March Music Industry News For Indies
This edition of the Music News That Matters newsletter is going to be different from what you usually see in your inbox. The main music news that matters to you all right now is help and advice on how to navigate through these testing times so we’ve put together some tips and advice on how to survive and thrive during this coronavirus crisis.
Coronavirus Relief Funds — Artist/Musician Eligibility & How To Apply
The Recording Academy and its charitable arm, MusiCares, has launched a COVID-19 relief fund for creatives including artists, musicians and those working in the live sector of the industry. Last week, the Academy pledged $2 million in assistance and that number is growing rapidly with the likes of Amazon Music, Facebook, YouTube Music, TIDAL, Spotify, SiriusXM, and Pandora all adding to the pool of money. Music industry professionals can apply for rent or mortgage assistance up to $1,000 for canceled work that was scheduled and lost.
To be eligible for a MusiCares grant you need to be an artist/musician living and working in the United States and need to qualify for one of the three requirements below:
At least three years of employment history in the music industry
Six commercially released recordings
Six commercially or promotionally released music videos
How To Apply
To apply you need to complete the MusiCares application form here. Your application needs to include:
Detailed music industry background documents
A biography, resume, or discography
Documentation of loss of income
Proof of any cancellations and bookings
Copy of your lease or mortgage statement
If You Are Not Eligible
There are plenty of other organizations and services offering support and funding if you don’t qualify for MusiCares. Below are links to a few of them. Foundation of Contemporary Arts Artist Relief Fund Musicians Foundation Fund PEN American Writer’s Emergency Fund Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
Spotify Set To Enable Artists To Fundraise Directly On The Platform
To help artists during this difficult period Spotify is working on launching a new fundraising feature that will allow their fans to support a cause of the artist’s choosing. This money could go directly to the artist via Patreon as an example or they could link to a charity. Artists will be able to direct their fans to an external verified funding page via their Spotify artist profile page. This feature will be optional and there will be no automatic changes to an artist’s profile page. More importantly, Spotify will not take a cut of any contributions.
Why This Matters
We discussed the pros and cons of Spotify adding a tipping feature at great length on last month’s podcast and were concerned as to where the money would end up and what percentage of it would actually find its way to the artist in this 360 deal era. On the face of it, this alternative appears to be far more transparent and could bring a lot of value to artists. It is unclear as to how this link in the profile page will function in regards to whether fans will be able to donate/tip from directly within the app or if users will be taken to the link in a web browser. There are also question marks over where this link will be positioned given that there are no external links visible on the main artist profile page on the Spotify mobile app. That being said this is a positive move from Spotify, particularly given that they will not be taking a cut of the money. If you are interested in using this feature you can sign up here.
LÜM Launches New Artist Support Campaign
US streaming platform which champions independent artists LÜM has recently launched the LÜM Cares initiative to help fans support their favorite artists. This is an expansion upon LÜM’s virtual gifting system which launched at the beginning of this year, enabling artists to grow and monetize their fan base by allowing users to earn and buy “Notes”, LÜM’s in-app currency. From now LÜM is giving each user, fans and artists, their first 200 Notes for free. In addition to this they will match 20% of all “Notes” purchased, depositing these extra “Notes” directly into the user’s wallet on the platform. LÜM will be forgoing profits to fund this initiative.
Why This Matters
LÜM (Live Undiscovered Music) is an exciting and unique streaming platform that champions independent artists. LÜM's goal is to decrease the disparity between mainstream and undiscovered music by combining the best elements from streaming and social media. The virtual currency is a great opportunity to start earning some extra income from super fans which you could attract on the platform. The new initiative they have rolled out is a small but significant gesture from a small emerging streaming platform and it’s nice to seem them doing their bit to help artists during these difficult times. A “Note” has a set value that is slightly greater than the royalty payout per stream of other streaming alternatives. With each user and artist having 200 “Notes” to spend immediately and gaining an extra 20% each time they purchase more many artists will see a lot more money than they ever would from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Since launching in July 2019 over 30,000 artists, including some from the BrandMan Network, have uploaded tracks to the app. Early adopters are certainly seeing the benefits, especially due to the fact that the platform offers unlimited free uploading for artists, meanwhile, users can enjoy unlimited ad-free streaming. It has also proven to be a great space to drop demos and beats to measure the potential success of a track. If you’re an artist based in the US with an iPhone you should definitely put your music on LÜM.