- The funds will be divided up amongst three COVID-19 relief funds.
- UK Music has called upon the British Government to give better support to the music industry amid COVID-19.
British music licensing company PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) are giving back to their members. Today, the non-profit organization announced they were pledging a total donation of £700,000 ($875k) to three COVID-19 relief funds established to support music industry professionals. Of the sum, £200,000 ($250k) will be split equally between AIM’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund and the Musicians’ Union’s Coronavirus Hardship Fund. The remaining £500,000 ($625k) will go to the ‘Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship’ Fund.
After launching on March 15th with an initial pot of £5m, the Help Musicians Fund has had an overwhelming response – receiving over 17,000 applications.
Since then, Help Musicians has had additional donations from Spotify, Amazon Music, Arts Council for England, The Royal Society of Musicians, and now PPL. However, due to the volume of applications that have come in, they have now ceased accepting any new enquiries. Outstanding applications will still be processed, with approved ones receiving a one-off payment of £500 ($625).
James Ainscough, Help Musicians’ Chief Executive said: “We gratefully welcome the financial contribution and continued support of PPL to Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship funding.
“Demand for financial support has been overwhelming and we are seeing first-hand how the monies are supporting the many thousands in the music community who desperately need it. We are grateful to all of those who have responded to our plea for donations and this latest contribution from PPL will significantly boost our ability to help musicians”, he added.
Musicians’ Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge stated: “The Musicians’ Union has been working around the clock to provide much-needed support and advice to its membership. PPL’s donation to our Hardship Fund will enable us to reach even more musicians who are struggling through these challenging times”
Differing slightly from the demographic of the Help Musicians and Musicians Union COVID-19 initiatives is AIM. The Association of Independent Music’s fund is more so targeted at music industry contractors and freelancers that were due to work with artists signed to AIM’s indie member labels prior to the coronavirus shutdowns. According to the company’s website, this includes ‘tour crews, studio producers, mixing engineers, radio pluggers, graphic designers, stylists, photographers, publicists’, and more.
Paul Pacifico, current CEO of AIM said: “The launch of the AIM COVID-19 Crisis Fund was a call to arms to ensure that all those working in the music industry, including contractors and freelancers who play such vital roles in the success of labels and artists, can weather these tough times.
“I am delighted that PPL has confirmed a donation to the fund which will increase the level of support we can provide in the short-term to these individuals”, he continued.
Approved applicants of AIM’s crisis fund will instantly receive anywhere up to £1,000 – depending on the amount of income lost.
With 96% of music businesses losing income over the past two months (a direct result of COVID-19), the widespread support given to those impacted is certainly much needed. Trade Body UK Music recently voiced strong concerns to the British Government, regarding the need for better assistance to individuals in the music industry – particularly the ‘lower earners’.
In a statement address to British Government officials, UK Music shared: “Many in our industry are directors of their own small firms“.
However, company directors are disqualified from the self-employed scheme and cannot furlough themselves as this would stop their businesses from operating. They need urgent government help to make sure these individuals, often low earners, do not slip through the net”.
This was in response to a government stimulus package offered to self-employed workers. Whilst sole traders (the UK equivalent of a sole proprietor) are covered in the package, company directors are not. These, however, make up a significant portion of those working in the music business – from some artist managers/management companies, pr firms, independent record labels and beyond.
Prior to making this £700,000 donation, PPL just recently made a quarterly royalties payout of £87.6 million ($11million) to its right holder member – sent March 31.
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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.