As COVID-19 continues to grow in the New Orleans area, our local musicians and clubs are facing unprecedented challenges. New Orleanians know how to come together and support each other in trying times-- just, this time, we have to maintain physical distance. Below, we've outlined some of the resources available to artists impacted by COVID-19, as well as ways music fans can do our part to support.
Buy music!!! We can't stress this one enough. Buying directly from the artist puts the most money in their pocket. Sites like Bandcamp, CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon are good for browsing and purchases. Be sure to check out the artist's website for the most direct purchase option. Local record labels, too! Buying merch is another great way to support your favorite musicians. And if you already have all of the regular releases, songdap.com offers customized songs from many local musicians.
If you're missing the "live" experience, follow bands and artists on their social media. Many are streaming their performances and offering "tip jars" via Venmo or other mobile payment services. Share these experiences, or share the music/videos you love with your friends on social media. Everyone is looking for something to do these days-- discovering new music is a great way to pass time. Check out today's, and upcoming, listings at the WWOZ OnlineWire.
Donate to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. The New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic has provided medical care to musicians and performing artists in New Orleans for more than 21 years. They offer occupational and comprehensive health services for musicians, performers, cultural workers and tradition bearers of New Orleans (Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid & Pleasure Club Members). They serve any patient over the age of 19 and their family, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. The NOMC also accepts private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation's Music Relief Fund. The fund is open to Louisiana musicians who depend on performances as a substantial part of their income.
The New Orleans Business Association has started a relief fund for gig economy workers that live in Orleans Parish. The application and full criteria and requirements are listed at this link. Currently awards rage from $500 to $1000.
Support MusiCares' Emergency Financial Assistance Program. This program provides critical funds for music people struggling with financial, medical or personal crises. This program offers financial assistance for medical expenses including doctor, dental and hospital bills, prescriptions, addiction recovery treatment, psychotherapy, treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other critical illnesses, as well as basic living expenses such as rent and utilities. On March 17, the Recording Academy and MusiCares launched their coronavirus specific relief fund, which can be donated and applied to at this link.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has released information for workers in Louisiana who have been impacted by COVID-19. Those who are eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits will also qualify for SNAP benefits.
As a worker, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance if:
- Your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to Coronavirus.
- Your workplace closes temporarily, and you are not being compensated.
- You have been instructed not to go to work, and you are not being paid while at home.
If any of these situations apply to you, you can file a claim for unemployment insurance by visiting www.louisianaworks.net/hire or calling 866-783-5567. Be sure to answer "yes" to the question, “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19?" This will provide needed information to the LWC to help process your claim.
Track your losses! While there is still much uncertainty on how artists may recoup money lost from canceled events and tours, artists should be diligent in tracking the impact of COVID-19 on their work and income. Be sure to document records of cancellations, losses from ticket sales and refunds, and any other relevant from COVID-19. Though it is unclear what financial assistance for artists might look like in the future, equipping yourself with this information can help you make a case for yourself should a solution arrive.
The United States Small Business Administration will provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
The American Federation of Musicians offers assistance for musicians fighting to recover from natural disasters.
The Jazz Foundation has a Musicians' Emergency Fund, This fund provides housing assistance, pro bono medical care, disaster relief and direct financial support in times of crisis.
Louisiana Workforce Commission's Rapid Response Unit is available for assistance concerning temporary or permanent layoffs due to Covid-19. Workers who are impacted by closures or reduced hours may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Please see this flyer for information on how to qualify for support.
COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resource is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. The aggregated list contains a massive amount of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options at the national, state, local, and private levels.
CERF+ Emergency Relief Fund: Artists who have suffered from a recent, career threatening emergency, such as an illness, accident, fire or natural disaster, can apply for funding. CERF+ also has a list of resources centered around the pandemic.
Rauschenberg Emergency Grants for medical emergencies
The Blues Foundation Handy Artists Relief Trust Fund is available to Blues musicians and their families who are in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns.
Musicians' Foundation provides grants to U.S. musicians in any genre in a time of acute need due to personal, medical, dental, or family crisis, natural disaster, or other emergency situation.
Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund - This emergency fund can provide up to $200 for people of color that are either working artist or art administration and are affected by COVID-19.
Resources from I Care If You Listen
Artists' Fellowship - A charitable foundation that financially assists professional visual artists and their families in times of emergency, disability or bereavement.
US-based finance firm Sound Royalties, LLC has announced a new $20m fund from which music creators impacted by Coronavirus can obtain no-fee royalty advances. Musicians will be able to obtain advances from the $20m pot through April 16, or until the money is depleted.
The Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation awards grants of up to $1,000 to support service and hospitality industry employees who are primary caregivers for dependent children and elderly parents.
Culture Aid Nola is working to provide direct relief to workers in the culture and hospitality sectors. CAN's priority is assisting culture and hospitality workers who may not meet the requirements of other aid programs, such as waiters, bartenders, dishwashers, tour guides, street performers, musicians and artists during the COVID-19 crises. Participants will be directed to sign up via form on the CAN website (www.cultureaidnola.org) and will receive an email telling them when and where to pick up their meal kits. Meal kit items will vary week to week, but will usually include protein, produce, and grain based items.
Sign up for aid: https://forms.gle/
Sign up to volunteer: https://forms.gle/
Sign up to donate food: https://docs.google.com/forms/
New Music Solidarity Fund: $500 emergency assistance grants to help new/creative/improvised music freelancers whose livelihood has been threatened as a result of canceled performances (opens March 31, First Come, First Served)
More ideas? Have a virtual gig you're looking to promote? Please add it in the comments!
Take care of yourselves and each other. We're all in this together.