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Newly-Formed #SaveLiveEventsNow Group Urges Federal Action on Pandemic Relief for Concert Workers

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A group led by several talent agencies, major concert promoters and trade unions have launched their own advocacy efforts to petition the government for relief for the more than 12 million live event workers across the U.S. who are out of work due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Calling themselves #SaveLiveEventsNow, the group consists of nearly 30 companies and organizations. It includes labor unions such as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; concert and tour promoters and venue operators AEG Presents, Feld Entertainment, Live Nation Entertainment and Oak View Group; talent agencies CAA, Endeavor, Paradigm, UTA and WME; and other companies and organizations including the Recording Industry Association of America, Music Artists Coalition, Rhino, TAIT and Universal Music Group.

"I miss touring more than anything – the feeling you get when you walk out on stage created by the energy of a sold out show is one that can’t be replicated. My tour with the Backstreet Boys was one of the many impacted this year and there are so many people who were expecting to work on it who suddenly lost their jobs because of the shutdown," says touring artist and Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter. "My heart aches for them but that’s not enough – we need to help in a meaningful way. We need Congress to help in a meaningful way. Save Live Events Now is bringing the industry together at a time when we need it most and I’m proud to support their efforts to get relief for live industry workers.”

In lobbying for Congress to extend support to entertainment workers hit hard by the pandemic, #SaveLiveEventsNow has identified several legislative priorities for lawmakers drafting relief legislation:

  • Pass an extension of the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation that expired this summer.
  • Provide employers with retention tax credits for employees it keeps on payroll and for furloughed employees for whom they provide employer-sponsored healthcare.
  • Pass a federally backed 100% COBRA premium subsidy to keep employees insured on their job-based healthcare plan if they lose their jobs.More equitable unemployment benefits for mixed income earners, like musicians with multiple jobs, who now face unnecessary burdens when filing for unemployment.
  • Pass the bipartisan Performing Artist Tax Parity Act (H.R. 3121), which would allow performing artists making less than $100,000 per year to deduct expenses including headshots, recording demo tapes and classes from their adjusted gross income. The current law, written in 1986, only allows these deductions for artists making less than $16,000 annually.
  • Include support for venues under 5,000 seats and publicly-owned venues in the Save Our Stages Act, the bill introduced by senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn in consultation with the National Independent Venue Association. "These venues are essential employers for live event workers and need access to grants to remain viable until mass gatherings resume," said #SaveLiveEventsNow in a statement.

AEG and Live Nation have called Save Our Stages "an important first step for some of the most vulnerable parts of the industry, but it is only a first step." In response to the proposed changes to the legislation outlined today by #SaveLiveEventsNow, NIVA released the following statement:

"NIVA is grateful for broad, bipartisan Congressional support to preserve independent live venues, and Congress’s recognition of the role independent venues play not only in local economies around the country, but also the role independent venues play in fostering artists. While NIVA was not asked to join these efforts, NIVA has strongly supported legislative efforts to support those truly in need in the live music ecosystem, including by expanding and extending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits for furloughed employees, expanding the Employee Retention Tax Credit, and supporting the Mixed Earners Act and the RESTART Act."

Earlier this week President Donald Trump ended talks over a package of COVID-related relief bills including Save Our Stages, but called for the talks to resume earlier today.

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