Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the precariousness of a career in music is becoming more apparent each day. Countless music festivals, tours and concerts - some of which have been months or even years in the making - are being cancelled or postponed. This is causing a huge financial blow to even the most successful musicians as a major chunk of their income comes from live performances, merch sales and meet and greets. But for artists with less fame to their name, those that are still grinding in the studio or those on the cusp of a big release and tour, the impact of recent (and ongoing) events is crushing.
The silver lining is that a number of relief funds have been set up to lend a helping hand to those artists whose financial security, like that of many other working-class people, is becoming all the more uncertain. We at SMACK claim to give a damn about the artists and the music that we write about, so we’ve curated a list of relief funds in Canada and the United States to which fans can donate and support their favourite musicians in this time of dire need. We will continue to update this list as new funds are established.
Canadian Artist + Musician Relief Fund - This GoFundMe was set up to assist low-income artists and musicians whose livelihoods are being affected from cancelled gigs, lost jobs, or a lack of business due to coronavirus. Proceeds go towards artists in the Greater Toronto and Greater Montreal area. Donate here: https://artistrelieffund.org/
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund - The charity regularly supports musicians facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Donate to their special COVID-19 relief fund here: https://www.sweetrelief.org/covid-19-fund.html
Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund - The fund provides direct financial assistance to musicians who have lost work as a result of Corona-related event cancellations. Donate here: https://equalsound.org/project/corona-relief-fund/#donate
Musicians Foundation - This emergency grant program provides the option of donating $200 to directly support one musician, $400 for two musicians or a custom amount. More info here: http://www.musiciansfoundation.org/cv19-crisis/
Toronto Music Fund - Organized by local musicians, the fund will support Toronto-area artists and bands that have lost income-generating opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ykpuuu-covid19-toronto-music-fund
MusiCares - The Grammy Recording Academy and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares have established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support the music community affected by the virus. Donate here: https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/musicares-coronavirus-relief-fund
Music Maker Relief Foundation - The organization was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the Southern United States by directly supporting the musicians who make it. Music Maker is now providing emergency relief to those who lost gigs and it is even setting up grocery deliveries for vulnerable partners. Learn more here: https://musicmaker.org/
Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund - The fund will support creative freelancers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus by offering financial support for unexpected childcare expenses, cancelled events or contracts, and unexpected medical expenses. Donate here: https://freelancecoop.org/emergencyfund/
AGMA Relief Fund - The American Guild of Musical Artists supports members in the fight for higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions. They have set up a COVID-19 relief fund to provide financial grants for both hardship and health needs. More information here: https://www.musicalartists.org/membership/agma-relief-fund/
Manitoba Music COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund - Manitoba Music’s Board of Directors is seeding the fund with $20,000 to begin dispersals of micro grants to support musicians who are suffering from lost income and unrecoverable expenses. Donate here: manitobamusic.com/emergencyrelief
AFC Emergency Financial Assistance Program - As a “lifeline of Canada’s entertainment industry”, the AFC provides financial support to Canadian entertainment professionals to maintain their health, dignity and ability to work. Donate to their Emergency Financial Assistance Program here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/44077
Are you a musician or music industry worker who knows about or has set up another relief fund? Please drop us a line and we’ll be sure to add it to this list.
Are you a fan looking for other ways to share some love ‘n funds with your favourite artists? Buy some merch, give them a shoutout on social media, tell your friends about them, donate directly to them using platforms like Venmo, Patreon or Paypal and stream their music like your life (and theirs) depends on it.