ASCAP Calls on Congress to Stand With Songwriters Who Need Access to Critical Benefits in the Next Stimulus Package

July 20, 2020

Today, ASCAP joined other US music industry leaders in a letter urging Congress to ensure that critical benefits like unemployment insurance, disaster loans and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are extended to self-employed individuals and small businesses in the next government stimulus package. These programs have provided much-needed relief to songwriters and composers during the pandemic, and it is clear additional help is needed. Read the full letter below.

 

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ascap-calls-on-congress

July 20, 2020

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

 

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer,

Thank you for your leadership and the expedited steps taken early to provide relief to millions of Americans who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to thank you for working with the songwriting industry to ensure self-employed individuals were made eligible for enhanced benefits under the CARES Act. If not for your engagement, and the engagement of others in Congress, many of our members would not have been eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI), Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and the then-newly created Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While these critical benefits have provided much-needed relief to songwriters and composers during the pandemic, it is clear additional help is needed. With that in mind, we urge you to consider the unique circumstances of the self-employed and ask you to extend these critical benefits in the next stimulus package.

In our letter to you dated March 19, 2020, our initial request for assistance highlighted the impact government-mandated closures in the retail, restaurant, fitness, theater, live concert and hotel industries would have on public performance royalties. Although we have taken steps to minimize the impact on this important source of income for songwriters and composers, the prolonged duration of the closures, and the recent announcements that additional closures will be required only amplifies the need for additional relief.

In addition, the impact on live music has come into greater focus since our initial letter. According to many estimates, touring and live concerts may not resume until 2021 at the earliest. Touring and live performances are a significant portion of income for many of those we represent, and at this stage it appears this income stream is unlikely to come back anywhere close to normal levels in the near future.

Similarly, TV and film production were shut down during the initial round of closures and in many locations is only expected to reopen as part of Phase 4. Even that point, with the recent spike in COVID cases in important locations like Los Angeles, seems far off. We expect capacity will be limited and it will be far from business as usual. This has severe repercussions for composers, their work, and their livelihood and income.

Since it appears that we are a long way off from a rapid recovery or a return to normalcy in our industry, it is imperative that unemployment benefits, disaster loans/grants, and PPP are extended and continue to be available for the self-employed. While these programs have not fully captured and appreciated the nature of how self-employed individuals and small businesses operate, they remain critical for many songwriters, composers and their families during this time of extreme uncertainty. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress on making improvements to ensure they can fully access the benefits they are entitled to.

Thank you for your assistance and consideration. We appreciate your attention to the issues facing our industry and our nation’s music creators.

 

ascap-calls-on-congress