Spotify will donate up to $10 million to help musicians and artists who are out of work due to the coronavirus, and the streaming service is also launching a program to connect artists with organizations that can provide financial relief and directly fund raise, the company announced Wednesday.
First, Spotify will launch the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project. Anyone looking to donate can find verified organizations that will offer financial relief to music professionals in need around the globe. The company specifically is partnering with the Recording Academy’s MusiCares as well as the PRS Foundation and Help Musicians, with Spotify looking to add more partners.
The company will then match any donations made to the COVID-19 Music Relief page up to a total contribution from Spotify of $10 million.
Spotify is also working on launching a new feature in which artists will be able to fundraise directly from fans via a link to a verified funding page that will appear on their artist profile. Artists can elect to set up their page to raise funds for themselves, for another charitable organization or for another artist in need.
The new feature will be integrated into the existing Spotify for Artists hub. It will be optional for artists to leverage, and no changes will be made to an artist’s profile page unless they opt in, and Spotify will not take a cut of the contributions.
The coronavirus shut down concert tours globally and postponed festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, among others, leaving musicians, technicians, crew members, engineers and promoters, many who are freelancers or are self-employed out of work and are not eligible for healthcare coverage or unemployment benefits.
On Tuesday, independent artists led by Bikini Kill, Neutral Milk Hotel, Snail Mail, Fugazi and more signed an open letter asking Congress for financial aid in a federal relief package.
“We pay significant amounts in income tax to the state and federal government, but because most of us are categorized as self-employed, we are unable to access the same benefits as those with single-employer jobs,” the letter reads. “Workers should be able to use any income — including 1099 earnings and demonstrable anticipated future income wiped out by COVID-19 — to apply for unemployment and other benefits.”
In addition to charities like MusiCares working to give money directly to artists, some services like Bandcamp and Songtradr have waived licensing fees so that 100% of a consumer’s purchase goes directly to the artists.
If you are interested in learning more about how to contribute, visit Spotify’s COVID-19 website here. Musicians interested in applying to use the new fundraising feature when it becomes available can apply here.