BPI launches £1.5m Covid-19 hardship fund backed by UK music industry

BPI launches £1.5m Covid-19 hardship fund backed by UK music industry

UK labels and streaming services have committed £1.5 million to provide hardship funding to musicians in need.

Coordinated by the BPI, the funding comes on top of individual company initiatives to help artists and the wider music community through the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total donation of £1.5 million will be made by UK record companies Sony Music Entertainment UK, Warner Music UK and Universal Music UK, independent record labels Cherry Red and Demon Music Group, the BRIT Awards, Amazon Music and music licensing company PPL to the Help Musicians’ Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund and to other initiatives that are supporting artists. Other streaming services and labels are set to come on board with financial contributions.

The majority of the donation (£1.25m) will go directly to Help Musicians, enabling the organisation to reach a further 2,500 musicians in need of immediate financial help. In addition to this, £250,000 has also been set aside to support musicians through other channels, including other wellbeing charities and support to the grassroots live sector.

The BPI said it will welcome additional contributions to these causes from its members, partners and third parties.

As Music Week has reported, artists have been severely impacted by the cancellation of live concerts and recording sessions, disruption to release schedules, and the closure of record stores and music venues.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: “All sectors of the music industry have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but grassroots artists who rely on festivals, touring and recording sessions for the bulk of their income are particularly hard hit. The UK’s record labels, digital services such as Amazon Music and music organisations including PPL have already done a great deal individually to support the people they work with, but we also recognise the need for an additional collective effort to support those who face the most immediate threat to their livelihoods, to add to the welcome measures announced by the government.

“The music community always comes together when called upon, and we hope this further contribution drawn from all parts of the industry will help to sustain artists in need through this very difficult time.”

The BPI-co-ordinated top up means the Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, which has received well over 17,000 applications in just two weeks, will be able to make grants to a further 2,500 musicians in hardship. The fund was created by Help Musicians to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that many professional musicians are currently facing and aims to help reduce the worry many musicians are experiencing about their mounting household expenses. 

James Ainscough, CEO Help Musicians, said: “Musicians’ continuing need for emergency financial relief saw the Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund surpass 17,000 applications in two weeks. It is only thanks to the generous input of the UK’s record labels, streaming services, BRIT Awards and PPL, as co-ordinated by the BPI, that we are able to process these applications and support many more musicians over its original £5m target. This incredible donation will allow us to help a further 2,500 musicians facing immediate crisis and provide essential support to those in need. 

“Help Musicians has worked hard to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians for nearly 100 years. Our work has never been more vital or relevant and it is only though partnership and collaboration from many in the music industry that we are able to make the biggest possible difference at this crucial time.” 

The Irish music industry has launched a hardship fund with assistance from Spotify.

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