Musicians’ Letter Asks Congress to Expand Unemployment Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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Bikini Kill, Neutral Milk Hotel, Fugazi, Downtown Boys, and Wolf Parade are among the hundreds of musicians who have signed a letter asking state and federal lawmakers to expand unemployment and other benefits to self-employed workers in coronavirus (COVID-19) relief packages.

“We ask that you ensure the next Federal relief package includes the extension of unemployment and other benefits to all musicians, DJs, and all gig economy workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19,” the letter reads. “Workers should be able to use any income—including 1099 earnings and demonstrable anticipated future income wiped out by COVID-19—to apply for unemployment and other benefits.”

The letter points to the devastating effects the coronavirus crisis has had on entertainment workers, who make a majority of their income through live performances. View the full letter and list of supporters here.

“All workers need aid right now, regardless of their employment relationship. Musicians and all gig economy workers create value just like anyone else, and we deserve to keep eating like anyone else,” said Downtown Boys in a statement. “The COVID crisis has further revealed the long-burning war between the rich and the rest of us, and musicians need to unite with other workers to demand immediate relief and a new economy.”

Read “How Livestreaming Is Bridging the Gap Between Bands and Fans During the Coronavirus Outbreak” on the Pitch.

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