According to a new report published by Freelancers Union, 84 percent of freelance music industry professionals haven’t received COVID-19 government relief.
The non-profit organization has provided employment protections to freelance workers since 1995. Freelancers Union recently surveyed its members, which garnered 2,755 responses from April 22nd—29th. Of those respondents, 411 worked in the music and performing arts field.
In a music industry subset of respondents from the survey, 93 percent reported a loss of income as a result of COVID-19, with 34 percent reporting losses over $10,000. While the government made lofty promises to provide assistance to displaced workers, of the 85 percent of these music and performing arts professionals who applied for relief, 84 percent have yet to receive any funds.
Those respondents in the 85 percentile who have applied for relief are among the lucky ones, the data shows. Large numbers of music industry professionals have been unable to even apply for relief due to a variety of circumstances. Billboard reports,
59% reported that they experienced delays or were unable to complete their applications due to broken and unresponsive web systems, while 58% reported that they received “confusing or incorrect guidance” on how to apply as a freelancer, 37% reported that applications or funding streams closed before they were able to apply and 33% reported that they spent over 20 hours researching and/or applying for government relief.
The reported confusion over relief packages is also shown by the study in a breakdown of what programs industry professionals applied for. The overwhelming majority (91 percent) have applied for traditional and/or pandemic unemployment, while 36 percent applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID), 29 percent applied for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and 10 percent applied for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP).
Even for those who are able to wade through the jargon and apply successfully, there is still plenty of red tape to get around. Of those who completed applications, 83 percent are still waiting to hear back from one or more relief programs, 24 percent have been denied by one or more programs, and 11 percent are yet to receive funding despite being approved for one or more programs.
All told, only 15 percent of music and performing arts freelancers who have applied for unemployment have received it. Freelancers have had even worse luck with the other programs, with only 8 percent receiving EID loans, 6 percent getting PPP loans, and 3 percent collecting SEAP assistance.
For more information on the survey, head to the Freelancers Union website.