The following article was reported by Tim Ingham and originally published on musicbusinessworldwide.com.
German performing rights organization GEMA has announced the launch of an emergency aid fund worth up to €40m ($43m) for its songwriter and composer members.
“It is already foreseeable that the economic consequences of the corona pandemic will be devastating for the entire creative industry,” says Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA.
“GEMA will use all available means to support its existentially threatened members as best [we can] to cushion the economically catastrophic effects for our customers.”
The €40m aid fund will be provided by GEMA in a two-stage program, the PRO has confirmed.
The first tranche of money, says GEMA, will be given to those composers and lyricists who also act as performers and therefore face financial difficulties due to the cancellation of live concerts. A second run of payments will then provide financial support for “individual hardship cases” amongst the songwriting community, which will fall under the framework of GEMA’s “social and cultural” support. GEMA has pledged to publish more detailed information on the emergency aid program (beneficiaries, application, payment, etc.) in the course of the coming week.
“From the very beginning, GEMA was supported by the idea of solidarity and mutual protection and support,” says Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the GEMA Supervisory Board. “In this unprecedented crisis, these great principles are in demand and require immediate action.”
Weigand promised that GEMA’s emergency aid program would “provide financial aid quickly and without red tape”.
He added: “This shows once again what significant advantages our system of shared rights management has for every creative person, even in difficult times.”
In a further response to the Coronavirus pandemic, GEMA has further promised to offer “pragmatic and flexible support” and “flexible goodwill arrangements” to those companies usually expected to pay the PRO for licensing music events.
GEMA has also told its songwriter members that upcoming royalty distributions set for both April 1 and June 1 are secured, and will go ahead as planned.
Netflix confirmed its $100m emergency relief fund on Friday, with the company’s Chief Content Office, Ted Sarandos, noting: “This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide.”
You can read Sarandos’s full statement on the $100m fund below.
The Covid-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally – leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.
This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.
Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.
Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.
In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.
What’s happening is unprecedented. We are only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time.