How Singers Can Get Support During COVID-19 | Resources for Musicians

COVID-19 has caused festivals and concerts across the UK to be cancelled or postponed. Bars and music venues where singers make their living are also shuttered, which, unfortunately, is leaving many independent artists without a source of income. So what resources are available for musicians now and how can you get support during this pandemic?

Music is so important to our wellbeing and mental health and now, more than ever, performers are banding together to help  From singers performing on their balconies in Italy and Spain, to artists like Chris Martin and live-streaming concerts from their homes.

During the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, singers and musicians have been greatly affected.  Fortunately, there are options available to musicians in the form of funding that they could be eligible to claim, like these listed below.

How singers can get support during COVID-19

How singers can get support during coronavirus

Coronavirus and the disease the virus causes, COVID-19, have created havoc in the entertainment industry, leaving many singers and musicians struggling to make ends meet. While the UK Government has offered to help people who’ve been affected, those who are classed as self-employed, estimated at 5 million in Britain, have not yet been properly addressed.

Gigging musicians face cancelled concerts, closed venues and few ways to make ends meet, a problem that could last months.  Here are some resources in the UK that are available to help.

Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund

Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund

Help Musicians have set up the Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, offering £5m in aid to help reduce the worry many musicians are experiencing at this time.

Who is eligible?

The funding is available to those who are:

  • Self-employed or unemployed
  • Professional musicians
  • UK residents
  • In need of financial assistance

Professional musicians can apply online for a one-off grant of £500 towards their household costs. They only accept one application per professional musician.

How to apply

You can fill out the online application here.

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Arts Council England Financial Support

Arts Council England Financial Support

Arts Council England is making £20 million available to support artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. You can apply for grants of up to £2,500 if you have a track record in publicly funded culture.

Who is eligible to apply for this fund?

The funding is available for creative practitioners whose main work is in:

  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Dance
  • Visual Arts
  • Literature
  • Combined Arts
  • Museums practice

How to apply

Keep an eye on their website for full application details coming soon.

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PRS Emergency Relief Fund

Resources for Musicians

The Performing Rights Society has created an Emergency Relief Fund, with money available to PRS members across the globe.

They will be offering grants of up to £1000 per member, depending on their needs.

Who is eligible to apply for this fund?

The PRS Emergency Relief Fund is open to those who:

  • Have been a PRS writer member for at least two years
  • Have earned at least £500 of PRS royalties within the last two years
  • Are suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic

How to apply

If you qualify for this fund, you can apply here.

COVID-19 resources for musicians

Coronavirus resources for musicians

Coronavirus Hardship Fund for MU Members

The Musicians Union and working closely with industry partners to combat the financial impact of Coronavirus and they’ve set up a £1M hardship fund for members so those with genuine and pressing hardship can get help.

Who is eligible to apply for this fund?

The funding is available for the following musicians:

  • Been in continuous membership of the MU for the last twelve months or more
  • Currently paying the full MU membership subscription rate
  • UK residents
  • Suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic
  • Have not already successfully received a payment from the MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund

How to apply

You can submit your application online here.

If your application is successful, they will aim to make a BACS payment of £200 to your nominated bank account within a further 5 working days.

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Music development funding

MAS Records

MAS Records

MAS Records is a non-profit music development programme founded in 2001 by Kevyn Gammond (ex-Band of Joy). With Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs/The Voice), Robert Plant (ex-Led Zeppelin) and Karl Hyde (Underworld) as its patrons.  They run in partnership with local education authorities in artist development centres across the country, offering Government funding for:

  • Recording with industry producers
  • Weekly practice time in top studios
  • Business planning
  • Promotion and marketing
  • Guidance with tour planning
  • Exposure to the UK music industry
  • Live Demo Recording
  • Industry showcase gigs

How to apply

This starts in September and you can apply and register your interest here.

Freelands Foundation Emergency Relief Fund

Who is eligible to apply for this fund?

For artists and freelancers in England and Northern Ireland in partnership with a-n The Artists Information Company.

The £1.5m Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund is supported by the Freelands Foundation, as part of a landmark commitment of £3m towards emergency funds for artists and freelance creative practitioners across the UK affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

How to apply

Fill out the application form here.

Ways you can support other artists

Coronavirus support for artists

We’re all in this together and if you’d like to show support for fellow musicians, here are a few things that you can do to right now:

  • Buy their music, don’t just stream it

While streaming helps, purchasing records, CDs or downloading a few singles is a more effective way to show your support, putting money directly in their pocket.

  • Purchase merchandise

Buy some items from their online store. Selling music merchandise is an important part of the promotion of an artist and is a great way to show your support.

  • Don’t ask for refunds for music events

Most acts will most likely postpone their event to another date, and asking for a refund will put added pressure on them at a difficult time. If you can afford to, then wait and see if it’s rescheduled.

Another thing you can do for free is simply sending them a message of support on social media.

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How singers and musicians are giving back to their fans

Elton John will be hosting a concert called iHeart Living Room Concert For America from his living room, with artists like Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carrey scheduled to take part.

Social distancing means more and more virtual events are happening, and here are some ways that artists have been engaging with their audiences online.

Live-streaming online concerts

“Together, At Home” is a series from Global Citizen and the World Health Organisation to unite people during the coronavirus pandemic and take action to defeat it.

Using the hashtag #TogetherAtHome, many of your favourite artists have been putting on concerts online from the safety of their own homes. Streaming live on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, these have been a great opportunity to feel like a community.

Other performers played requests and offered free lessons online and these are some of our favourites.

Chris Martin

Chris was the first to play an impromptu set on Instagram Live open the Together, At Home series, playing requests and chatting with his fans.

Pink

Pink gave fans a free concert, as well as piano lessons to lift their spirits.

View this post on Instagram

To make you feel my love 😍 rehearsals

A post shared by P!NK (@pink) on

John Legend

The singer was joined by his wife Chrissy Teigan, wearing a fan-requested towel. John played the piano, gave recommendations for places you can donate and took requests from his online audience.

One Republic

The American band performed their own hits, as well as a few songs you may know they wrote, including Beyonce’s “Halo” and the Jonas Brothers “Sucker”.

Sean Mendes & Camilla Cabello

The real-life couple revealed that while they’re stuck at home, Shawn is teaching Camilla to play the guitar, while she’s teaching him Spanish.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

The legendary composer has been taking requests on his Facebook page and asking fans to post their own covers of his musicals and tag him in them.

The song that came out on top was ‘All I Ask Of You’ – ALW

I didn’t think I’d ever get such a response to this little tryout! Here I am in my own self-isolation. The song that came out on top was ‘All I Ask Of You’ – ALW

Posted by Andrew Lloyd Webber on Thursday, 19 March 2020

Ziggy Marley

Bob Marley’s song Ziggy live-streamed with his children as part of Global Citizen and the World Health Organization’s #TogetherAtHome Instagram live series.

You can check out these other #TogetherAtHome artists on YouTube:

Virtual open mic nights & Virtual Gigs

Virtual open mic nights have also taken off on Facebook while the venues have been closed.

Open mic hosts have set up groups that anyone is welcome to join, then they arrange times/slots for performers, like the usual set-up. Performers are also sending in their own videos and original performances to Facebook groups, like the below.

This is a great way to keep the spirit of open mics alive and give artists a platform for their music. If you’d like to get involved, join one of the groups listed below.

Virtual Open Mics & Gigs

Babel Open Mic – London (Thursdays from 7pm)

Daz in The Hat – Bradford (Various)

Isolation Entertainment (Various)

Kippax Open Mic (Various)

Live Jam @ Lockdown (Various)

Locked In Festival (4th & 5th of Arpil)

Lockdown Jukebox (Various)

Mic Records Presents – the Quarantine Open Mic (Wednesdays from 8pm)

The Mustard Seed Virtual Open Mic – London (Wednesdays from 7pm)

The Quarantine Music Club (Various)

The Socially Distant Open Mic  (Various)

The Tavern Buskers in Blyth

Virtual Open Mic – Sheffield (Various)

Virtual dance parties

DJ D-Nice hosted an epic 9 hour virtual VIP dance party, with the likes of Drake, Jennifer Lopez and former First Lady Michelle Obama all dropping in on his Instagram live stream.

Regular government updates on Coronavirus/COVID-19 are available here and further advice and updated from the NHS can be found here.

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