We wondered if we’d need to quietly retire this regular feature after a few days. Nope. Which at least shows there is plenty of positive news to write about amid the current global health crisis. We’re still not ignoring the negative impacts – today’s bulletin has a few examples of those – but we all need to remember the flipside too.
Start with relief-funding news. Spanish collecting society SGAE has added €7m to its existing €8m program of financial and social aid for members who need it. It’ll be making grants of up to €3k to songwriters and composers facing immediate hardship, as well as a line of automatic advance payments, and even a home delivery meal service for older members.
Meanwhile, UK indie body AIM has launched a support fund for independent music contractors and freelancers – including touring crews, studio producers and mixing engineers, radio pluggers and publicists, and designers and stylists. AIM and its members are kicking off the fund with £500k, and hope to double that with donations, so that they can distribute £1k each to 1,000 workers within two months. Anyone wishing to pledge can contact AIM here.
What else? Sir Elton John’s foundation is launching a £1m COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help to support HIV care during the current pandemic. Jay-Z and Meek Mill’s Reform Alliance has donated 130k surgical masks to correctional facilities in the US, to help protect inmates, officers and medical staff from infection. The Digital Mirage Online Music Festival raised £250k for Sweet Relief’s Covid-19 fund, which is supporting musicians and music-industry workers. And British rapper Aitch raised £12k for NHS Charities Together with a FIFA 20 gaming livestream on his YouTube channel which generated 100k live views. Fellow artist Big Shaq and footballer Jesse Lingard guested in the stream, which was the result of a partnership between Caroline International, EA Sports and YouTube. Donations are still open.
In more livestreaming news, the World Health Organization and Global Citizen are organising a ‘One World: Together At Home‘ event on 18 April, which will be broadcast worldwide, but will raise money for local and regional charities. Lady Gaga is on curation duties; the hosts will be US late-night stars Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert; and artists including Billie Eilish, Chris Martin, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder are on the bill. The event will be streamed on pretty much every online video and social platform you can think of, and as she announced the plans, Gaga called up Apple CEO Tim Cook to confirm a $10m donation from his company.
Finally, it’s good to hear that Universal Music boss Sir Lucian Grainge is “at home and recuperating” after his hospitalisation for Covid-19, which by his own account was “as serious as it gets”. His message to staff is worth repeating too: “Wherever you are in the world, take this pandemic as seriously as it deserves to be taken. Listen to and obey the guidance of your public health authorities. You will be doing it not merely for yourself, but for your families and — as we all know by now — for literally everyone in the world…”
Image by Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com