In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, DSPs have launched a number of initiatives to support the creative community. Relief funds and creator advances have emerged as a direct way of providing financial support to those in need across the industry, in addition to tools intended to assist creators with monetisation.
Below are publicly announced measures being taken across the industry by DSPs. This list does not include initiatives with no relation to the music sector, hence relief efforts at corporate level by Amazon, Apple, Google and Tencent are not included.
This is a global overview. For DSPs action specific to Europe, please visit IMPALA’s dedicated site: impalamusic.org/covid-19-resources/
Bandcamp waived sales commissions on March 20th, leading to $4.3M in sales going directly to creators. On May 1st they repeated this initiative and fans paid artists $7.1M.
Bandcamp will once again be waiving commissions on the first Fridays of June and July. Those waivers will not include artist subscription payments or vinyl pressing campaign pledges.
Spotify has launched the Covid-19 Music Relief project to recommend and ‘amplify the efforts’ of verified local organisations such as music-facing charities or local collecting society Covid crisis funds for financial relief to industry. These include MusiCares, Music Health Alliance, Preservation Hall Foundation and The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation in the US, MusicHelps in New Zealand, Support Act in Australia, UBC (Brazilian Union of Composers) in Brazil, Unión de Músicxs Independientes in Argentina, and the Unison Benevolent Fund in Canada, as well as several other initiatives across Europe. Spotify has made an undisclosed donation to the Covid-19 Music Relief project and will match donations up to a total contribution of $10M.
Spotify has further launched the Artist Fundraising Pick, a new feature allowing artists to link to a fundraising page directly from their profile. This feature was updated to include payment services including PayPal and Cash App, enabling artists to directly and seamlessly solicit donations on Spotify’s platform.
Spotify is also waiving its revenue share on music talent marketplace SoundBetter and waiving fees on its Anchor Listener Support feature, as well as providing extended free trials on its audio recording platform Soundtrap.
Apple Music has established an advance fund of up to $50M for independent labels that meet a quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings and have a direct distribution deal in place with Apple. This includes all Merlin member labels, but major label distributed independent labels are ineligible. Advances are based on labels’ past earnings, and are recoupable against future earnings.
Soundcloud has partnered with Twitch to fast-track Soundcloud creators directly to Twitch affiliate status, which enables creators to monetise livestreams on Twitch immediately.
Soundcloud has added a ‘fan support button’ which allows artists to link to a fundraising page directly from their profile. This feature includes payment services such as Venmo, GoFundMe, PayPal or Cash App.
Soundcloud has pledged $5M worth of free promotional support for creators. It has also launched a $10M artist accelerator program to support select independent artists.
As part of a wider $250M commitment to relief efforts, TikTok has established the TikTok Community Relief Fund ‘for local organisations that serve groups representative of TikTok’s diverse user communities’. This includes musicians and artists. Through this fund TikTok has made a $2M donation to MusiCares.
TikTok is adding ‘donation stickers’ that can be added to videos for a selection of charities and causes, including MusiCares.
Facebook has started a Small Business Grant programme, offering $100M in cash grants and ad credit for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. A call for applications was announced for United States locations in April, and other territories will launch in the coming weeks.
Facebook has expanded access to its virtual gifts feature ‘Stars’ to musicians utilising its streaming platform Facebook Live. Facebook is also working on features to enable creators to monetise livestreams.
Amazon Music will make a donation to MusiCares for every view of H.E.R.’s Instagram Live Series, Girls With Guitars, up to a total of $30,000. Amazon has further made an undisclosed donation to MusiCares.
Amazon Music is also contributing to the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund.
Deezer has launched a ‘Stay At Home’ hub with playlists and other content for Deezer users.
Tidal, Pandora, SiriusXM and YouTube have made undisclosed donations to MusiCares.
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