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Spotify, PRS and Help Musicians launch financial support initiatives for music-makers struggling amid COVID-19 outbreak

By | Published on Thursday 26 March 2020


Spotify, PRS For Music and Help Musicians have all announced emergency funding for music-makers struggling financially due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this week, the Musicians’ Union published results of a survey of its members showing that 90% had seen work cancelled due to the measures introduced to restrict and delay the spread of the coronavirus. The organisation estimated that, by that point, its members had already lost around £14 million in income as a result.

The MU also announced a million pound fund to support its members who are most in need as a result of the crisis. An increasing number of similar initiatives have been announced around the world in recent days, with three formally launched yesterday that also benefit UK-based artists, musicians and songwriters.

Spotify has now announced two initiatives. Firstly, a new Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief scheme is inviting the platform’s users to donate money to specific artist-support funds run by PRS Foundation and Help Musicians in the UK and MusiCares in the US. It is also seeking to work with other similar funds worldwide. The streaming firm has said that it will match all user donations up to a maximum of $10 million.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been identifying ways that Spotify can help make an impact around the world”, says the company in a blog post. “Spotify has always been focused on creating connections between artists and their fans, using music and podcasts to help break down barriers and build stronger communities. That community of support has never been more important”.

In addition to its central fund-raising scheme, Spotify has also announced a new feature for musicians signed up to Spotify For Artists. Soon, artists will be able to add a bespoke donation button to their individual profile pages on the streaming service.

The company will allow artists to use that function to collect money for themselves directly, or for another artist in need of support, or for one of the wider funds set up to raise money for the music community during the ongoing public health crisis. Spotify will not take a cut of any money donated in this way.

Meanwhile, UK collecting society PRS For Music has announced a specific PRS Emergency Relief Fund. It’s open to all PRS members who have been registered with the organisation for at least two years and have earned over £500 in that time. For those eligible, the organisation will be making available grants of up to £1000.

“The live industry has halted globally, television and film production is on hold and businesses are closing, causing a dramatic reduction in music used”, says the organisation. “Collectively the livelihoods of creators, many of whom are freelance or small businesses themselves, are at significant risk during this crisis. While the government has offered assistance to businesses and has promised more targeted measures for freelancers, PRS members are experiencing great hardship right now. Establishing this new PRS fund is part of a wider plan to support members during the coming weeks, with further measures being explored”.

Royalty payments, PRS stresses, will be unaffected by the establishment of this fund, with the organisation working to ensure that April’s payments arrive on time.

Finally, music charity Help Musicians has also launched a Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, putting up £5 million to help musicians pay ongoing household expenses. Eligible musicians will be able to apply for a one-off payment of £500.

“We recognise that this is a challenging time for many working within the music industry”, says the charity. “Help Musicians have set up the Coronavirus Support Fund in an attempt to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that many professional musicians may be facing”.

Professional musicians can apply for a Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund grant here.

Help Musicians, in partnership with various other music industry organisations, has also launched a website collecting information and advice on COVID-19 relevant to musicians. Find that at

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