Songwriters, Musicians and Music Workers to be included in Stimulus Bill


NSAI, NMPA & others united to ensure relief for the music community

“Songs will help the world overcome the Coronavirus, just as they have every human challenge for millennia.” So stated NSAI’s Executive Director Bart Herbison today in regard to the stimulus bill passed in the Senate.

American Songwriter
is proud to have joined in the valiant and victorious efforts of the NSAI (Nashville Songwriter’s Association International), along with NMPA (National Music Publishers’ Association), SONA (Songwriters of North America) and others, to ensure that songwriters, musicians and all music industry workers are covered in the $2 trillion-dollar stimulus bill passed by the Senate yesterday.

Created to provide financial relief in response to the coronavirus pandemic for all working Americans, it was announced that workers in all ranks of the music community would be included in the bill for relief.

This infusion of money back into the economy is intended to protect the jobs of millions of Americans and businesses by distributing payments of $1200 to most adults in America, and $500 to children. Some $350 billion would be used to bolster small businesses and save jobs, and to help hospitals, while $500 billion is being used to institute a program to protect businesses, as well as states and localities.

Musicians and music workers, most of whom exist as independent contractors – now considered part of the “gig economy” along with all others who work independently – will be eligible to receive grants and loans under the new bill.

SONA, NSAI, NMPA, along with this magazine and several other music industry groups, joined in the effort of many Congressional leaders who championed this cause, including Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler and California’s own Zoe Lofgren, to ensure that those in our community would not be excluded from this relief.

Their victory was achieved by fighting to have language included in the bill which specified that “gig workers,” those who work all the time yet are not designated as full-time employees, receive the relief they need. That language specifies that the financial needs of all “sole-proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed” would not be ignored.

NMPA President & CEO David Israelite made this announcement today:

“Right now, everyone in music is suffering, as we all find ways of coping with the effects of Coronavirus. We are greatly relieved that songwriters, composers and musicians across the country will be helped by the emergency stimulus package passed by the Senate.

“From paycheck protection and stimulus checks to grants that help with rent and mortgage payments, the legislation will help the creative community – particularly those who qualify as independent contractors, sole proprietors and self-employed – who have been hit hard by this pandemic.

“We want to thank Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) for their dedication to ensuring this assistance was included in the bill, and we greatly appreciate the work of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA) for their tireless work to get this done.”

NSAI’s Executive Director Bart Herbison stated that workers who earn less than $100,000 annually are eligible to receive this relief, and that NSAI will help provide the information necessary as to how to apply.

“We will be making details available over the next few days,” Herbison said in a statement today.

“NSAI will help direct those eligible to the appropriate resources for relief. In some circumstances relief funds won’t have to be repaid. Live music events have been postponed and recording sessions and co-writes cancelled,” he wrote, “but great compositions will fill venues once again.”

“We are thankful for the assistance on behalf of songwriters, composers, musicians, producers, engineers, artists and others,” he wrote, “who will create and perform the future soundtrack for our nation and the world.”

Senator Blackburn of Tennessee echoed this sentiment in her statement today. “Music City was not built by high-powered businessmen,” he wrote, “but by a fiercely talented community of independent singers, songwriters, and musicians who are now struggling to keep their heads above water. In this time of fear and uncertainty, it is important that we do not abandon these creators.  With that in mind, I led a bipartisan team of advocates to ensure that all music industry professionals will benefit from the provisions of this rescue package. I thank the Nashville creative community for their resilience and am honored to weather the storm alongside such an extraordinary group of Tennesseans.”

“Songwriters,” wrote Congressman Ted Deutch today, “and so many in the music industry are self-employed; they’re gig workers, independent contractors, and sole proprietors. That’s why I worked with my colleagues and the creative community to ensure we include language in this economic stimulus package to help them weather the storm and qualify for relief. Music is helping so many of us cope right now; we need to help the people who create it.” 

As NSAI’s Herbison reminded all, the live music industry has been severely crippled by the coronavirus. “Every venue in America has shut down,” he wrote. “The situation has also hit studio musicians, producers, and others whose income has been affected. This inclusion will help these individuals weather the pandemic storm then go back to music-related work when a sense of normalcy returns to America.” 

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