DC Bureau

‘They’re the original gig-workers’: Musicians financially impacted by coronavirus crisis

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ It’s a tough time to be a musician, with the coronavirus pandemic canceling concerts both big and small.

With a lack of gigs for independent musicians, Mitch Glazier with the Recording Industry Association of America said the artists are not getting paid and are financially hurting.

“They’re the original gig-workers,” Glazier said.

Glazier is now asking for Congress to step in an help.

“They did appropriately address creators and independent contractors in the CARES Act – the problem has been in the implementation,” Glazier said.

Glazier said the unemployment rules don’t recognize that most musicians aren’t full-time employees.

“The relief that they get doesn’t match the income they get,” he said.

Glazier said the fix is simple: musicians who don’t have steady jobs and go from gig to gig need unemployment benefits based on their free-lance income.

“The policies need to be updated and that’s why there’s a silver lining of this coronavirus crisis, in my opinion, that we are addressing this quicker than what would be the typical model,” Rep. Tom Reed, R-New York, said.

“We have to be prepared to make sure workers who continue to be out of work in that industry are still taken care of,” Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-New York, added.

Brindisi said time is of the essence as some unemployment assistance is set to run out at the end of next month.

“Folks who work in industries that may still not be able to come back as of July 31 are going to continue to be impacted,” Brindisi said.

Both Reed and Brindisi said Congress may need to take action to be sure those in the hard-knock music industry can continue to make music after the pandemic.

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