Georgia Music Community Pens Letter to Senators for Stimulus Help

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Democratic candidates for Georgia senate Rev. Raphael Warnock, right, and Jon Ossoff, attend a drive-in rally with Muscogee County Democrats at the Civic Center in Columbus, Ga., on Oct. 29, 2020.

More than 80 members of Georgia's music community have signed a letter asking newly elected Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for additional financial support in the next stimulus package.

The letter states that while "the recent stimulus package's Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation and Save Our Stages benefits are invaluable, but more must be done."

"The music community has come together to assist the many people and businesses that make up our industry, and we have advocated emphatically for the federal and state support necessary to get them through this time," the letter reads. "We are asking for your leadership in the next COVID package to assure Georgia music creators can continue to survive working at their craft."

The letter is signed by artists including Drive-by TruckersLittle Big Town21 SavageCardi BMigosZac Brown and establishes that Georgia is home to more than 70,000 artists and songwriters and over 9,600 music businesses and venues. It goes on to add that the state's music industry supports more than 45,000 jobs and contributes $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.

In 2018, the Peach state passed the Georgia Music Investment Act that provides a tax credit of up to 15% of a company's qualified expenses in the state related to musical production and performance. The letter also signed by 40 Watt Club and Black Music Action Coalition, asks the new senators to help the local music community build on the broadening success of that bill passed just two years before the pandemic.

"Music has always inspired a path forward, driven innovation, propelled the economy, and supported a robust workforce throughout Georgia and the country," the letter reads. "We have much yet to address – from further COVID relief to social justice reform to digital accountability to strong trade deals. With you and your colleagues working to protect and support music and its creators, the coming years will be as bright than ever."

Read the full letter below and head here to see a full list of signees:

Dear Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff:

On behalf of Georgia's diverse music community, we would like to congratulate you both on your election victories. Your stories captivated the world and now, as the Peach State's own Ray Charles memorably recorded, everyone has "Georgia On My Mind."

Georgia's bond with music has always been strong. Georgia is home to more than 70,000 artists and songwriters and over 9,600 music businesses and venues. Music supports more than 45,000 Georgia jobs and contributes $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. And the Georgia Music Investment Act of 2018, with the continued work of Georgia lawmakers, has the potential to be the country's most robust music incentive program, attracting new music production to the state. We hope we can count on you to protect the music that gives Georgia and our nation its identity and culture.

This past year has, of course, been a challenging one. Music and musical artists were deeply affected by the pandemic the moment venue doors closed, with no foreseeable return to live gigs and touring. The music community has come together to assist the many people and businesses that make up our industry, and we have advocated emphatically for the federal and state support necessary to get them through this time. Legislation like the recent stimulus package's Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation and Save Our Stages benefits are invaluable, but more must be done. We are asking for your leadership in the next COVID package to assure Georgia music creators can continue to survive working at their craft.

The need for music and its creators has never been stronger – helping us connect in a socially distanced world, driving campaigns for social justice, and brightening lives during an historically trying time. Music has always inspired a path forward, driven innovation, propelled the economy, and supported a robust workforce throughout Georgia and the country. We have much yet to address – from further COVID relief to social justice reform to digital accountability to strong trade deals. With you and your colleagues working to protect and support music and its creators, the coming years will be as bright than ever.

Once again, congratulations and thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you in the new Congress.