Famed record store brand Amoeba Music is facing an uncertain future because of economic strains from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — so much so that its co-founder, Marc Weinstein, has created a GoFundMe page asking fans for emergency assistance.
The GoFundMe campaign is aptly titled “Amoeba Needs Help To Survive,” and its description opens with a brief history of Amoeba’s humble beginnings and subsequent growth into a symbol of the independent record store’s resurgence. Amoeba’s role in helping to launch artists’ careers, and in spearheading a variety of charitable initiatives, are also detailed.
Next, the description bluntly discloses the fiscal struggles Amoeba is grappling with as a result of the coronavirus crisis and its corresponding lockdown measures: “We have weathered many storms — 911, recessions, the Internet, downloading and streaming. But we don’t know that we can weather the COVID-19 storm,” the text states.
Having used its savings to cover rent payments and employee paychecks since the COVID-19 pandemic forced its shutdown, Amoeba is running low on cash. California, like many states, has instituted prevention-minded measures (California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 19th, while also temporarily closing nonessential businesses). While federal and state aid may help, these financial assistance possibilities will not “meet the needs of our short-term future,” the statement indicates.
Already, numerous businesses have been forced to shut down entirely as governments fail to disperse emergency funds. Sadly, federal efforts to infuse cash into companies and keep people employed have been haphazard at best. The Paycheck Protection Program, for example, quickly ran out of funds, with a large percentage of businesses unable to secure funding. Meanwhile, mega-banks like Bank of America have been accused of prioritizing larger clients, and are currently facing litigation over unfair PPP disbursements. In that fog, it’s unclear if Amoeba has received any assistance, or can reasonably expect any federal help.
And so, Weinstein is asking fans to support his company during this immensely difficult — and unprecedented — calamity. At the time of this writing, just under 1,500 donors had pledged approximately $60,000 to the cause. The current goal is $400,000.
In February, Digital Music News was first to report that Amoeba Hollywood intended to relocate to a new facility by Labor Day, September 7th. Obviously, these plans — and this timetable — have been disrupted, but Amoeba’s GoFundMe notes that, in addition to covering short-term operational costs, the brand will use fan contributions to help finance the imminent move.
Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged that his state is making progress in the fight against the novel coronavirus, before pushing back against calls to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. To date, medical professionals have diagnosed nearly 30,000 Californians with COVID-19.