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INDUSTRY APPLAUDS SENATE RESCUE BILL

Self-employed members of the music industry received some good news with the Senate’s passage of a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package on Wednesday.

Songwriters, roadies, technicians and the like who makes less than $100,000 a year would be eligible to apply for loans and grants from for a $349b fund for independent contractors that the Small Business Administration will oversee. It also includes an expansion of unemployment benefits.

“We are grateful that the stimulus package contains emergency access to unemployment insurance for those who cannot work due to a canceled performance or a production shut down,” said RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier. “Access to this expanded unemployment insurance will ensure that hundreds of thousands of musicians’ families across the country can continue to pay rent, put food on the table, and care for their children during this public health crisis.

“In addition, the legislation includes access to small business loans, as well as payment deferrals, which will make it easier for musicians, who often act as independent contractors and sole proprietors, to obtain and pay a loan.

“We also applaud the provision that provides more funding for the National Endowment of the Arts to give grants to arts organizations that provide relief to musicians.”

The bill still needs passage from the House and the president’s signature to take effect.

Several industry trade groups worked with Congress on the Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Economic Industry Disaster Loan Grants.

Harvey Mason Jr., interim chief of the Recording Academy, said Academy members generated tens of thousands of letters to Congress pushing for unemployment assistance, paycheck protections and supplemental funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. In an email to Academy members, he wrote “we must work to ensure that the House of Representatives passes the package without delay so that these new benefits can be swiftly made available to the music maker community in need.”

Nashville Songwriters Association Executive Director Bart Herbison told Rolling Stone, “This is going to save careers. This is going to give the workers, the creators of music, a support system—it’s going to help them sustain the jobs. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people. This is a local nightclub performer, a sound engineer, a recording artist, everyone.”

Songwriters of North America co-founder Michelle Lewis said in a statement, "This will make much-needed relief in the form of small business loans and grants available to all who need it.”

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