Companies Controlled By Post Malone, Chris Brown, Steve Aoki Received Millions in COVID Relief Funds Intended for Struggling Venues, Investigation Reveals

COVID relief funds
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COVID relief funds
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Photo Credit: Markus Winkler

A new report has uncovered how some of the biggest names in music applied for funding intended for small venues during the COVID pandemic. Here’s the latest.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) was a grant intended to keep independent venues afloat during one of the worst downturns in recent history. It was administered by the Small Business Administration, which handed out $14.5 billion to venues, including theaters, museums, performing arts centers, talent agencies, ballets, operas, and many smaller live performance venues. Because the SVOG is a grant, qualified applicants could receive up to $10 million with no obligation to repay it.

Insider investigated some of the SVOG recipients and found some of the biggest names in music. Post Malone received $10 million, as did Chris Brown. Lil Wayne received ag rant of $8.9 million. The Smashing Pumpkins obtained $8.6 million, while Nickelback received $2 million. The investigation identified “dozens of corporations and limited liability companies controlled by high-profile musical artists” who received SVOG payouts.

The analysis estimates more than $200 million was sent to big-name artists alone. A single financial-management firm in Los Angeles submitted grants on behalf of 97 artists, venues, and managers.

Who received SVOG payouts according to this investigation?

  • Post Malone | $10 million
  • Electric Feel (Post Malone Manager) |$10 million
  • Dre London (Post Malone Agent) | $10 million
  • Chris Brown | $10 million
  • Steve Aoki | $9.9 million
  • Slipknot | $9.7 million
  • Lil Wayne | $8.9 million
  • Smashing Pumpkins | $8.6 million
  • Vampire Weekend | $8.3 million
  • Korn | $5.3 million
  • Melissa Etheridge | $3.9 million
  • Usher | $3.1 million
  • Common | $2.8 million
  • Portugal. The Man | $2.25 million
  • Becky G | 2.2 million
  • Leann Rimes | $2 million
  • Nickelback | $2 million
  • Father John Misty | $1.7 million

Insider says it contacted more than 60 of the grant recipients on the list to ask how they spent their funds. None of them shared detailed information of those that responded—and most did not respond at all. Because the SVOG is a grant, there were only a few restrictions on how the funds could be used. They could be used to pay staff, contractors, or even themselves.