At the start of 2020, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) was on the shortlist of candidates to possibly represent the Democratic party in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. Much has changed in the past seven months, and while Klobuchar no longer appears to have much chance in finding herself in the White House next January, she is being hailed as a hero within the live events and concert industry.
Earlier this month, Klobuchar and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced a new federal relief bill that aims to assist music and entertainment venues struggling from closing indefinitely amid the ongoing COVID-19 event shutdowns. Dubbed the “Save Our Stages Act,” the bill would extend six months of financial support to independent venues to help them stay afloat while concerts remain on hiatus. The bill’s introduction could not have come at a more dire time for venues around the country, as many don’t expect to remain in business should the pause on live events continue past the quickly-approaching fall months.
Klobuchar recently published an Op-Ed in Rolling Stone to help build public momentum around the bill, which details her own deep, personal connections to rock music.
“I don’t want to lose music in America. It’s one of our most incredible assets, one of the most incredible parts of our culture in America, and one of our most successful exports to the world. It’s not only goodwill to the world, but it also brings in significant revenue to our country and jobs,” Klobuchar mentioned starting the Op-Ed, which was published over the weekend. “You look at this across the country. You think of the Austin music scene. You think about Nashville. You think about California. You think about Minnesota. All these incredible new crops of artists wouldn’t happen if they didn’t have a place to perform. I have a personal love of music and of artists, and that was a big part of my life growing up. I was the suburban high school kid that would go to concerts by Led Zeppelin, the Cars, and Aerosmith.”
Klobuchar went on to address the dangers of monopolies within the concert industry, which has been a growing trend with giants like Live Nation which found itself in the crosshairs of the U.S. Justice Department just last year.
We have to know that this isn’t going to get fixed tomorrow. But at some point, there’ll be a day after tomorrow, and we want to make sure the music industry and the musicians are still strong.
[With music venues], it’s not like some of the businesses can be half-open. It’s either open or closed for the most part. You could envision a day where maybe they can do social distancing, but it’s really hard in mosh pits to do that. (I know that from my daughter. I can’t say I’ve been in a lot of mosh pits myself.) It makes it unique because of the fact that, while the PPP grants were welcome, those venues are in a unique situation where that wasn’t as much help as it was for other businesses. They’ve always operated on a thin margin. There is an estimated $9 billion in losses expected should ticket sales not resume until 2021. And so we really tried to focus this on the independent, smaller venues. It’s an extension of PPP — kind of like the airlines was — to get at a particularly hard-hit industry that the PPP isn’t going to work for.
The Minnesota Senator’s closing comments encourage music fans across the country to continue taking the initiative by calling their congresspeople to further support the “Save Our Stages Act.”
Click here to read Klobuchar’s Op-Ed in full.