COVID-19 Relief

 Resources for Songwriters

We've compiled a list of resources for songwriters, producers and musicians to take full advantage of the 2020 CARES Act. Please use the links and resources below and share this page with anyone who you think could benefit from the information.

Ask Companies to do the right thing

Rather than asking artists to apply for relief, we can proactively provide it. Any company that pays artists a percentage of revenue for their service can take either of the following two steps (or both) right now that will make a meaningful difference today: 

  1. Pay Artists Faster: Cut in half the time it takes to send payments to artists for their share of your service through accelerated accounting and distribution policies. 
  2. Pay Artists More: Alter any revenue share with artists by 30% in the artist’s favor. You'll reduce your share by 30%, and put it directly into artists' pockets. 

Click here to sign the petition

3 ways you can benefit from the CARES Act

#1: Individual Cash Rebates

What are they?

Direct payments to U.S. taxpayers. Use the calculator below to see how much you can expect.

What do you need to do to get them?

Simple, you must have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.

If you have not yet filed taxes, you can do so following the guidelines on the IRS webpage for this crisis: Link to IRS Website

#2: Extended Unemployment Insurance

What is this?

A new ability for self-employed workers and independent contractors to claim unemployment benefits.

Am I able to receive these new unemployment benefits? 

Most songwriters who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to claim unemployment benefits. 

What do you need to do to get them?

  1. Gather your tax forms and other proof of income going back 18-24 months
  2. File for unemployment with your state using this website to find the proper outlet: Unemployment Benefits Finder
  3. If your state has not yet opened claims for the self-employed, follow the state's unemployment site daily for updates

#3: Small Business Association Loans

What are they?

  1. The Paycheck Protection Program, which allows self-employed people earning less than $100,000 a year to apply for loans through a SBA-approved bank which, if you meet certain conditions, may not be required to be paid back.
  2. Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Grants/Loan-Debt Forgiveness Program (EIDL), which offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses of up to $2 million.

Who should apply for these?

  1. The Paycheck Protection Program - Small business owners and self-employed people who need assistance covering payroll in the short term.
  2. EIDL - Small business owners who need working capital to cover expenses in the short term.

What do you need to do to get them?

For the Paycheck Protection Program, you'll need to apply for a loan from an approved bank in your state. Below are some helpful links for this program:

For Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the application process isn’t fully fleshed out yet.

We suspect you’re going to have to provide the bank with:

  • A Personal Financial Statement
  • A few years of tax returns
  • Your payroll numbers if you employ people

There may be more than that required and we’ll keep you updated as we learn more. In the meantime, you can read more about these types of loans at the following resources:

Common Questions

If I live outside of the U.S., am I still eligible for these benefits?

These programs are for U.S. taxpayers and businesses only. If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, you’ll still be eligible for these benefits, as long as you still are paying U.S. taxes.

I'm an artist who lost out on all my shows surrounding an album release because of COVID-19. Do I qualify for extended unemployment insurance?

Yes, If you've had your income affected by show cancellations, you'd qualify for extended unemployment insurance. Guidelines how how you'll prove lost-income are not clear, so we advise checking on your state's guidelines for doing so when they release them.

How can I get aid for a business has ongoing costs like insurance, utilities, debt repayment, contract personnel which are independent of income, like a music label or studio?

For a situation where you have other expenses relating to your business, you should explore the small business loans. Use the resources above to see if applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is right for your business.

Do I need to have my 2019 tax return filed to receive the Individual Cash Rebate?

No, If you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return (deadline for filing this return has been moved to July 15, 2020), your 2018 tax return (filed in 2019) will suffice. 

Those who have filed a 2019 tax return (which you would have filed this year, 2020) may receive their payments sooner, according to the IRS.

If I have an unemployment claim open in my state, what do I need to do to receive the extra $600 per week in federal aid?

With information available at this time, you don't need to do anything for the additional $600 in federal aid (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation). We’ll post any further information on this page as it comes available.

What is the federal government using to determine the income thresholds for individual cash rebates?

The government will use the Adjusted Gross Income from your latest federal tax return. For example, if your Adjusted Gross Income was $70,000 last year, you receive the full $1,200 amount. Use the calculator on this page to determine what amount you'll receive.

More answers to questions will be posted shortly

Other resources for you - A collaborative effort to help music professionals access information and applications to receive benefits made available by the CARES Act