A curated list of resources for musicians affected by COVID-19

Illustration: Laura Bee

Get help or give it: Here’s our curated list of resources for musicians affected by COVID-19.

We’ve been curating a list of resources that could be helpful to our community. From financial assistance to mental health support, the list covers resources that touch your economic and emotional wellness as musicians. We’ll update the list each Monday for the foreseeable future with new resources we learn about.

A big thank you to others who have compiled similar lists from which we’ve pulled from (we’ve linked out to those sources below). If you know of an initiative for musicians that we’re missing, let us know in the comments, and we’ll review for consideration of inclusion in our next update.

To learn about Splice’s commitment to supporting the music community, read this.

Emergency funding and other financial resources

Below are some foundations, funds, and resources for those struggling financially due to the impact of COVID-19.

General resources:

  • 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.

Unemployment resources:

  • Legal Aid at Work: Legal Aid at Work lays out ways suddenly unemployed workers can receive legal support.
  • MusicCovidRelief.com: MusicCovidRelief.com is a resource that helps musicians impacted by the COVID-19 national emergency receive unemployment,  small business loans, advances, and loan forgiveness.
  • 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.

Region-specific resources:

  • 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.
  • Live Session Masters: For any musicians who are at home feeling anxious or isolated, Live Session Masters provides real-time and face-to-face lessons on music, yoga, cooking, and more.
  • Backline: Backline connects music industry professionals with a network of mental health and wellness providers.
  • The Wellness Starter Pack: Through videos, articles, and expert interviews, The Wellness Starter Pack explores the impact that sleep, positivity, mindfulness, exercise, and nutrition have on a musician’s mental health.
  • 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.
  • Facebook Live: Facebook Live allows you to send notifications to followers when you go live, so they know to tune in to your broadcasts at just the right time.
  • Zoom: Although typically associated with remote business meetings, Zoom is a viable platform for virtual practices and performances.
  • 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:

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.

Crowdsourced fundraising:

Petitions and surveys:

Other lists that highlight resources

Our list wouldn’t have been possible without these incredible resources.

If you feel there’s a valuable resource we haven’t represented above, let us know in the comments below.

March 19, 2020