Pic courtesy of Crunchbase News
Pic courtesy of Crunchbase News

The Cheat Sheet For Readers In Dangerous Times

What follows is a collection of bits and bytes for the home-office types

Coronavirus: Survival of the Richest!

Jonathan Pie is a fictitious British news reporter, created and played by British actor and comedian Tom Walker. Pie appears in a series of video clips where he rants about the state of politics in the UK and the US, presented as though he were a real reporter speaking his personal opinions to the camera before or after filming a regular news segment. In this edition, he rants on about bog paper, hand cleanliness and self-confinement. Thanks to Richard Flohil for this item.

 – Reproduction rights org CONNECT Music Licensing and Music Canada have compiled an Artist Impact Survey designed to help the government and the music industry better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on artists and their incomes.

“COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge for the music community as a whole, but for artists in particular,” Miranda Mulholland, Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, stated this week. “It has been a welcome relief to see that the government has focused its initial efforts on the members of the gig economy – virtually all artists are self-employed. These people are most at risk, most under pressure and most in need in our music ecosystem. We need to provide the government with accurate and timely information on how and where to send help to those who are most in need. This is the purpose of our survey. Thank you to everyone who has already completed it. To those who have not, I urge you to complete it no later than March 27.”

The survey has been circulated by artists on social media, distributed to CONNECT’s 2,500 artist-entrepreneur members, and through direct outreach to Music Canada’s members.

The information received is to be tabulated anonymously and will be incorporated into an economic impact analysis that Music Canada is developing with Deloitte Canada. The results of this study are to be made public.  

With two days to go before the cut-off date, Mulholland urges: “If you are an artist, we encourage you to fill out the survey which is available here: https://bit.ly/3ag79oH, and share it on your social media.”

What the feds are proposing, but still need all-party consent on:

  • A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.

  • A new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, for up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers, including the self-employed, who have to stay home and don't qualify for paid sick leave or employment insurance. The measure could disburse up to $10 billion.

  • A new Emergency Support Benefit to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

  • A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.

  • A doubling of the homeless care program.

  • An extension of the tax filing deadline to June 1.

  • A policy change allowing taxpayers to defer until after Aug. 31 tax payments that are due after today and before September.

  • $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.

– All physical shipments of music in Canada ceased this week with the closure of Technicolour, the all-industry distribution arm that was previously operated by Cinram. The closure is part of the shutdown of non-essential services in Ontario. Most record shops nationwide have been shuttered in the past week, and online retail giant Amazon has ceased accepting new shipments from music suppliers as it focusses its resources on providing essential goods to homes during the pandemic.

– Resources for small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak: These are challenging times for small businesses. To help, Facebook has set up a resource hub with information, from how to set up a customer service plan to experimenting with online events. Visit the new Business Resource Hub for more.

– Last Friday, Bandcamp waived its service fee on sales for a day. According to a statement from Bandcamp, fans spent US$4.3M over the day, with 800,000+ pieces of music and merch sold on the site. "That’s more than 15 times our normal Friday," the company said in a statement, "and at the peak, fans were buying 11 items per second."

SickFestivals.com is now a website tracking global music festival cancellations and postponements.

– Here's how to successfully host a live music event from home.

­– He’s worked with everyone including Taylor Swift and now social media marketing maven Rick Barker is hosting a free webinar Thursday on the dos and donts of live streaming. Link here to RSVP for the 2 pm EST webinar and Q&A.

­– CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers that aims to protect the rights and promote the interests of creators worldwide, has issued a call to arms in a letter to governments for global action to help its constituent base. Org President and composer Jean-Michel Jarre writes: “Creators are by nature self-motivated entrepreneurs and will be an enormously positive force in helping drive the economic recovery in the future. But they urgently need rescue measures now, and only the lever of government policy will have the impact required.

Manitoba Music is launching an emergency financial relief fund to help music entrepreneurs in Manitoba who are experiencing a financial crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MIA Board is seeding the fund with $20K to begin dispersals of micro-grants before the end of the month. Details TBA; meantime, those interested in donating to the fund can do so here.

– Montreal-based global online platform Bandzoogle has put together a helpful article about how musicians can tap into fans for support during the pandemic.

- Bandsintown music platform is now offering free access to Twitch’s monetization tools for artists with 2K followers or more. Bandsintown claims 530K registered artists with an ability to reach the 55M fans registered on the platform. Artists interested in fast-tracking their streaming monetization potential on Twitch can sign up or learn more about the opportunity here.

Music Managers Forum Canada has posted a handy list of resources for the music industry, listing everything from financial support agencies to cancelled or postponed events.

SOCAN’s Howard Druckman provides a long list of music resources for the music community on the org’s Words & Music blog.

And ‘thanks’ to publicist extraordinaire Irene Carroll for forwarding a handy list of resources and links to entertain while at home that is published by the Canadian Red Cross.

Idris Elba has been putting his time in isolation to good use. After testing positive for COVID-19, the actor, musician and DJ immediately put himself into lockdown — and he just released a rap on Instagram about the experience, entitled The Long Road.

– A growing number of superstars (Neil Young, David Foster, John Legend, Shawn Mendes) and others are offering live-streamed shows. The upside is that they are providing relief for the fans stuck at home, but many in the music biz worry because there are no royalty captures and the movement signals another point of deterioration in devaluing the currency of music. This is an ongoing trend that will have to be addressed when the dust settles. Hard Copy offers a crystal ball vision on the future of live entertainment that is a worthwhile read.

– Then there are all those offering rough cuts, some of which seem ill-thought-out, and others veering between the cheesy and just embarrassing. BuzzFeed digs deeper with an article all about ‘celebrity nonsense’ in the time of pandemic.

Home Routes/ Chemin Chez Nous has switched its in-home concert series to presenting shows online via Facebook Live and YouTube during the pandemic.

– Cash-strapped talent agencies such as Paradigm, UTA and WME are laying off staff and cutting salaries for retained employees in North America. At the same time these powerhouses, including TFA in Canada, that feed the live talent machine are cut off from foreseeable earnings. Making matters worse, agencies now find themselves spending resources to unwind shows that were on the books as confirmed in March through April and May. On this side of the border, more than 3K shows had to be cancelled or postponed. More chilling is the fact that the once vibrant summer festival circuit now looks as if it will be grounded, and that, on so many levels, is just plain unfair and economically disastrous for the crews, musicians, promoters, and a giant bummer for the fans.

– Music PEI will host two Island artists, one established and one emerging, in a series of Thursday and Sunday online concerts to be streamed live to Facebook, starting March 29. The MIA has set aside a small budget to recompense artists. For more information contact Rob Oakie roboakie@musicpei.com

– As part of its COVID-19 philanthropy, Netflix is donating $1M to Toronto-based AFC (formerly known as the Actors Fund of Canada) and Fondation des Artistes for distribution as emergency financial aid to professionals working in film, TV, music, theatre and dance. The Fondation des Artistes, which provides support for artists in Quebec, will receive C$500K.

–Portland, OR peeler bar Lucky Devil Lounge (“Come get lucky!”) has turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse with the troubles. Following a statewide closure on non-essential services, owner Shon Boulden used social media to advertise topless food deliveries. With a $30 delivery charge, orders have been flooding in. Rolling Stone has the story in full and it’s a textbook example of American ingenuity for turning a buck.

In Las Vegas, Little Darlings strip club is offering drive-thru strip shows and nude hand sanitizer wrestling starting this weekend. The boss says he's found a new employment op for his gals.

And finally, a dreaded moment we all wish to avoid

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