With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic inhibiting artists’ ability to earn a living, Spotify announced three relief initiatives and charitable undertakings today, all of which are designed to lessen musicians’ financial strain.
First, Spotify has established the COVID-19 Music Relief project. Music Relief doesn’t accept donations, but rather, it directs concerned fans’ contributions towards organizations that are actively aiding artists. MusiCares (the Recording Academy’s charitable wing), Help Musicians, and the PRS Foundation are featured on Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief page, and Spotify has pledged to match each donation made through the portal (up to $10 million).
Next, the Stockholm-based company revealed that it will release a fundraising option to artists. From personal (artist-specific) charities to established relief organizations, as well as all others in between, Spotify creators will have the opportunity to solicit financial support directly through their profiles. Spotify won’t charge a fee for the feature, which will be released “soon.”
Lastly, Spotify unveiled reduced costs and free trials on its Creator Tools, including SoundBetter, SoundTrap, and Anchor. These special offers are available presently.
Lockdowns and large-gathering bans have effectively cut artists off from live performance revenue, which typically comprises a substantial portion of overall earnings. As a result, many in the music industry, from IMPALA executives to Recording Academy interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr., are appealing to charities and governments for relief.
Furthermore, some artists are frustrated with the coronavirus situation and Spotify’s perceived inaction, and it’s unclear whether the above-described measures will quell their criticism. To be sure, a quickly circulating petition is calling on Spotify to permanently increase (and triple, no less) artists’ royalties, both to help them amid the coronavirus pandemic and in the future.
At the time of this piece’s writing, the cited petition had received over 1,500 backers, and Spotify hadn’t issued an official response.
Other music industry companies and artists are also providing support to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Recording Academy and MusiCares seeded $2 million for their relief fund, and Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation has pledged $5 million to various charities.