’ve reached out to our digital partners to source the best inside information for music creators, from optimizing your YouTube channel, to accessing Pandora marketing tools, to engaging and monetizing your fans on Amazon Music, and more.
TIPS FOR WORKING
Take a look at our tips on virtual co-writing sessions, seamless Skype/FaceTime meetings, and finding the positive in the solitude to tap into your stellar creativity.
Our friends from Songwriters of North America (SONA) put together a list of resources and tools to help songwriters work and collaborate with other creators remotely. It will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back often for more information.
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum has launched a new educational series, Words & Music at Home, a step-by-step lyric-writing guide for aspiring songwriters. The new virtual program also features top songwriters discussing the art of songwriting on the museum’s Instagram feed every Thursday at 2:00 PM CT.
RESOURCES FOR MUSIC CREATORS
So that you can quickly find information for assistance near where you live, BMI has put together this list of resources to help you with certain needs you may have, including how the newly passed CARES Act can benefit you. Click here for more information and check back often as the list will continue to be updated.
MUSICARES® COVID-19 RELIEF FUND
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. Music industry professionals impacted by cancelled work may apply for an initial grant of up to $1,000 for basic living assistance (i.e. rent or mortgage). BMI, ASCAP and SESAC recently joined forces to create a special fund to support music creators who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. For the full story, click here and for more information on how to apply for assistance or to donate, go to the fund’s official web page.
On June 21, grant applications for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 will open with expanded eligibility to include songwriters and producers. These grants are available to music creators based in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. For more information, please click here.
The HART (Handy Artists Relief Trust) Fund provides assistance for medical and dental care.
COVID-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund-
The Blues Foundation established this fund to provide immediate resources to full-time blues musicians whose revenue streams have been severely diminished by the current coronavirus pandemic. To request funding, please contact Elizabeth Montgomery Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, and go here to donate.
The Actors Fund serves professionals in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio, and dance through its Entertainment Assistance Program which provides emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses or medical expenses.
Musicians who have had a performance/gig cancelled due to coronavirus may apply for support.
This fund provides financial assistance in the event of an emergency or major catastrophe, terminal or severe illness without efficient insurance, to individuals who have derived a substantial portion of their income from the field of Gospel Music.
Financial grants and loans are available to professionals in bluegrass music in a time of emergency. During the COVID-19 crisis, the IBMA Trust Fund is awarding grants up to $500 per eligible applicant.
This fund provides housing assistance, pro bono medical care, disaster relief and direct financial support for musicians in crisis. The COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund specifically provides assistance for basic living expenses.
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. Music industry professionals impacted by cancelled work may apply for an initial grant of up to $1,000 for basic living assistance (i.e. rent or mortgage).
People can donate and apply for assistance by navigating to the fund’s official web page.
The Music Business Mental Health Fund was established in 2021 by the Music Business Association in partnership with Music Health Alliance and the Scars Foundation to provide access to mental health services including counseling, therapy and screenings for Music Biz Association members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For qualifications and more information on how to apply, click here.
Individuals who have worked as professional musicians for the past five years or more may apply for emergency funding. A professional musician is defined as someone whose primary source of income was or is derived from work as a musician or music educator.
Members of SAG-AFTRA can apply for emergency funding to cover basic expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills and other essential needs. In order to be eligible you must be an active SAG-AFTRA member and current on your dues through October 2019.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing and SONA started this fund to help songwriters and composers in need. The fund will distribute small emergency grants of $1000 to qualified songwriters and composers who have suffered work cancellation and other financial losses as result of the coronavirus pandemic. To apply for assistance, click here.
Musicians or music industry workers impacted by coronavirus may apply for funds to cover medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses. Applicants must demonstrate that at least 50% of their income comes from working within the music community. Other eligibility criteria can be found at the link above.
The LEE Initiative and the Touring Professionals Alliance (TPA) launched the Touring Professionals Relief Kitchen (TPRK) to feed touring professionals during the holiday season. TPRK will serve meals in major music cities of Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York on Tuesdays and Thursdays out of partner restaurants. Each restaurant will distribute 200 meal boxes a night, with each box serving two people. For more information on the relief efforts and for specifics on dates and locations for meal pick-ups, please visit www.leeinitiative.org.
Members of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 chapter who work for employers covered by the Musicians Union of Los Angeles contract or collective bargaining agreement may submit an application for up to two service sets lost, in the amount of $75 per service set, for a maximum total of $150.
Members of the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 Chapter who are in good standing with all dues paid may qualify for various funds including The Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund. Additional information is available here.
Max’s Kansas City Project has emergency grants for New Yorkers in the creative arts. Individuals who have made their living through their art form either professionally or personally and demonstrate a financial need for medical aid, legal aid or housing. The application for is available here.
The Opry Trust Fund distributes funds toward medical bills, living expenses, rent or mortgage, and utilities to individuals who are or have been employed full time in a facet of the country music industry (i.e. performer, songwriter, publisher, radio, session musician, etc. Referrals accepted from individuals with the country music community and other charitable organizations.
Music Export Memphis is raising funds to support artists and non-artists working in live music industry roles who live in the Greater Memphis, Tennessee Area and have lost income due to coronavirus. More information and an application may be found here.
The Chamber provides links for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, Metro Nashville Public Schools free student meals, and other resources.
The Response Fund assist individuals and families by connecting specific agencies to assist with rent/mortgage assistance, utility payments, food assistance, and direct financial assistance.
Members of Austin’s live music community who were impacted by the cancellation of South by Southwest festival can apply for funds here.
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
For the first time, freelancers and gig workers are able to apply for unemployment benefits due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) in the form of pandemic unemployment assistance (“PUA”). PUA is being administered on the state level. Additional details on each state’s program are below.
Information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in California can be found here. Individuals who are self-employed (i.e. work as independent contractors) may now be eligible for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Specific information and requirements may be viewed here.
Information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in Georgia can be found here. Individuals who are self-employed may now be eligible for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Specific information and requirements may be viewed here and here.
Information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in New York State can be found here. Individuals who are self-employed (i.e. work as independent contractors) may now be eligible for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Specific information and requirements may be viewed here and here.
Information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in Tennessee can be found here. Currently, individuals who are self-employed, or a 1099 employee, may now be eligible for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Specific information and requirements may be viewed here.
Information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in Texas can be found here. Self-employed individuals may be now be eligible for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Specific information and requirements may be viewed here.
Family Need Resources
Information is provided regarding connectivity needs during the pandemic for Tennessee.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York, California Lawyers for the Arts and the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville have collaborated on an initiative to provide free and expedited legal services to the music community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaboration will offer local legal services in states that have large music communities, while also seeking to provide nationwide assistance where possible. To access legal resources in:
New York- contact VLA at email@example.com or go to vlany.org
California- contact CLA at (888)775-8995 or go to www.calawyersforthearts.org
Tennessee- contact VLPA at (615) 460-8274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and Insurance Resources
Backline is an organization that provides mental health and wellness resources of the music community. They are hosting bi-weekly Zoom calls to provide support for individuals impacted by coronavirus.
Music Health Alliance is offering support for both COVID-19 and Tornado financial assistance. They offer grants for direct cost assistance for up to 8 weeks.
This Foundation offers links to mental health and substance use recovery programs nationally and regionally in Texas.
If you have a home mortgage guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you are eligible to have your mortgage payment reduced or suspended for up to 12 months. Exact details for Fannie Mae borrowers can be found here. Information for Freddie Mac borrowers is available here.
Small Business Relief
The U.S. Small Business Administration put together a guide for COVID-19 relief assistance under the CARES Act which includes information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advances, SBA Debt Relief, SBS Express Bridge Loans, local assistance and more. Click here for additional details.
Student Loan Relief
Borrows may have federally held Department of Education student loans with payments currently suspended and a temporary 0% interest rate. These benefits are set to expire on September 30, 2020. Additional details regarding repayment options and a frequently asked questions resource can be found here.
FREE OR DISCOUNTED TOOLS FOR SONGWRITERS
FENDER PLAY Fender Play is offering 50% off its annual plan.
Jaxsta – the world’s largest public-facing, dedicated database of official music credits – is making Jaxsta Pro FREE through September, 2021. Jaxsta Pro can help you connect, create opportunities and enhance your career.
Add to your calendars and check out some of these incredible livestream performances by our talented BMI singer/songwriters!
We’ll keep updating, so please check back.