With the entertainment industry decimated by catastrophic losses and indefinite delays as it endures the ugliest shutdown it’s ever seen, fan favorites like Lizzo and Anderson .Paak are calling on President “China Virus” to intervene.
Rolling Stone and Variety report that a slew of heavyweight artists and executives, such as balladeer Babyface, Grammy Award-winning bassist Verdine White and others are putting the lean on Trump, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Congress to provide financial relief and “ease the existential threat” created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The request was made via a letter from the Music Artists Coalition and was signed by over a hundred recording artists.
From Rolling Stone:
The letter specifically seeks support for the “hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the live music business.” The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the live music industry, with a ton of major tours and festivals—including Coachella, Bonnaroo and South by Southwest—either canceled or postponed. While cutting down on mass public gatherings is crucial to stemming the spread of COVID-19, it’s also wiped out a source of income for many people who work on tours and festivals behind the scenes.
“The cancellation of concerts, tours, and festivals means that the musicians and crews who make every concert a special experience for music fans are now out of a job and have no other way to pay rent or put food on the table,” the letter states. “Concerts are not just about the headliner: the foundation of live music are the touring musicians, truck and bus drivers, stagehands, production teams, crews who handle lighting, sound, equipment, security, and so many others do not have any option for work as there are no live events for the foreseeable future.”
It concludes, “The music industry is facing an existential threat that is unprecedented—the touring business as we know it has disappeared without warning and without a safety net for hundreds of thousands of people. MAC believes the impacted people in the music industry are one of the groups most in need of government assistance.”
The Recording Academy sent a similar letter to Congress on Wednesday, seeking “tax benefits, interest-free loans and direct support” for the myriad of self-employed freelancers, independent contractors, small businesses, and nonprofits within the music industry crippled by the coronavirus work stoppage. And though Trump has signed a relief package designed to help stabilize our struggling economy, the entertainment industry remains in a highly susceptible state.
You can read the Music Artists Coalition’s letter in its entirety here.