The Industry

Industry Response: 11 Organisations Helping Artists During the COVID-19 Pandemic

21st April 2020

Here are a few examples of how certain industry bodies are bolstering our community during these challenging times, how to access resources and who to turn to with questions about how COVID-19 and various government restrictions impact you.

If you are like me, uncertainty can be more anxiety-inducing than pretty much any outcome, as there seems to be no way to plan or brainstorm a solution.

The current global pandemic has made a lot of things seem scary or dangerous; the lack of foresight into what will proverbially come next and how to manage this ‘new world’ we will eventually find ourselves in can be put firmly into the category of ‘stressful’.  Yet, one of the reassuring and, dare it be said, inspiring outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic has been to see how the music and entertainment industries have pulled together to provide hope, resources and even the framework for individuals, companies and artists to ‘pivot’ their previous strategies within the new economy thrust upon us.

1) Association of Independent Music (AIM)

The non-profit organisation has set up a support fund for contractors and freelance workers in the independent music industry whose source of income has been severed without warning due to lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund has been instigated by AIM Board members and launched with assets of £500,000 already committed from AIM and its community. AIM has a target to distribute £1m to 1000 workers within two months.

The AIM fund is open to any contractor due to work with new and developing artists currently signed to AIM member labels who have lost committed income because of cancelled projects with those artists and who does not qualify for other music industry hardship funds on offer. This critical part of the music industry ecosystem includes tour crews, studio producers, mixing engineers, radio pluggers, graphic designers, stylists, photographers, publicists and so on. AIM member labels will invite signed artists and their managers to nominate candidates to be pre-approved on this basis. More information on this fund is available here.

AIM has also created a business guidance document for Music SMEs within the industry, which can be used as a focal point for the latest information and advice regarding COVID-19. The extensive resource can be accessed by anyone and includes information on everything from funding programmes to events, government support, lobbying and wellbeing. You can read the guidance here.

2) Authors Licensing and Collection Society (ACLS)

ALCS, along with the Royal Literary Fund, the T S Eliot Foundation, English PEN and Amazon UK, has contributed to the £330,000 Society of Authors’ Emergency Fund, which will make grants to provide financial support for authors affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

3) Help Musicians

This independent UK charity supports artists at every stage of their career. Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund was quickly set up to provide immediate financial relief to musicians while Government support options were revealed. They also have key information and updates about COVID-19.

Help Musicians have also set up a separate site dedicated solely to issues facing artists during the pandemic. Topics range from working at home to legal advice and is updated on a regular basis.

4) Ivors Academy

The talent collective – composed of musicians, songwriters and composers across all styles and genres – have created an amazing resource for those working from home. The Remote Recording Directory is a database that lists professional self-recording instrumentalists and vocalists along with technical roles including music editors, orchestrators, copyists and record/mixing and mastering engineers.

Those interested can be added to the Directory by providing their skills, experience and consent for their details to be shared publicly.  Composers can access the Directory here.

5) MIDia Research

MIDiA Research is an organisation that works with start-ups and global mega-companies alike to create, promote and analysis technology and content.  They are offering a variety of information, materials and resources, based on research they have been conducting during these unprecedented times, such as their report on ‘The Self-Isolation Entertainment Boom.’.

They have a newsletter which is free to sign up to and offers the latest information on trends, consumer behaviour and hard data that is priceless when planning any part of a campaign or pitch.

6) Music Minds Matter

Are you just feeling overall overwhelmed and not sure of where to even begin looking for advice or help? Has the current COVID-19 lockdown left you needing someone to talk to that does not live in your house? Or, are you alone and starting to really feel the need for a supportive ear? Music Minds Matters have you covered. You can call the 24/hour phone line- 0808 802 8008- to talk with a trained advisor about what is troubling you. If speaking on the phone seems a bit daunting, they can also be reached by email.

7) National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

If you had your eyes on the US for doing a project and getting funding, the NEA have moved up their grant application process a month in an effort to help support art agencies across the country. With more than $75 million in the pot, now is the time to look westward for some funding if you fancy.

8) Netflix

One of the companies who the pandemic has been good for (if for nothing else than introducing us to Tiger King), the entertainment giant revealed at the start of the lockdown that it had created a $100 million dollar relief fund for those working in the film industry that are financially impacted by COVID-19.

9) PRS for Music

The UK body responsible for royalties, licensing and music publishing has created a fund where members can claim up to £1,000 pounds. More information and how to apply can be found here.

10) Spotify

The streaming behemoth has set up a site where you can pick from an array of Spotify-approved charities to donate to. In turn, they will match your contribution.

11) The Musicians’ Union (theMU)

Working with global superstars to student musicians, theMU represents more than 32,000 artists across all areas of the industry. Whether you are a member or not, theMu has compiled one of the most comprehensive lists of emergency funding opportunities, music teaching guidelines and mental health support, available.

As well as keeping you up to date with the music industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve also been reaching out to our connections for their thoughts on COVID-19’s impact. First in our series is Megan Page and how COVID-19 is impacting Record Store Day 2020.


Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike