The collaboration will “work on unique programming that will help bring live performances back into music venues safely.” Additionally, YouTube will raise awareness and funding for the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund. The aid is intended to provide financial support to America’s most vulnerable live music venues for essential costs like rent, staff salaries, personal protective equipment, taxes, utilities, and expenses from events canceled due to COVID-19.
“YouTube is a place where artists and fans around the world come to connect and build community,” YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl stated. “With traditional concerts on hold, never has there been a more important time to support the live music industry through our partnership with NIVA. We’re committed to doing our part in saving independent venues and continuing to bring artists and fans together through music.”
Formed earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NIVA is a non-profit organization that aims to “preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.” The organization consists of over 2,000 independent music venues, promoters, and festivals across all 50 states.
Upon finding that 90% of independent venues are at risk of closure, NIVA spearheaded the #SaveOurStages lobbying initiative, which amassed over 1.6 emails sent to legislators. Consequently, Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota (the latter of whom formerly ran as presidential candidate) co-authored the Save Our Stages Act to provide federal funding for independent live music venues.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voiced support for the bill as well. “These places have to survive,” Schumer said. “Saying we can do without these is like saying you can do without your liver or your right arm. We need them very much.”
If passed, the Save Our Stages Act would distribute grants of $12 million or 45% of a venue’s 2019 operating costs, whichever is lower. The bill’s language is intended to “narrowly define independent live venue operators, promoters, and talent representatives to prevent large, international corporations from receiving federal grant funding.”
The need for NIVA awareness
Last month, the U.S. Congress left for recess without a COVID-19 relief bill, leaving the Save Our Stages Act in limbo. NIVA’s partnership with YouTube will fuel awareness for the Save Our Stages Act as Congress finalizes legislation, in hopes that live music venues will receive the financial relief they need.
“With the entire independent venue and promoter industry on the verge of massive collapse, we’ve been fighting urgently for the Save Our Stages Act which will provide meaningful relief to our members and the independent music community,” explained NIVA Co-Founder and Treasurer Stephen Sternschein. “YouTube’s direct involvement helps us generate awareness for the plight of independent live music and raise funds for NIVA’s emergency relief efforts. This could literally be the difference between some venues going under or holding on until Congress comes back from recess to pass much-needed federal relief. The independent concert industry will be reeling for years to come from the devastating revenue loss related to COVID-19, so we’re excited about what YouTube and NIVA can do together to bring the live experience back.”
Stay tuned to NIVA’s official YouTube channel for programming from their partnership.
Image credit: Oscar Keys