Germany's GEMA Launches €40 Million Aid Program to Help Blunt Economic Impact of Coronavirus

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BERLIN — German collection society GEMA is rolling out a €40 million euro emergency aid program in an effort to help support its members during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is already foreseeable that the economic consequences of the pandemic will be devastating for the entire creative industry," said Dr. Harald Heker, GEMA CEO. "GEMA will use all its available resources to provide the best possible support for its members whose existence is threatened and to cushion the economically catastrophic consequences for our customers."

GEMA is planning a two-tiered program: 1. The "Protective Shield" stage will be aimed at helping creators who are also performers and who get into financial difficulties due to event cancellations. 2. The "Corona Relief Fund" will provide financial transitional aid for individual cases of hardship within the framework of social and cultural support.

The organization said it will publish detailed information on the emergency aid program on its website this week.

Added Heker, "The drastic restrictions to protect against the pandemic have a devastating effect on the music and culture industry. As far as possible within the scope of its fiduciary mandate, GEMA will support its clients in the licensing of music events in a pragmatic and flexible manner. This is intended to help cushion the effects of the corona crisis, which in many cases threaten the existence of many companies."

The exec also applauded the "Herculean" efforts of federal and state governments to commit relief assistance to the creative community as well.

GEMA said it acted early in order to ensure upcoming distributions to members (April 1 and June 1) will happen as planned.

"From the very beginning, our association was driven by the idea of solidarity and mutual protection and assistance," said Dr. Ralf Weigand, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. "And when, if not now in this unprecedented crisis, will these great principles be in demand and demand immediate action! For us on [the board], it was clear from the start that we need to provide financial support for our colleagues who are threatened due to the protective measures taken in the wake of the corona pandemic."