A Guide for Musicians Impacted by Coronavirus
by India McCarty –
Well, who could have seen this coming? The coronavirus has pretty much shut the whole world down, effective immediately, and now many musicians are wondering how to keep things afloat.
Some fixes, while temporary, can still help. Feeling bad for having to cancel a show? Livestream it on your social media platforms. It might not feel the same, but you’re still playing to an audience! Some artists are taking these opportunities to raise money, for themselves or for different charities. Other artists are encouraging people to buy merch. You might not get any ticket sales, but a couple of t-shirt sales can go a long way.
If things are a little more complicated for you, there are places you can look to for help. Listed below are some national resources that might be able to help you out during this uncertain time.
American Federation of Musicians
The AFM is currently working to get Congress to provide immediate economic relief for musicians during this crisis, including expanding unemployment benefits and stopping evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs. Check out their website to find out if you are eligible for unemployment insurance and how to go about applying for that.
American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund
Any member of this organization who is also in good standing can apply for financial assistance under the AGMA Relief Fund. The organization has doubled the amount of assistance available for those in need during this time.
Originally established to help music industry professionals with mental health and wellness providers, Backline is now taking it online. The organization has established a virtual support group that will take place on the Zoom app. Check out their Facebook page for more information!
Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund
Equal Sound is currently taking applications from musicians who have lost income from the pandemic. You must provide proof that you had a confirmed concert cancelled because of the virus before you will receive aid.
MusiCares has committed $2 million to its COVID-19 Relief Fund. You can apply for assistance on their website.
Music Health Alliance
Music Health Alliance provides healthcare support services for uninsured members of the music industry. Go to their website to apply for help.
SAG-AFRTA COVID-19 Disaster Fund
If you are a SAG-AFTRA member in an emergency financial crisis, you can request help from this fund for things like rent, mortgage, utilities and medical bills. To be eligible for aid, you have to have paid your dues through October 2019.
Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund
This is a donor-directed fund used specifically for musicians and music industry workers who are affected by the coronavirus. Funds will go towards medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other necessary living expenses for those who get sick or lose work due to the pandemic.
These are just a few of the places you can go for help, and new funds and groups are popping up every day. There are also many places that operate in just one state, so do some research and find out if you can get some help from a place that’s a little closer to home.
If you’re in a position to give some assistance, please consider donating to any of these foundations and funds. You’ll be helping out people who really need it!
We’ll get through this, guys. And hey, while we’re all in lockdown, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to write the next great album!