ARA Summer 2020 Newsletter — A Letter From Our Board

Dear ARA Community,

We wanted to take the opportunity in this Summer 2020 newsletter to not only update you with some exciting developments about our organization but to provide you with some information and resources related to the myriad of issues we are all facing. While we are feeling the weight of this historical time, we are also inspired by the ingenuity, tenacity, and creativity of music creators and their allies. We stand with you in the fight against the inequities that are being widely unearthed and the massive loss of income in our industry.

Making a living in our industry has always presented challenges — today, it’s a profession in crisis. With live gigs shut down, production deeply hampered, and abysmal streaming royalties, many artists are facing a sharp downturn in income and some are struggling to get the basics: food, shelter, and medical care.

At the time this writing, Congress is considering essential improvements to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — changes that would provide desperately needed help to many working Americans, including musicians and songwriters. Please act now to tell your elected representatives to pass this legislation.

We stand in solidarity and allyship with the Black Lives Matter movement and all those demanding justice across our nation. These stark racial inequities have always and still permeate the music industry; we pledge to continue to confront these injustices and push for transformation.

We rededicate ourselves to our role advocating for working songwriters and musicians. We are honored to do this work alongside you. As we do so, we are honored and excited about the addition of Ivan Barias to our Board.

We stand in solidarity and allyship with the Black Lives Matter movement and all those demanding justice across our nation. These stark racial inequities have always and still permeate the music industry; we pledge to continue to confront these injustices and push for transformation.

We rededicate ourselves to our role advocating for working songwriters and musicians. We are honored to do this work alongside you.

Below is a list of key ARA developments and recent advocacy work.

Fighting for musicians and songwriters, including a living wage for everyone who makes music. It’s never been more critical. Canceled gigs, difficulty qualifying for unemployment benefits, album release delays, and a spike in music piracy are just the beginning of the challenges artists face in this pandemic.

  • We are partnering with a huge cross-section of music industry partners to ensure government relief reaches everyone who needs it in our industry and accounts for all income sources lost for musicians and songwriters.
  • In this newsletter, you will find a COVID-19 resource list for musicians. ARA put together the first set of resources that sparked the creation of an industry-wide website.
  • We are fighting for fair pay for musicians and songwriters from remaining income streams like digital music. A recent United States Copyright Office report found the Digital Millennium Copyright Act law for online music is woefully out of date and set the stage for change. You can read our statement in this newsletter.

Launching the ARA Music Council, a strong and diverse group of artists and experts who will guide and advise us as we evolve to better serve musicians and songwriters. We’ve also unveiled our Artists’ Bill of Rights and launched a new online forum for artists to discuss their lives, business, and needs. These are all part of our new website.

Educating our community, to ensure musicians, songwriters and fans know their rights, understand the laws that shape the music business, and have the most up to date information and resources. While these programs typically have been live, we’ve re-tooled for this socially-distanced time with our new Words on Music series. This newsletter includes the first two installments focused on the current upheavals and what should come next — a conversation with Nashville club owners Telisha and Chris Cobb and an interview with award-winning author, songwriter, and historian Alice Randall.

Listening and learning, to honor the vital and overdue focus on structural racism, privilege, and justice that has exploded in recent weeks. We have always tried to advocate for artists not just as workers, but as citizens. That commitment has led ARA to join recent civil justice reform efforts and participate in this national moment of reflection and change. In this newsletter, you’ll find a list of anti-racist resources compiled with musicians and our ARA community in mind.

We hope you are healthy, safe, and inspired by the moments of possibility for positive change. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your thoughts, ideas, and feedback.

Warmly,

Ivan Barias

Rosanne Cash

Thomas Manzi

John McCrea

Tift Merritt

Matthew Montfort

Maggie Vail

Artist-run, non-profit advocating for musicians, performers, & songwriters in the digital landscape. (Formerly the Content Creators Coalition or “c3”)

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