- Donations to the MusiCares COVID-19 relief fund have now exceeded $10million.
- The Recording Academy says more is needed to meet the growing demand.
Performing Rights Organizations have joined in with the widespread donations to MusiCares, in aid of music professionals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC have, together, opened a special MusiCares fund to specifically cater to songwriters and composers. Whilst the MusiCares fund (which has now exceeded $10million) was already open for music creatives in need of financial assistance, this newly-created songwriters fund will be available only to members and affiliates of the three performing rights organizations.
Though donations to the overall MusiCares fund has gone beyond expectations, so has the demand. Thus, according to a statement released today by The Recording Academy, more finances are needed to meet the needs of industry workers – as the coronavirus impact continues to take effect.
“It‘s inspiring to see every sector of the music industry band together during a time of need”, said Harvey Mason Jr. – Chairman of The Recording Academy.
Mason later added: “With the help of these latest contributions and the generous donations over the past few weeks, we‘ve been able to garner more than $10 million to provide aid for music people across all genres, crafts and disciplines affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That said, the need is still so great and these times remain critical for music people”.
Echoing Harvey’s comments, Steve Boom – Chair of MusiCares – thanked ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and others who have extended an arm to grow the fund. But also emphasized that more is needed.
Boom shared:“We’re thrilled to see the continued support from organizations to help all the people who were depending on their next gig to make ends meet. There is still much more work to be done, and we hope that those who have supported us will continue to inspire others to do what’s needed for the music industry during this unprecedented time”.
BMI’s President, Mike O’Neil, said the company was ‘grateful’ to be able to join in with ASCAP and SESAC in being a help to the community of music creators during this time.
O’Neil closed by saying: “The creative community is resilient and will continue to inspire the industry as we get through this together”.
Elizabeth Matthews (Chief Executive of ASCAP) and John Josephson (SESAC Chairman/CEO) also acknowledged and thank each of the other two PROs – with the latter noting that “It is essential that we do all we can to make sure that our creators have the resources they need to navigate this crisis and continue practicing their craft”.
In addition to opening the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, The Recording Academy has made an appeal to Congress for further assistance for affected workers in the music industry. Local Chapters of the organization are also raising funds to help those within their respective regions.
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Grammy Awards Postponed, New Date Revealed
The 2021 Grammy Awards has been rescheduled. Details surrounding the format of the show still remain unclear.
- March 14, 2021 has been confirmed as the new date for this year’s telecast due to COVID-19.
- Format and structure of the show still unknown.
In a joint statement from Harvey Mason, Jr (Interim President/CEO, The Recording Academy), Jack Sussman (EVP, Live Event, CBS Television), and the show’s Executive Producer Ben Winston, the 63rd Grammy Awards have been officially pushed back to March 14th, 2021. Citing ‘the deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles’ (where the ceremony is scheduled to be held) as the reason for the postponement, the statement confirmed what had already been speculated regarding the upcoming ceremony for some time.
According to Variety, a ‘limited’ show was being planned for the original date of January 31st – with only performers and presenters being allowed on-site (at The Staples Center), meaning nominees and winners would only make remote appearances. However, Recording Academy Interim CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. later stated that the event will be held “in and around Downtown Los Angeles”, and also mentioned plans to work with “independent venues” – which could mean we see it not held at Staples and perhaps take a similar production style to the 2020 BET Awards, where all presenters, performers and acceptance speeches were all pre-recorded and/or remote. The statement sent to Music Biz Nation regarding the new March date did not mention that it would be a live telecast – suggesting this may well be the case.
Top nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards include Beyonce (leading with a total of 9 noms, with 2 for ‘Record of the Year’), followed by Roddy Ricch, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift – who each have 6. You can view the complete list of nominees here.
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$500m of Live Nation stock was just purchased by Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bought 12,337,569 shares in Live Nation Entertainment, according to an SEC filing.
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bought 12,337,569 shares in Live Nation Entertainment.
- Saudi are now the third largest shareholder of the live music giant.
In an opportunistic move, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has purchased over $500million worth of Live Nation Entertainment shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Amongst other media conglomerates, Live Nation has seen a big dip in stock value amid COVID-19. After closing out at $76.08 on February 19, company stocks have closed at as low as low as $25.50 within the past two months – reaching an 52-week low of $21.70. However, after the half-a-billion dollar transaction by the middle eastern nation was revealed in a SEC filing today, value for the company shot up by 15% (at the time of writing).
As a result of this major purchase, Saudi Arabia now owns 5.7% of Live Nation Entertainment – holding the title of the third largest shareholder of the company. To be precise, that is a whopping 12,337,569 shares.
Music Biz Nation previously reported on the impact COVID-19 has had on the Live Music Industry, and specifically, Live Nation. Due to a widespread cancelation of concerts for the remainder of the year, LNE shares have been down around 40% since this time last year.
Company CEO Michael Rapiro announced he will be forfeiting his 2020 salary, and a number of senior Live Nation executives will be taking up to 50% pay deductions to compensate for loss of income occurred by the cancelations.
Prior to COVID-19, the Live Music Industry was set to see a record-breaking year in 2020 – but may instead incur potential losses of up to $9billion. With the year-on-year growth the industry has been experiencing over recent years (as reported by Pollstar), it is likely the demand for concert tours will see an unprecedented demand once the coronavirus pandemic has settled, globally. This, of course, creates a perfect opportunity for investors – that Saudi Arabia has capitalized on.
According to reports, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund has made a number of investments during the COVID-19 period, including oil companies – though this has not been confirmed.
Due to the strict islamic culture of Saudi Arabia, this $500million purchase of LNE shares raises questions about the country’s overall interest in entertainment. Due to some of their restrictions – which have been protested by Women’s Rights and LGBGTQ Activists, many artists have avoided performing in the region. Nicki Minaj famously turned down an offer to perform at Jeddah World Fest in Jeddah (Saudi’s second largest city) last year.
Time will tell if this buy was strictly an economic move – or one to boost tourism, which has been a focus of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since he took office.