Dozens of organisations in the US entertainment industry have called for increased targeted government support, while France bolsters music industry support…

US entertainment industry

Organisations representing the entertainment industry have joined forces to call on US Congressional leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to increase government aid for the sector.

Groups, including the Future of Music Coalition, Music Artists Coalition and Recording Academy, have sent a joint letter to Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer outlining the shortcomings of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPP).

The organisations argue that due to the nature of the industry many creators work as both independent contractors and as employees and the implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) has “overlooked” workers with mixed income.

The letter also targets the CARES Act, stating that does not recognise the full scope of small business arrangements prevalent within the industry. The unions state that any future plan should recognise self-employed individuals as eligible payroll participants.

It also says the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) PPP guidelines on eligibility criteria and requirements for the self-employed are “overly burdensome and restrictive.” The groups call on the SBA to calculate loans consistent with the intent of the CARES Act, which allows for consideration of any compensation to a sole proprietor or independent contractor.

The letter reads: “There is no sugar-coating this. The entertainment industry has been decimated. We trade in imagination, but the reality of our situation is dire. Today, we eagerly share our craft when we can – through video streams, on social media, or from apartment balconies.

“But it is not a viable ‘work from home’ solution and it will not sustain us. We need help that only you can provide, in a way that recognises the particulars of our industry.”

France

The French government has pledged an additional €50m to support the country’s music industry and has launched a ‘festival fund’ to support organisers of cancelled events.

French Minister of Culture, Franck Riester announced that the National Music Center (CNM) would see its budget increased, adding “a contribution to the aid it already has provided” to the music sector, as well as to enable it to “build support plans” for the industry in the future.

The festival fund will be established in collaboration with local authorities and the French Regions as large live events are banned in France until at least September.

France has this week begun to slowly ease its lockdown after eight weeks of restrictions. Shops are reopening, many students are returning to primary schools, and people will not need travel certificates when they leave home.

The Ticket Bank

Ticketing donation scheme The Ticket Bank has launched its ‘Virtual Ticket Bank’ to tackle social exclusion during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Sheffield-based Ticket Bank, created by the Tickets for Good Foundation, aims to provide tickets to individuals who suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health or family breakdown so that they can experience the benefits that participation in the cultural arts can bring.

The charity has partnered with Tickets for Good to develop a Virtual Ticket Bank, which aims to “reduce loneliness, build resilience and improve positive mental well-being.”

The existing Ticket Bank platform has been adapted to enable access to virtual content, including entertainment, online social activities and wellness support. The firm also sends regular email newsletters to all charity partners with filtered links to free content. The platform will also feature a live content calendar with notifications to be sent to beneficiaries via email.

Ticket Bank founder and chief executive Steve Rimmer said: “Despite the events industry facing some really tough times right now, we wanted to use our network and platform to help respond to the needs of our charity partners and their service users.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be launching our Virtual Ticket Bank service and hope that we can help create meaningful connections and reduce loneliness in the process.”

Image: The Ticket Bank