The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has launched a support fund aimed at contractors and freelance workers in the independent music industry whose source of income has been severed without warning due to lost work in April and May as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund starts with assets of £500,000 committed by AIM and its members, and further contributions are urgently invited from all sectors of the music industry and beyond. The target is to distribute £1000 to each of 1000 workers within two months.
The AIM fund is open to any contractors due to work with new and developing artists currently signed to AIM member labels who have lost committed income because of cancelled artist projects. This critical part of the music industry ecosystem includes tour crews, studio producers, mixing engineers, radio pluggers, graphic designers, stylists, publicists and others who do not qualify for other hardship funds on offer. AIM member labels will invite signed artists and their managers to nominate candidates to be pre-approved on this basis.
AIM welcomes further pledges, which will make a huge difference to the independent community and the whole music ecosystem. To pledge a contribution, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
AIM Members responded to a sector-wide survey, devised in collaboration with the Creative Industries Federation, which revealed that 96% of music businesses have lost income as a result of COVID-19, and a staggering 40% have lost all of their income. Despite this, 82% have not made any workers redundant – demonstrating music businesses’ commitment to protecting workers and keeping up activity despite losses, with a view to the long-term, post-COVID-19.
Despite the government’s laudable initiatives and the hardship funds which have already been created, there are many vital music industry workers who are falling through the cracks and need help at this time. Through the AIM fund, the independent music community is coming together at their time of need to help.
AIM CEO Paul Pacifico stated “We are hearing daily reports of creative and innovative ways that AIM Members are working directly with their artists and teams to alleviate hardship through the crisis. Independent music businesses are holding on to their workers and trying wherever possible to keep their teams together in spite of the losses they are facing. They are helping artists financially where possible but also with practical measures and resources, and with emotional support in this difficult time of isolation.”
He continued “Despite government initiatives and the groundswell of support from the music industry, there are still many thousands of workers being left behind without the help that they need to get through this difficult time. Many of these people have suddenly found themselves with no source of income and with families to support, while government support measures for microbusinesses are hard to access for creative businesses and those for the self-employed are not expected to kick in before June.”
“The independent sector’s strength lies in its sense of solidarity and community. We have already seen a hugely encouraging show of support for those who are struggling, but there is still more to do. This is a call to arms. Together, we can get through this.”
AIM Chair Peter Quicke (MD, Ninja Tune) stated “In this moment of global crisis, it is so important for AIM to enable our community in getting help to those in most critical need. Music has the power to help many of us to get through social isolation and other aspects of this crisis, and we must do our bit to support those people, particularly from behind the scenes, who help bring so much joy to so many, but who are at risk of being left behind in the current aid packages on offer.”
Martin Mills, AIM founding Board Member and Chair of Beggars Group stated “Smaller labels and emerging artists in the independent sector are often not able to provide cash flow relief to people in their wider teams impacted by COVID-19 cancellations. This fund provides an essential lifeline to many people on whom we all rely for the future of our sector, but who at the moment are at risk of being left behind.”
Qualifying workers must
– Be a self-employed contractor or the sole employee of their own loan-out company.
– Not be currently benefiting from any other music industry COVID-19 support scheme.
– Have been nominated by their employing artist’s AIM member label, submitting confirmatory back-up information.
Qualifying workers will
– Receive up to 80% of their lost committed income from the project to a maximum of £1,000. Payments will be made immediately on approval directly into workers’ bank accounts.
– Priority will be given to UK and Ireland nationals and residents.
– Grants will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.