Are You Eligible for Coronavirus Relief Funds? — Here’s How To Apply

MusiCares relief fund
  • Save

MusiCares relief fund
  • Save
Photo Credit: Matthew Henry

Musicians are facing unprecedented times of uncertainty amid the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s how to apply for help.

As we first reported last week, the Recording Academy and its charitable arm, MusiCares, has launched a COVID-19 relief fund for creatives. For those who have lost work due to festival closures and event closures, this could be a crucial lifeline.  Right off the bat, the Academy pledged $2 million in assistance, but that number is now growing rapidly.  Just this week, a large number of industry heavyweights pledged their support for the fund, including Amazon Music, Facebook, YouTube Music, TIDAL, Spotify, SiriusXM, and Pandora.

Applying for assistance for the MusiCares relief fund requires a few basic requirements. Music industry professionals can apply for rent or mortgage assistance up to $1,000 for canceled work that was scheduled and lost.

MusiCares says it will re-evaluate grant amounts available if they receive more funding. As mentioned, major streaming services like Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and TIDAL are on board for contributing funds, which means the total pool is variable and growing.  But artists in need must apply for assistance.

To start the process, you’ll need a completed MusiCares application. That includes proof of any cancellations and bookings and a copy of your lease or mortgage agreement.  It’s a small bit of paperwork, but assures that charlatans or fraudsters don’t pilfer funds.

Applicants need to qualify for one of three requirements to be eligible for MusiCares grants.

  • At least three years of employment history in the music industry
  • Six commercially released recordings
  • Six commercially or promotionally released music videos

Other details needed for the application include:

  • Detailed music industry background documents
  • A biography, resume, or discography
  • Documentation of loss of income
  • Copy of your lease or mortgage statement

MusiCares is only available for musicians and artists who live and work in the United States. Additional coronavirus relief funds are being established all across the country, and MusiCares isn’t the only place to apply for assistance. Here is just a small selection benefiting artists, musicians, and creatives.

Coronavirus Relief Funds

Rapid Response – Racism Is A Virus Too
This organization is geared towards working with Asian American communities in response to hate crimes because of COVID-19 biases.

Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief
This fund is aimed at giving disabled creators and artists assistance for lost funding. Volunteers are currently gathering information.

Foundation of Contemporary Arts Artist Relief Fund
This fund is available to U.S.-based artists who are experiencing hard times because of the outbreak. Anyone who has experienced cancellations or postponement is eligible to apply for assistance funding.

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
Any musician or music industry professional who has lost more than 50% of their income can apply to this fund. The founder of this fund also recently petitioned Spotify to raise Spotify royalty payments to artists by three times, permanently.

Musicians Foundation Fund
Musicians in the United States who have been active for at least five years are eligible for a microgrant. The fund asks for paperwork proving that most income comes from work as a musician.

Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Craft artists who are based in the United States are eligible for relief funds from this foundation. Craft-making must be a primary income for at least three years.

PEN American Writer’s Emergency Fund
Professional writers and editors who are facing hardship from the coronavirus outbreak can seek additional funding here.

Overseas, relief efforts also exist. GEMA, a German performance rights organization, has established an especially powerful relief fund. As we reported earlier this week, GEMA opened a $43 million coronavirus relief fund for its songwriters during the pandemic.