As the live music industry enters its seven month of virtually zero revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new coalition comprised of some of the biggest live music groups and corporations in the industry launched on Thursday.
The #SaveLiveEventsNow coalition — made up of promotion giants Live Nation Entertainment and AEG, the Recording Academy, most of the industry’s major booking agencies, Universal Music Group, Sag-Aftra, Full Stop Management and several other prominent and influential music companies — comes days after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would stop negotiating for a follow-up stimulus package until after the election. The current iteration of that package included provisions that would bring significant funding to independent concert venues. The new site launched on September 21st, and a representative for the group says the coalition had been developing their support for the past two months.
The new group has no official affiliation to Save Our Stages, the National Independent Venue Association-led coalition which began to advocate for federal assistance for independent venues in April. And while some of its goals are similar to Save Our Stages — they’ve lent their support to the Save Our Stages Act — #SaveLiveEventsNow says it’s more holistically focused on live industry workers as a whole beyond the venues. Along with several other measures to help the industry like tax breaks and the extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, SaveLiveEventsNow wants to expand the Save Our Stages legislation to include publicly owned venues and small venues under 5,000 seats.
SaveLiveEventsNow called the Save Our Stages Act “an important first step for some of the most vulnerable parts of the industry, but it is only a first step. The vital workers across every sector of the live event industry are still at risk. Our elected officials need to act swiftly to broaden support and provide assistance to 90% of the 12 million industry workers employed by venues and businesses that don’t qualify for support under Save Our Stages,” the announcement said. “All live events are on pause, all live event workers are hurting, and every one of them deserves access to a helping hand regardless of where they work – whether it’s at large or small venues, at festivals, or on tour across the country.”
In a statement accompanying the new group’s launch announcement, Brad Mayne, CEO of the International Association of Venue Managers, said public venues must be considered in potential legislation along with independent venues to ensure help to their workers. “Many venues are publicly owned because our society has recognized the important role they play, and now we need to extend that same acknowledgement to the millions of workers who are just as critical to the future of events,” he said.
Regarding the new coalition, NIVA, which has thus far been the leading group working with government officials to push for aid, reiterated being thankful for government support for its Save Our Stages act and pushed for government officials to bring assistance to the venues in need.
“NIVA is grateful for broad, bipartisan Congressional support to preserve independent live venues, and Congress’s recognition of the role independent venues play not only in local economies around the country, but also the role independent venues play in fostering artists,” the Association said in a statement. “While NIVA was not asked to join these efforts, NIVA has strongly supported legislative efforts to support those truly in need in the live music ecosystem, including by expanding and extending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits for furloughed employees, expanding the Employee Retention Tax Credit, and supporting the Mixed Earners Act and the RESTART Act.”
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