How it helps unemployed music professionals – Billboard

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The $ 2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package that was passed by the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday evening (March 25) includes good news for the independent music industry workforce . Songwriters, musicians, road crews, sound and light technicians, producers and many other independent contractors in the industry will be eligible for loans and grants from 350 small businesses. billion dollars of the bill.

The bill has yet to be passed by the Democratic-controlled House and signed by the President Donald trump before it becomes law, but when it does, the small business financial resources segment will be overseen by the US Small Business Administration.

According to the executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Bart Herbison, music industry business groups like the Songwriters of North America (SONA), the National Music Publishers Association and other industry entities have come together to work with Congressional leaders to Guarantee the wording of the sections titled Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Economic Industry Disaster Loan Grants of the bill can apply to songwriters, musicians, audio technicians and others who are self-employed or contractors.

The efforts of music professional groups and lawmakers have broadened the terminology in the bill to include the terms “independent contractors” and “sole proprietors” so that funding can apply to these independent professionals in the music industry. music.

SONA said in a statement that the language included in this bill is essential for the survival of the music community. “We are grateful to members of Congress for understanding that songwriters, composers and many others who make a living in the music industry are small business owners,” SONA co-founder Michelle lewis said in a statement. “This will provide everyone who needs it with much needed help in the form of loans and grants to small businesses.” Our songwriters are the ultimate owners of small businesses and need this help right now. “

SONA noted that the coronavirus pandemic is crippling all aspects of the economy and songwriters also need continued support to get through the current crisis.

“Many professionals in the music industry are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits because they are self-employed,” said Herbison of NSAI. “This is why it was imperative that the federal stimulus package contain language that makes them eligible for relief. Now, they will be able to apply for immediate financial assistance for any income they have lost in the past few weeks and income they will lose during the rest of the year.

In order to be eligible, the Small Business Administration will develop the guidelines as rules on how that work is loosely defined in the bill, according to Herbison. But the framework is that anyone earning less than $ 100,000 and exhibiting loss of income can apply the funds. The NSAI, which says it will help by voluntarily acting as a clearinghouse – and other music industry business groups will likely help, too – on how to apply for grants and loans. Federals added that there are other important provisions in the bill that will also help the industry.

“We will provide details over the next few days on the details of the various programs contained in the legislation,” Herbison added. “NSAI will help refer eligible people to the appropriate resources for relief. In some circumstances, relief funds will not have to be repaid.

It will take a little while for all regulations and procedures to be announced, but industry executives say they expect the money to flow within weeks.

According to Herbison, who said the funds could start flowing to songwriters as early as April, lawmakers like Rep. Ted deutch (R-FL), sen. Marsha blackburn (R-TN), sen. Marco rubio (R-FL), President of the Chamber Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rep. Jerrold nadler (D-NY), Rep. Jim cooper (D-TN), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), sen. Diane finstein (D-CA) and Sen. John kennedy (D-LA) have all mobilized to research the music industry.

According to the NSAI, Rep. Deutch, Speaker of the Songwriter’s Caucus, started a conversation with the NSAI about this dilemma last week. Senator Blackburn wrote the essential language.

“It was a good team effort to achieve this,” said the CEO and President of NMPA. David Israelite, who thanked Blackburn, Hoyer, Deutch, NSAI and SONA. “Every industry was trying to cover their employees, so for us, as one of the smaller industries to include some of that language in the bill, that was a very big victory.”

“Right now everyone in music is suffering as we all find ways to cope with the effects of the coronavirus,” the Israelite continued. “We are greatly relieved that songwriters, composers and musicians across the country are helped by the emergency stimulus package passed by the Senate today. From protecting paychecks and stimulus checks to grants that help with rent and mortgage payments, the legislation will help the creative community – especially those who qualify as independent contractors, sole proprietors and freelancers. – who have been severely affected by this pandemic. “

Member of the board of directors of SONA and lawyer for the music industry Dina LaPolt noted that the United States accounts for 33% of the global music industry in the world. “We need laws that protect creators and ensure they are protected from economic destruction,” LaPolt said in a statement.

“We cannot overestimate the importance of the federal assistance now available for professionals in the music industry who have already been devastated by the results of the coronavirus,” Herbison said in a statement. While the impact of the crisis has been most pronounced on the live music industry, it has also affected studio musicians, producers and others whose incomes have been affected.

Senator Blackburn noted in a statement provided to Billboard by NSAI that Nashville was “not built by powerful businessmen, but by an extremely talented community of independent singers, songwriters and musicians who are now struggling to keep their heads above water. In this time of fear and uncertainty, it is important not to abandon these creators. With that in mind, I have led a bipartisan team of advocates to ensure that all professionals in the music industry will benefit from the provisions of this bailout.

Representative Deutch said in a statement, also via the NSAI, that with Congress looking for ways to help Americans struggling with the pandemic, “we need to recognize the different ways Americans will be affected. People in the music industry are often concert workers, independent contractors, sole proprietors, or freelance workers. That’s why I’ve worked with my colleagues and the creative community to ensure that we include language in the next economic stimulus package to help these people weather the storm and get relief. Music is helping so many of us cope right now; we have to help the people who create it.

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