Covid-19 music industry update: Blossoms' isolation album, Bloodstock Festival, Atlantic pop quiz, Devin Townsend

Covid-19 music industry update: Blossoms' isolation album, Bloodstock Festival, Atlantic pop quiz, Devin Townsend

Music Week is monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 spread around the globe on the biz.

The outbreak has already led to the cancellation of Glastonbury and more recently TRNSMT, as well as urgent calls to support grassroots venues.

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Blossoms' isolation album

Blossoms have announced details of their new album, Blossoms In Isolation. The album is made up of cover versions and re-workings of their own songs, recorded by the band at their respective homes during this period of isolation.

The first track to be released from the album is their cover of Frank Ocean’s Lost, out now.

Over the coming weeks the band will be releasing isolation versions of their Beatles Paperback Writer cover, as well as covers of The Coral’s Dreaming Of You in collaboration with James Skelly and Tame Impala’s The Less I Know The Better with Miles Kane.

Bloodstock Festival

Bloodstock Festival has today (May 4) announced it will no longer be taking place this year. The festival, which was due to take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire between August 6-9, has confirmed it will return in 2021, with an extra day added to the event. You can read the full statement below:

“Dear Bloodstockers,

Following the ongoing government guidance on mass gatherings and social distancing, we are extremely disappointed to announce that this year’s Bloodstock will no longer be going ahead. We respect the government’s mandate and recognise it is made with the best intentions, in order to protect the health & safety of not only our audience, but our staff, crew, musicians, and other contractors who work on site at Bloodstock. Safety remains of paramount importance to us.

We know you have been concerned about what the developing Covid-19 situation would mean for Bloodstock and will be as disappointed as we are at this tough decision, but we hope you can appreciate it is the right choice to make at this time. We had been working tirelessly to ensure we could still offer the top quality Bloodstock experience you trust us to provide, year on year - and this year more than ever, when we invited you to celebrate 20 Years of Bloodstock with us. We do not - and never will - take this trust in us for granted. 

We have been reading your comments on our social media, and many of you have said that in this circumstance, you would like the option to roll your 2020 ticket over to 2021’s event - and we can confirm that you are able do that. Rest assured that Bloodstock will return with an almighty vengeance, better and stronger than ever, so to that end and to help assuage your disappointment, next year Bloodstock will be adding an extra day! 

The festival will be 5 days and start from Wednesday, as opposed to Thursday; the dates for 2021’s event will be 11th - 15th August. This will be at no extra cost to those who have already purchased weekend tickets for 2020 and wish to roll them over. We will also freeze prices at the ticket store until later this year, when prices will then increase by just £10 and a new, longer 6-month instalment plan will launch to make that option even easier to manage. The on-sale date for day tickets and any returns on previously sold out ticket categories, such as camper vans, will be announced in due course. We are happy to report that many artists on this year’s line-up have already reconfirmed for 2021 and we look forward to sharing further plans with you soon.

Should you prefer a refund, we also wish to state that full, face value refunds will be available to everyone who has already purchased a Bloodstock 2020 ticket from official sellers and assure you of our best efforts to process those refunds within 28 days, where possible. We have a lot to sort out, so please bear with us - everyone who has purchased a ticket already from Seetickets will be emailed in the next 7-14 days. 

We are also updating our website and have launched a new page to answer your questions about refunds & the roll-over process.

While we understand the current financial climate is difficult for many, we sincerely hope you will decide to join us to celebrate Bloodstock next year. As an independent, family run festival, we wish to extend our deepest appreciation for your continued and loyal support. 

We know we are privileged to have such a strong Bloodstock community, and as a united family of heavy metal fans, we WILL prevail. 

Vicky, Adam, Rachael, Paul, and all at Team Bloodstock.”

Devin Townsend/NHS 

Canadian metal star Devin Townsend has raised over £65,000 ($81,000) for the NHS in the UK. Townsend has been hosting live concerts in his home studio, with each one raising money for healthcare workers around the world. His show on April 25 for the NHS sold 3420 ticket. For each show, Townsend has put together a 4-camera rig, controlled using nothing more than an Xbox controller. 

The previous show in aid of Vancouver’s General Hospital sold close to 2000 tickets, and raised nearly $50,000. The third will be in support of hotspot hospitals in New York City. Shows last around 50 minutes, with different setlists each time. The top donors for each show receive signed merchandise from Omerch, album goodies from InsideOut as well as several high-end products from a number of Devin’s gear companies such as Mooer, Fractal, Toontrack, Dunlop and |Fishman to name a few. All ticket buyers will also receive a (somewhat tidied-up) remixed version of the show’s audio recording.

Atlantic goes pop

Warner Music UK has donated £10,000 to NHS charities and raised spirits across the biz after a pop quiz for UK radio and TV execs locked down during the coronavirus crisis. The event was hosted on Zoom on Thursday evening (April 30) by Atlantic's promotions king and multi-Music Week Award winner Damian Christian (pictured sporting the Biffy Clyro 'Mon The NHS' T-shirt that was distributed to those taking part). It saw the cream of the UK media compete in rounds set by James Blunt (in multi-coloured wig and swigging a Corona beer, posing questions on his own Twitter comebacks) and footballer Peter Crouch (sport). Top TV talent producer Sam Taylor beat dozens of competitors to take top prize in the quiz, which was followed by a round of bingo.

Eagles reschedule

The Eagles have rescheduled their US tour until next year. The Hotel California dates, featuring the classic album played in full, were originally due to commence in Denver in March. They were initially moved to September due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will now kick off in the same city on September 16, 2021. The band's Wembley Stadium dates, due to take place in August, were not covered by the announcement.

Love Record Stores Day

Love Record Stores Day (#LRSD) is to take place on June 20, the date for which Record Store Day had been rescheduled. RSD has now been split over three dates later in the year, August 29, September 26 and October 24.

#LRSD will be a day of online shopping for vinyl exclusives at record stores with a range of strictly limited-edition releases being made available to music fans. The aim is to give participating stores the significant spike in custom they normally receive on Record Store Day, while helping music fans satisfy their appetite for music during the pandemic.

Alongside new releases, #LRSD will be supported with online ‘instore’ performances by a number of artists and exclusive DJs sets being broadcast throughout the day. A wide range of record labels are already confirmed to participate in #LRSD, and the full list will be available here.

Kim Bayley, CEO of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), said: "Many Record Store Day shops are continuing to serve their customers online and battling to ensure that they can not only support the artists, but also safeguard their survival and ensure high streets continue to be a home to a vibrant array of record shops for years to come. The support of their customers and the #Loverecordstores campaign is providing a much needed lifeline in these turbulent times." 

Jason Rackham, UK MD of PIAS and one of the organisers of #LRSD, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support for our #Loverecordstores campaign from all areas of the music business and it is incredible to see how far this message has spread around the world. As part of our drive to help these small vulnerable stores survive the interruption we are launching #LRSD as a way of keeping this important moment in the music retail calendar alive. Like all small businesses, record stores are run by determined and creative people who won’t take an event such as a global pandemic lying down, and over the last few weeks we have seen an incredible amount of resilience, innovation and business being driven by record stores via their mail order and home delivery services. This support is certainly helping them to weather the storm.” 

Rolling Stones and YouTube #StayHome campaign

As part of YouTube’s #StayHome campaign, the Rolling Stones have launched a weekly series, Extra Licks, on the band’s official YouTube channel.

The weekly series airs on Sundays at 8pm UK time. The first YouTube premiere, on May 3, features bonus features of six concert films from throughout their career, including performances from the 1994 Voodoo Lounge Tour and the 2016 Latin America Ole! Tour. This series is in partnership with The Rolling Stones and Eagle Rock Entertainment, and will stream exclusively on YouTube.

The Rolling Stones have released a new single, Living In A Ghost Town, that was created and recorded in Los Angeles, London and in isolation. The track was released in tandem with a brand new music video that premiered exclusively on YouTube and has four million views to date.  

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Chancellor has announced the launch of the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme, from May 4. This scheme, which is intended to help smaller businesses access necessary funds quickly, was launched in response to reports of the difficulties and delays many smaller businesses are facing in obtaining financial support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: “The ISM welcomes the announcement of the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme which might address some of the cash flow issues many businesses are facing in the creative industries.

“However recent ISM flash surveys have revealed the music sector and wider creative industries are at risk of financial ruin due to the impact of Covid-19. Many businesses are facing closure on a permanent basis as cash flow tightens. With no sign of the music sector being able to go back to work on a normal basis any time soon many will be reluctant to apply for the scheme since it will just add to their debt.”

Queen’s You Are The Champions

Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor and singer Adam Lambert have recorded a new version of We Are The Champions. It was the song Queen and Adam Lambert played for their first performance together on the May 2009 American Idol finale. 

Brian May and Roger Taylor have been performing pop-up concerts from their respective homes while in lockdown. The new version, re-titled You Are The Champions, was recorded virtually between the UK and LA. It is available on all streaming and download services.

Proceeds raised from the track will go to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO), powered by the United Nations Foundation.

“By each playing our part and addressing the difficult times we are all sharing we will win this challenge,” said the band. “During this time our thoughts and thanks are with those dedicated medical heroes standing up to the battle daily on our behalf. They are the champions. You are the champions.”

Omeara backs Save Our Venues campaign

Omeara are the latest grassroots music venue to sign up to the Save Our Venues campaign, a new initiative by the Music Venue Trust that seeks to help over 550 venues stave off the economic threat served by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Alongside the 556 other British grassroots venues signed up to the Save Our Venues campaign, Omeara now find themselves at risk of being unable to stay afloat due to the necessary demands and restrictions of physical distancing during this enforced lockdown.

Omeara founder Ben Lovett said: “When I first opened Omeara, I was fully aware of the risks involved and the challenges facing the venue sector in London, but what I hadn’t planned for was Coronavirus. We’ve had an amazing few years and we are hoping for many more of them. I have put my heart and soul, sweat, blood and tears and done everything I can, personally, to financially support Omeara, our people and the industry around us.

“Now though, we really need to ask music fans to step up and help us all through to a time when we can crack a beer, scream out our favourite lyric, wrap an arm around our sweaty friend’s shoulder, and be back in the places where I for one have never felt so alive, grassroots music venues.” 

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust’s founder and CEO, added: "The situation facing grassroots music venues across the country is dire, and in London it is especially challenging. Spaces like Omeara have a huge significance for artists and audiences and it is hugely important that we ensure that they emerge from this crisis able to continue to be a beacon for London's culture."

Fans are encouraged to show their support for Omeara and fellow grassroots venues by engaging in the #SaveOurVenues campaign, by accessing upcoming livestreams and donating to their favourite venues’ crowdfunding pages. 

Each venue has its own crowd-funding page at the site.

The wider music industry is also encouraged to donate to the main #SaveOurVenues fund.

UTA IQ survey

Data and analytics group UTA IQ has released findings of survey on media and entertainment during the coronavirus.

The study surveyed nearly 1,100 US respondents and revealed a strong shift towards a wide array of virtual events.

When asked if they had attended or watched a virtual event while distancing, more than one in four said they had already attended a livestreamed concert or musical performance, a virtual movie night or watch party, a virtual fitness class, a virtual masterclass or university course, and/or a virtual event or conference. 

The survey found that 90% of concert-goers have sought to replace the live music experience during the lockdown. Also, 55% of deprived live music fans are streaming catalogue content from their favourite artists, while 48% say they have watched footage of old performances and concerts.

The results also showed that 46% of music fans missing the live experience have tuned in to a livestream. And 28% of deprived concert-goers have paid to watch a livestream. 

Almost half of concert goers have watched content on social media to fill the live music void.

Approximately seven in 10 concert attendees who participated in a livestream concert while social distancing plan to continue doing so even after they return to live music events.

Dance music marathon

Mixcloud and Nightmares On Wax are among those backing the world’s largest ever simultaneous live stream DJ event in aid of the Last Night A DJ Saved My Life (LNADJ) Covid-19 Emergency Appeal

Set For Love is the brainchild of charity LNADJ to help raise money for those suffering from the impact of coronavirus in Africa and other developing countries.

The 72-hour event will draw together an expected collective of thousands of DJs across the globe. The dance music marathon will see DJs simultaneously get in the mix from 12am (GMT) on Friday, May 8 until midnight (GMT) on Sunday, May 10.

Mixcloud, Point Blank, Loopmasters, Loopcloud, Audiolock, Brighton Music Conference, Data Transmission, Funktion One, DanceTV, Izotope and Mixmasters are amongst those backing the campaign already.

Boomtown 2020 cancelled

Boomtown Fair has announced that it will no longer be proceeding with the 2020 event. The next instalment of the festival will now take place on August 11-15, 2021. 

Boomtown was due to return to the Matterley Estate, near Winchester, from August 12-16 for it’s 12th edition.

“Over the past few months we have been keeping a close eye on expert advice from within the UK and across the globe, as well as taking into consideration the timelines involved for safely planning and delivering the event,” said a statement. “In addition, we’ve recently been in close consultation with our local partner agencies, and emergency services, to further understand the knock on effect of the current pressures on these vital services. This has led us to the decision that Boomtown 2020 can no longer go ahead.”

The festival has confirmed that all customers 2020 tickets will remain valid for the 2021 event and will automatically roll over. The event is asking their customers who are in a position to do so, to keep their ticket for next year, or to hold off on requesting a refund for as long as is possible to help safeguard the future of the festival. 

The Tours That Never Were initiative

The team at Good As Gold PR and other names in the biz have united to launch The Tours That Never Were… a non-profit fundraiser to benefit independent and underground UK-based bands and crew, and various charities affected by the pandemic. You can read their launch statement below:

“COVID-19 has resulted in many of the UK's most hard-working underground touring acts being forced to cancel or reschedule tours - resulting in loss of income, and other financial losses due to non-refundable bookings and other expenses. Each tour cancellation also represents any number of tour managers, sound & lighting engineers, stage techs and drivers left without any income for the foreseeable future. In response to this, a group of us have created The Tours That Never Were - a non-profit fundraiser to benefit independent and underground UK-based bands and crew, and various charities.??
?We have partnered with Awesome Merchandise and Aled Philips (deputy art director at Kerrang! Magazine) to create a range of products featuring bands and artists who have had to cancel or reschedule shows between March and May 2020. All profits from the sale of the below items will be split equally between the artists signed up and their respective crews, to use as they see fit.
Thankfully, while reaching out to artists to be included in this fundraiser a number of the bands/acts noted that they have faced minimal financial hardship as a result of cancellations, and will opt to donate their split of the proceeds to charities of their choice (including NHS Together, Music Venue Trust and domestic abuse charities to name a few).” 

AIM announces The Great Escape virtual conference 

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has announced that its Great Escape Conference programme will be transitioning into a one-day event called AIM House.

It's evolution follows the success of its previous conference AIM Sync, and this new event will be used to provide a hub for indpendent music businesses in a live and interactive environment.

Set to stream May 15 on the AIM house website, the event will be free to watch and will include panels, workshops and networking sessions in three virtual rooms with speakers from Brownswood Recordings, Full Time Hobby, GigRev, Julie's Bicycle, Key Production, Ninja Tune, The Floor and Viva la Visa.

Foals, Wolf Alice, The Vaccines and more join for NHS album

It has been revealed today that Foals, Wolf Alice, Baxter Dury, The Vaccines, The Big Moon, The Wombats, Sports Team, The Magic Gang, Spector, Swim Deep, The Orielles, Nilüfer Yanya, Alfie Templeman, Oscar Lang, Pixx and Jessica Winter have joined together in support of the NHS for new charity album, Songs For The National Health.

The album will feature unreleased songs, remixes and covers by the artists, and all profits made from the album will go towards funding PPE for hospitals and NHS key workers.

Together with Dr. Natalie Watson from the University Hospital Lewisham, the money will be donated to her new charity Hoods for Heroes with a target of £30,000. It is hoped that this will help provide powered air purifying respirators for Lewisham Greenwich NHS Trust and university Hospital Crosshouse, Scotland. 

Any additonal money will be provided to other hospitals who are in need. The album is available to pre-order here.

Sadiq Khan announces emergency fund

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a brand new £2.3 million emergency fund in order to support creative industries who have been hit by effects of the pandemic.

The fund will include a £450,000 donation to the Music Venue Trust initiative #saveourvenues, which was recently launched. £225,000 will go towards supporting 56 LGBTQ+ venues in partnership with LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, and £1.5 million will go to Creative Land Trust to support 200 artists studios workspaces.

For the BFI, £150,000 will be donated to help up to 25 of London's independent cinemas.

It is hoped that the fund will help up to 147 grassroots music venues in London which are at risk of going into administration and are not able to benefit from the Goverments available schemes.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on every aspect of life in London, and that includes our culture, creative industries and night time economy. These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.

"I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the Government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future.”

Record Store Day split over three dates

Record Store Day will no longer be going ahead on June 20, as the coronavirus crisis has forced a second date change.

Having announced a postponement to June from April 18 back in March, Record Store Day has now confirmed three separate ‘drop dates’ for this year’s limited releases.

Titles will be available in participating record shops on three separate Saturdays: August 29, September 26 and October 24. Click here for the full story.

BTS postpone world tour

BTS have postponed the whole of their 2020 Map Of The Soul tour as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The K-pop group had already postponed the opening leg of the tour in South Korea.

BTS were due to play Twickenham Stadium on July 3-4.

Promoter Live Nation said: “Unfortunately, due to the ongoing government advisories on mass gatherings, BTS Map Of The Soul Tour – Europe has been postponed. Our highest priority remains the safety of our artists and fans as well as the global community.”

IMPALA’s roadmap to recovery

IMPALA has set out a roadmap for the EU and member states to boost investment, growth and jobs through music and the cultural sectors.

The trade body says music and the cultural sectors account for 12m jobs and 5.3% GVA (gross value added). 
IMPALA has proposed a timeline with 10 steps designed to combine with the EU's own recovery planning. This roadmap forms the basis of a five-year recovery strategy.

Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, said: “As life across Europe gradually takes on some level of normality, a recovery timeline is needed for the cultural sectors. Coming out of the crisis will be challenging, and at the same time it is an opportunity for growth. The key is putting the right financial and non-financial tools in place to promote investment in creativity. Our roadmap is about acting now to build a recovery plan for the next 5 years and beyond.” 

Frank Turner benefit for Huddersfield venue

Frank Turner is to livestream a benefit show in aid of a small venue under threat of closure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Parish in Huddersfield has said on its crowdfunding page that it would not be able to survive a lockdown longer than 12 weeks. 

Turner’s performance on his YouTube channel takes place at 8.30pm BST on Thursday (April 30).

Radio 3 musical postcards

As part of the BBC cross-platform virtual arts festival Culture in Quarantine, Radio 3 has asked 20 composers to respond to the current world-wide health crisis with short musical messages of hope. 

The station has commissioned the artists to write 30-second pieces for solo instrumentalists.

Alan Davey, controller, BBC Radio 3, said: “With Postcards from Composers, we are showcasing and supporting the breadth and creativity of the contemporary British composing scene, at the same time giving our audiences a short daily moment of hope, as news comes in and lots of people in lockdown turn to classical music in search of relief.”

The series has been running this week as part of the Radio 3 Breakfast programme. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood’s piece for cello will air on Thursday (April 30), followed by Kuljit Bhamra’s postcard for table (May 1).

Loud And Quiet Magazine

The team at Loud And Quiet magazine have issued a statement explaining that the title is at risk of closing down and has come up with a new subscriber package in order to help it survive. You can read it in full below:

"Dear readers,

Since the COVID-19 crisis hit we’ve been trying to work out how to keep Loud And Quiet going. Or, should I say, if we can keep it going.

Most recently, you may have noticed that this month’s edition of the magazine was not published as planned. In the current climate, it’s probably no surprise. For one, all of the stores and venues we stock in remain closed, their businesses suffering as much as anyone else’s. But there’s long been a bigger problem that we’ve faced – our dependency on advertising to fund everything we do, from the mag to the site to the podcasts. Needless to say, with the cancellations of festivals and live shows, the delay of record releases, and general uncertainty across the board, our advertisers (and therefore our revenue stream) disappeared overnight as soon as the lockdown kicked in in March.

We knew this was going to happen, just as we’ve known for the last 15 years how vulnerable our position is in making a print magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

For a long time (until 2018, in fact) we felt too embarrassed to ask our readers for help. Since we have, many of you have responded by subscribing to the magazine, for which we are extremely grateful. But the truth is that we need more of our readers to sign up, to be able to break away from an unsustainable model where we’re banking on advertisers each month and undervaluing our work. This is especially going to be important once the pandemic is over, as many companies will have even less to spend on advertising than before. 

Of course, we’re not the only ones in real trouble within the music industry. From venues and promoters who feel like they can’t put a ticket price on the door anymore, to artists playing for low fees and battling with streaming services, it’s all felt like it’s been hanging by a thread for years. Hopefully, one of the positives to come out of coronavirus (within society as a whole, but especially within the arts) will be a reset in what we consider a fair price for the things we love. 

So below is what we’ve come up with as a new subscriber package. It really is our only chance of survival.

If enough people sign up, Loud And Quiet will continue from August. If not, our issue released last month will be our final edition and we will close down.

If you are a reader/listener who enjoys what we do, and if you can afford it, now is your chance to save us. 

Thank you for reading and supporting independent music journalism. Underground media and culture can survive COVID-19 if enough of us really want it to.”

Jazz FM Awards

The Jazz FM Awards ceremony has been postponed until the autumn. The event was originally scheduled to take place at Shoreditch Town Hall next month.

Speaking about the decision, Jazz FM content director Nick Pitts said: “Having consulted with the wider Jazz FM Awards team and our sponsors, we have made this tough but correct decision to postpone the ceremony slated for 27th May at the Shoreditch Town Hall. We wish this were not the case but it would be irresponsible to not put the safety of all our guests, performers, staff, sponsors and partners above all else. We’ll be moving the event to later in the year, when we and the jazz community are able to safely gather in one space to hand out the Awards and celebrate in the usual style. I would like to take this moment to thank our key partners and sponsors – Serious, PPL, PRS for Music, Mishcon de Reya, Arqiva, Cambridge Audio, British Airways, Oanda and Shoreditch Town Hall – for agreeing to continue to support the Jazz FM Awards over this longer period of time, and the Awards team and I are looking forward to creating a new event later in the year to celebrate all that is good about jazz, soul and blues when it is safe to do so.”

PRS Emergency Relief Fund raises over £2.1m

PRS for Music has announced that the PRS Emergency Relief Fund has raised over £2.1m to help its members severely financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Since its launch in March, the PRS Emergency Relief Fund, formed in collaboration with PRS for Music’s charity partners PRS Foundation and PRS Members’ Fund, has helped over 3,000 songwriters and composers, with more than £1.2m paid out so far.

To further fundraising efforts and raise awareness of the PRS Emergency Relief Fund, PRS Presents Lckdwn, a 24-hour virtual gig featuring over 50 artists took place online on April 24. Viewers from more than 60 countries tuned in to see the likes of Tom Walker, Big Narstie, Alfie Boe, Nadia Rose, Joy Crookes, Katie Melua, Nitin Sawhney, Roachford,

Linda Perry, Black Futures, KT Tunstall, DJ SKT, Oscar Jerome, Yizzy, Tim Wheeler and Shadow Child perform.

Andrea C Martin, CEO, PRS for Music (pictured), said: “We have seen first-hand the difference the PRS Emergency Relief Fund has made and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated so far. Our members are under threat as many parts of the music scene grind to a halt. They need to eat, support their families and pay rent – without industry support the future is challenging during this terrible time. Together we can get through this.”

John Logan, general secretary, PRS Members' Fund, said: “It has been inspiring to see so many people in our industry and beyond getting behind the PRS Emergency Relief Fund. The PRS Members’ Fund has provided support to songwriters and composers for over 80 years and we’re proud that we can continue to do so throughout this incredibly trying time for all.” 

Iconic Amoeba Music store won’t re-open

Amoeba Music has announced that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the closure of its iconic Hollywood location at Sunset Boulevard.

In a statement, the company said: “With no reasonably foreseeable opportunity to re-open in our current location, we are instead focusing on hopefully opening in the [autumn] in our previously announced new home at 6200 Hollywood Blvd. This situation has been forced on all of us, and we feel this decision is the most responsible and practical one.

“This is heartbreaking for us. We never envisioned not being able to give the store the send-off it deserves, to give you all a chance to say goodbye. We had so many events planned to celebrate our history at 6400 Sunset! But we are facing too many mitigating circumstances that simply won't allow for it.” 

Canvasback Music’s Dylan cover to show Covid-19 solidarity

Canvasback Music, Atlantic Records, Parlophone, Transgressive Records and Infectious Music recording artists have come together for a performance of Bob Dylan’s Shelter From The Storm. The cover is streaming now on Atlantic Records’ official YouTube channel.

Based on an idea conceived in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, Canvasback-signed acts in the US including Alt-J, Grouplove, Jealous Of The Birds, Briston Maroney, Benjamin Scheuer and Sofia D’Angelo joined forces to record their performances from around the world, with the aim to show solidarity with fellow musicians, crews and fans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cover is intended to inspire hope, as well as encourage support for the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund and Help Musicians UK.

Alt-J said: “We are really happy to be involved in this project. It's lovely to get to play music with musicians on the same label as us; some of whom we know, some of whom we don't. It was a new challenge recording this at home separately, even separately from each other, but we think the result is lovely and we hope that it brings a smile to people's faces at this tricky time. Lots of love."

Sofar Sounds’ online listening room

Sofar Sounds has launched an online ‘listening room’ to help support independent artists uniquely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The online space was created after the company – which stages around 10,000 intimate concerts a year, across 400 cities – was forced to suspend all its shows, directly impacting more than 2,000 musicians.

The listening room features livestream performances and video premieres, as well as conversations with musicians.

Sofar Sounds has also pledged financial support, promising to pay its artists for cancelled gigs while launching a Global Artists Fund, with the initial goal of raising $250,000.

“Our whole focus right now is on how we can support artists and give them a broader stage to engage with an audience and with each other,” said Sofar Sounds CEO Jim Lucchese.

The National debut concert film

The National have debuted a concert film during their weekly An Exciting Communal Event series, which airs at 10pm BST every Monday via YouTube Live.

The National - Guilty Party: Basilica Hudson was captured in July 2017 as part of the launch of the band’s album campaign for Sleep Well Beast.

The series aims to drive donations to The National road crew financial relief cause. The band’s profits from their webstore and fan club enrollment will be directed to subsidising the lost wages for their 12 crew members until the end of this crisis.

“Our crew are the lifeblood of our touring operation and have become family through the many years we’ve worked together,” said the band. “As uncertainty looms over the state of the live concert industry, we will direct all profits from merch sales through our webstore, new Cherry Tree fan club enrollments, and sales from the Cherry Tree members-only store to support our crew members throughout this crisis to the best of our ability.”

TikTok in-app donations

TikTok has announced the launch of Donation Stickers, a new in-app donation feature that creators can include in their videos and livestreams to raise funds for the charities and causes they care most about. It follows the launch of a similar feature by Spotify.

Help Musicians is one of the first UK charities to have dedicated donation stickers in this initial launch. All donations will go towards the charity’s ongoing hardship funding for musicians affected by coronavirus.

Available in select countries, Donation Stickers are clickable donation buttons that can be embedded directly in videos and TikTok Lives, like other stickers on the platform. Donation Stickers are enabled in-app by Tiltify, a fundraising platform which will process and manage user donations securely. Only users 18+ are able to donate.

Globally, TikTok will be matching users' donations made through Donation Stickers, until May 27, 2020. All fundraising will go towards the Help Musicians and select charities from around the world, participating in this initial launch. This contribution builds on TikTok’s wider support for the music industry, having recently donated $2m to MusiCares.

Paul Hourican, head of music operations UK, TikTok, said: “With gigs cancelled and venues closed, there's no doubt that artists have been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Connecting artists and their music with fans has always been at the heart of TikTok, so we wanted to do our bit to help them access the support they need to get them through this crisis. By working with Help Musicians, we hope that the collective contribution from TikTok and our community will play a part in preserving the UK's vibrant and diverse music industry in these challenging times." 

James Ainscough, CEO, Help Musicians, said: “We are delighted to be supported by TikTok at a time when musicians and music creators need us more than ever. Phase one of our hardship support, The Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, received and processed 17,000 applications, which begins to highlight the scale of the issue. As well as further hardship funding and new creative funding opportunities, we will be working hard to provide musicians with mental health support (the Music Minds Matter helpline plus new wellbeing resources) and structured business advice to ensure that musicians can continue to grow their income in the long term. We have seen incredible collaboration in the music industry and it is with fundraising such as this that we can continue to make a meaningful difference to musicians when they need us most.”

Latitude 2020 cancelled

Festival Republic's Latitude has become the latest festival to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was due to have taken place at Henham Park, Suffolk from July 16-19 with headliners Haim, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers. 

A statement by organisers said: "We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation and it’s become clear that it’s just not possible for this year’s festival to go ahead. Our heart goes out to the fans, artists, suppliers, performers, volunteers – our entire Latitude family."

Bravado launches face mask range

Bravado has unveiled their We’ve Got You Covered e-commerce site, offering fans reusable, washable, cloth face masks. The face masks were made in partnership with artists across the UMG family, including 5 Seconds Of Summer, Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, Queen and Slipknot.

Fans can purchase face masks for $15 at All net proceeds will support the music community through various charity partners around the world including MusiCares and Help Musicians. 

Mat Vlasic, CEO of Bravado, said: “I’m humbled and grateful to work with artists and partners who are passionate and driven to deliver a program that supports those that need it most during this unprecedented time. This initiative will continue to grow and evolve thanks to the hard work from everyone here at Bravado and UMG along with our artists across the globe.” 

Heaton and Abbot sing for care workers

Paul Heaton and Jacquie Abbott have announced a special one-off gig for care workers.

The concert takes places at Sheffield City Hall on October 28, 2020.

A total of 2,000 tickets are available to care workers who are members of either GMB or Unison. Union members can apply for two tickets each and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Spotify wellbeing platform

Spotify has launched Daily Wellness, a platform described as a mindful mix of music and podcasts, refreshed for listeners morning and night on lockdown.

The new playlist has a focus on upbeat, motivational content in the morning and more relaxing mixes in the evening.

Creative Industries Federation calls for more funding

Over 400 leading names from across the UK’s creative industries have sent a letter to the Chancellor and Culture Secretary calling for urgent funding for the creative sector, describing the “thousands of creative organisations and professionals who are falling through the gaps of existing government support measures in light of Covid-19”.

The letter, from the Creative Industries Federation, warns that that government must “act, and act fast” to avoid the UK becoming “a cultural wasteland”. It has received support of signatories from across the UK’s creative sector, including the Royal Albert Hall, Somerset House, FIlm Birmingham, Royal Opera House, Royal Northern College of Music, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tatty Devine, Tate, Penguin Random House, the Roundhouse, Northern Ireland Screen, Scottish Ballet and Lionsgate.

Lennon Stella virtual lockdown

Canadian artist Lennon Stella will mark the release of her debut album with an exclusive virtual lockdown event on QJAM.

Stella has invited her fans to an online meet & greet and digital signing of Three Two One on April 27 at 7.30pm (UK).

The new app launched recently with Liam Payne and was experienced by 10,000 fans in 67 different countries.

ISM Covid-19 survey 

The ISM’s latest flash survey, which focuses on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), suggests businesses and organisations in the music sector are at significant risk due to lack of robust and timely financial support. 

Of all of the music businesses and organisations that completed the survey, not one reported a successful application to the CBILS scheme. Almost half of the respondents are still waiting to hear the outcome of their application, despite some having applied in March.

More than a third reported that if they do not receive financial support within as little as a week, they will need to make their entire workforce redundant. Over 25% said they are at risk of complete closure.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: “The results of the ISM’s latest flash survey demonstrates that the CBILS scheme is not fit for purpose and is putting the music sector at significant financial risk. Covid-19 has already had a devastating impact on the music sector with many venues and theatres having closed their doors, festivals and concerts being cancelled and many of the music workforce having lost work overnight. The music sector will feel the long-lasting effects of this crisis even when the lockdown is lifted, as it is unlikely that normal activities will resume, particularly if social distancing rules are still in place and mass gatherings are not permitted. The UK Government has overlooked the music sector and creative industries during this crisis but is providing financial support up to £10 million to the fishing industry to prevent its collapse. The fishing industry contributes £1.4 billion to the UK economy compared to the music industry which is worth £5.2 billion and together with the creative industries is worth £111.7 billion. The same financial intervention should be granted to the arts when it is clear how critical they are to the UK economy and its soft power.”

Virtual Songwriters Circle

The Songwriters Circle show has gone virtual during the pandemic. It was previously staged at The Roundhouse, featuring Sacha Skarbek, The Shires, Jamie Lawson, Fiona Bevan, Lady V, Twinnie and Jim Duguid.

The Online Songwriters Circle will launch on April 29 at 8pm in aid of the Roundhouse Trust and their #RoundYourHouse campaign. 

The show will include Jamie Hartman, Jon Green and Jeff Cohen.

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