Times are tough for musicians. Live gigs everywhere have been canceled and sources of income have been stripped away seemingly overnight. Luckily, the good folks over at Slice have put together a great curated list of resources for musicians affected by COVID-19. From financial assistance to mental health support, the list covers resources that touch your economic and emotional wellness as musicians.
With music being so near and dear to us, we feel compelled to do whatever we can to help disseminate this information and help as many musicians out there as possible. Slice is updating the list each Monday for the foreseeable future with new resources, so be sure to check the list at Slice at least weekly.
Head Above Music will be adding more resources as the days move ahead. We will also be sharing a % of our monthly revenue with the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, here in Boulder, Colorado.
Emergency funding and other financial resources
Below are some foundations, funds, and resources for those struggling financially due to the impact of COVID-19.
- Equal Sound: The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund was set up on short notice to provide direct financial assistance to musicians who have lost work as a result of coronavirus-related event cancellations.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who can provide a W9 form and a PDF of proof of cancelled work.
- MusiCares: The Recording Academy and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares have established a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help members of the music community affected by the outbreak.
- Who it’s for: Applicants with at least one of the following: (1) at least five years of employment in the music industry, (2) at least six commercially-released recordings, or (3) at least six commercially or promotionally-released music videos.
- Sweet Relief: Sweet Relief is a donor-directed fund for musicians and music industry workers affected by COVID-19. Funds raised go towards medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food, and other vital living expenses.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who receive at least 50% of their annual income from music work; if under 55 years old, applicants must also demonstrate a serious medical condition with doctor’s proof.
- The Musicians Foundation: The Musicians Foundation offers grants to U.S. musicians who are in a time of acute need due to personal, family, medical, dental, natural disaster, or other emergency situations.
- Who it’s for: Applicants living in the United States who have been employed in the music industry for at least five years and can demonstrate acute financial need.
- The American Guild of Musical Artists: The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) is a labor union that is supporting artists from numerous disciplines with a new relief fund that provides financial assistance through March 31st to support those impacted by COVID-19.
- Who it’s for: AGMA members with a need for financial assistance who can provide a copy of their most recent bank statement or current lease or mortgage statement.
- The New York Foundation for the Arts: The New York Foundation for the Arts has a running list of additional emergency funding opportunities for artists, categorized by disciplines.
- Who it’s for: Though guidelines vary from fund to fund, the majority of the resources listed apply to applicants who both reside within and outside of New York.
- Legal Aid at Work: Legal Aid at Work lays out ways suddenly unemployed workers can receive legal support.
- The U.S. Department of Labor: The Department of Labor provides guidelines and resources to those experiencing unemployment in the United States due to COVID-19.
- The American Federation of Musicians: The American Federation of Musicians has set up a page to help artists identify unemployment benefits.
- The Safety Net Fund (San Francisco Bay Area): The Safety Net Fund is a non-profit designed to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who live in the Bay Area, can provide proof of artistic endeavor within the last six months, are ineligible for unemployment, and have less than $1,000 of income within the last 30 days.
- The Boston Music Maker Relief Fund (Massachusetts): The Boston Music Maker Relief Fund provides financial relief to Boston-area music makers.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who live in the Greater Boston area (as defined by The Boston Foundation “Catchment Area”) who are experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19.
- The Metro Area Artist Relief Fund (Colorado): The Metro Area Artist Relief Fund provides financial aid to artists whose events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who live in the Denver metro area who are individual artists (e.g. not non-profits or organizations).
- Max’s Kansas City Project (New York):This project provides emergency funding and resources to professionals in the creative arts.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who live in New York state who can provide work samples, a letter of referral from a colleague in their field, and income verification.
- Queer Relief (Berlin): Created by the queer community in Berlin, this application was created to help offer support for those who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, womxn, sex workers, refugees, and other marginalized individuals (i.e. BiPoC) will receive priority.
- Help Musicians (United Kingdom): Help Musicians is an independent UK charity that is supporting both active and retired professional musicians.
- Who it’s for: Applicants who live in the United Kingdom who have savings that do not exceed £16,000 (rare exceptions may be made; for example, the limit is a higher £20,000 for retirees).
Mental health resources
Below are some resources for those struggling emotionally or mentally due to the impact of COVID-19.
- Music Industry Therapists Collective: MITC provides a network of therapists with deep experience in music business, touring, navigating artist finances, etc.
- Backline: Backline connects music industry professionals with a network of mental health and wellness providers.
- Light Hope Life: Light Hope Life is a mental health and suicide prevention foundation with a new application form for artists and musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Care For Your Coronavirus Anxiety: This community provides a wealth of research-backed resources for those struggling mentally, physically, or emotionally with the COVID-19 outbreak.
- NAMI: NAMI provides advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: This network provides a directory of QTPoC mental health practitioners working in agencies, community-based clinics, and private practice.
- The Parent Artist Advocate League: The Parent Artist Advocate League offers action items and resources geared to support artists impacted by COVID-19 who have families.
Alternative avenues for music performance
Below are some ways you can continue to perform music if you’ve been impacted by the widespread cancellation of concerts, shows, and events.
Platforms for hosting digital music experiences:
- YouTube Live: YouTube Live provides an easy way to reach your audience in real-time, allowing for livestreams that feature live chat and donations.
- Twitch: Twitch, primarily known for hosting gaming livestreams, has crafted a platform where musicians can stream concerts and works-in-progress and monetize their work through donations and subscriptions.
- Patreon: Patreon allows for users with pages to livestream to their contributors.
- YouNow: YouNow is a streaming platform that allows for donations and subscriptions.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a social broadcasting platform for gaming, entertainment, and the creative arts that allows subscriptions and in-app donations.
- Crowdcast: Crowdcast is a platform that allows for flexibility on whether livestreams are free or paid, unlimited or limited in audience size, etc.
- Run the World: Best used for large-scale events, Run the World allows for fireside chats with guests, direct-messaging among attendees, and virtual ‘cocktail parties.’
- Moment House: Moment House is a platform that allows for the ability to create ticketed live events and livestreams.
- StageIt: Like Moment House, StageIt allows for users to create ticketed live events and livestreams.
Tutorials and events:
- How to plan a virtual event: Vimeo’s live production experts tell all: On March 26th, Vimeo is hosting a live broadcast on how to host virtual events.
- The best services and settings for remote music lessons (with step-by-step instructions): This article lists the best practices and opportunities for musicians to host remote lessons.
- How musicians (and other creatives too) can transition their businesses online ASAP: Suzanne Yada walks through how musicians can find work online.
- A comprehensive list of tips, tools, and examples for event organizers during the coronavirus outbreak: This article provides guidance on how event organizers can best cancel and reschedule events in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Ways of gathering in the age of COVID-19 | A guide to livestreaming on HowlRound TV: HowlRound TV offers advice and resources for artists who are looking to plan livestream events.
- Here are all the live streams & virtual concerts to watch during coronavirus crisis: Billboard offers a guide on some of the best official virtual live concerts happening in 2020.
- A list of live virtual concerts to watch during the coronavirus shutdown: NPR also provides their own list of live virtual musical performances from around the world, categorized by date and genre.
What you can do to help
If you’re in a position where you’re able and willing to help others, here are some things you can do.
- COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO: This fund supports the World Health Organizaton’s work to track and understand the spread of COVID-19, ensure patients and frontline workers get the care they need, and accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments.
- Funds to Support Performers Affected by COVID-19: This crowdsourced fund supports performers who’ve lost income due to show cancellations.
- Artist Relief Tree: The Artist Relief Tree is a crowdfunded platform raising money for artists affected by COVID-19.
- The Jazz Foundation: The Jazz Foundation’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund provides housing assistance, pro bono medical care, disaster relief, and direct financial support in times of crisis.
- Banding Together ATX: This fund helps provide financial relief to those in the Austin live music community who have been economically impacted by the cancellation of SXSW and COVID-19.
- Seattle Artists Relief Fund Amid COVID-19: This fund is aimed at helping those in the greater Seattle arts community who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19.
- The Local 802 Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund: The Local 802 Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in New York providing financial support and social services to musicians.
- Music Maker Relief Foundation (Southern United States): Music Maker is a foundation that supports American musicians in the South, providing healthcare, housing, and relief.
Petitions and surveys:
- Government to offer economic assistance to the events industry during COVID-19: This petition calls for the U.K. government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry.
- COVID-19 federal aid package for events industry: This petition calls for the U.S. government to provide a federal aid package to those in the events industry impacted by COVID-19.
- American Association of Independent Music: The American Association of Independent Music is garnering responses in a survey to be sent to the NYC mayor’s office to provide relief for musicians.
- NYC Office of Nightlife: The NYC Office of Nightlife is administering a survey to assess the need for financial relief for businesses struck by the mandatory closures in NYC.
- Music Venue Trust: Via surveys, information sharing, and representation, Music Venue Trust is offering sector support for grassroots music venues in the United Kingdom in effort to sustain them through the impacts of COVID-19.
Other lists that highlight resources
Our list wouldn’t have been possible without these incredible resources.
- COVID-19 freelance artist resources: An extensive list consisting of legal information, resources, funding, and grants for artists impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Supporting musicians and live professionals during COVID-19: She Shred’s list of resources specifically geared towards musicians and touring artists.
- List of arts resources during the COVID-19 outbreak: A collection of resources for all artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Virtual music events directory: A comprehensive directory that showcases alternative avenues for music performance.
- COVID-19 resources for the artist organization field: A detailed list of resources for artists across all disciplines.
- COVID19 grassroots relief models: A list of resources that provide relief for freelancers impacted by COVID-19.
- A state-by-state resource guide for music professionals who need help during coronavirus crisis: Billboard’s list of resources for music industry professionals.
- COVID-19 resources and information for musicians: SMASH’s (Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare) list of COVID-19 resources that are specifically relevant to musicians.
- Database of localized resources during corona outbreak: A list of resources organized by region that provide safety guidelines and ways to combat the virus.
If you feel there’s a valuable resource, please pass this information to the people that can use it the most and help those most in need.