Photo: John Fedele/Getty Images
Updated: Biden Administration Announces Creator-Friendly Changes To The Paycheck Protection Program
The Biden Administration announced welcomed changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, increasing aid to music creators
UPDATE: This article, originally posted on Feb. 24, 2021, has been updated with new information for music makers and music small businesses based on the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, and new regulatory updates by the Small Business Administration. Importantly, effective March 3, self-employed individuals (including independent contractors, gig workers, and sole proprietors) will be eligible for an increased PPP loan amount based on their gross income. Per the SBA, this change is limited to applicants who had yet to be approved for a loan as of March 3.
Additionally, per the American Rescue Plan, eligible businesses may now apply for both a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG). Previously, potential applicants for SVOGs were prohibited from applying for assistance from programs. Under the new law, the PPP loan will offset the potential amount of an SVOG. The SVOG program will open for applicants on April 8, and PPP remains open for all small businesses until May 31.
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The Biden Administration and Small Business Administration (SBA) announced new changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Monday, February 22, which will result in increased access to essential financial relief for the creative workforce. Formed as part of the CARES Act, the PPP has enjoyed tremendous bipartisan support due to the program’s ability to quickly deliver relief to qualified small businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. The PPP administers favorable loans to eligible borrowers through participating financial institutions, and many of the loans convert to grants if they are primarily used to fund payroll expenses.
While the relief program is appreciated and utilized by the music community, many struggling creatives were originally left with either limited or no access to the available loans administered by the SBA. But starting today, the SBA attempts to correct these inequities and other longstanding programmatic flaws by implementing new guidance.
Today, @POTUS announced new steps to increase #EquitableAccess of the #PaycheckProtection Program for America’s smallest businesses. Watch this @WhiteHouse video for an important update: https://t.co/vmPm9ZKyTf— SBA (@SBAgov) February 22, 2021
Many creators will be directly impacted by the SBA’s updated funding formula for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals. Previously, the PPP loan was calculated by multiplying an applicant’s payroll expense by 2.5, resulting in a much lower loan for sole-proprietors compared with larger businesses. Under the updated guidance, the SBA will calculate the loan amount for these types of workers by using gross income instead of net profits, resulting in larger payments for many members of the music ecosystem. This change is effective March 3, and applicable to applicants who have yet to be approved for a PPP loan in 2021. The Recording Academy has consistently advocated for this change since March, 2020, which will help make PPP loans more responsive to the needs of self-employed individuals.
From the program’s inception, many minority-owned businesses and businesses located in underserved communities faced difficulty accessing loans due to a lack of a formal pre-existing relationship with large financial institutions. To correct that program, the SBA has earmarked $1 billion in funds for low- and moderate-income areas. While this is a step in the right direction, the Biden Administration and the SBA must continue to increase outreach and assistance to these underserved communities and minority-owned institutions.
The SBA also prioritized getting relief to businesses with 20 employees or less, which started on February 24 and concluded on March 9, 2021. Previously, these businesses struggled to secure PPP funds due to the overcrowded lending portal. Understanding that many businesses in the music ecosystem are extremely small operations, the Academy has long advocated for the SBA to prioritize the delivery of financial relief to the smallest of businesses, many of whom are on the verge of collapse due to the pandemic’s enduring impact.
Starting today, the Biden-Harris Administration is opening an exclusive 14-day PPP loan application period for companies and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. Head to https://t.co/slFWiCx2W0 to learn more. pic.twitter.com/zVzm0xNn1q— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 24, 2021
Other changes in guidance include the elimination of borrowing restrictions for business owners with non-fraud felony convictions, the removal of the disqualifying federal student loan debt delinquency factors, and the expansion of the program to qualify all lawful U.S. residents. Learn more about the application process on the SBA’s website.
While many of these promising changes will positively impact the entire music ecosystem, Congress understood the need of providing additional relief and passed President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” as a result. The relief package addresses the many complex challenges facing creators by extending unemployment assistance, appropriating funds to help small businesses survive, and investing in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Academy applauds President Biden and Congress on the passage of this landmark bill, and looks forward to collaborating on an equitable and seamless implementation of these critical relief programs, many of which will greatly assist the entire music ecosystem.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated to reflect the passage of the American Rescue Plan end of the 14-day exclusive application window.
The Recording Academy Announces 3rd Annual "Behind The Record" Initiative To Continue To #GiveCredit To Creators In Music
This year, the Recording Academy's "Behind The Record" initiative, a global social media activation aimed at spotlighting the many creators in music, introduces Behind The Record Advocacy, a new virtual program to discus creators' needs with Congress
The Recording Academy has announced that it will continue giving credit where credit is due with its 3rd annual "Behind The Record" initiative, a global social media activation aimed at spotlighting the many producers, engineers, songwriters, composers, mixers, instrumentalists, and other creators who contribute to the music recording process. Taking place Friday, Oct. 15, the industry-wide conversation encourages artists across all music genres to celebrate their collaborators' incredible behind-the-scenes work on the tracks, records and albums loved by music fans around the world. This year's campaign features a short film, narrated by Recording Academy Board of Trustees Secretary/Treasurer Om'Mas Keith, illustrating that behind every hit song is an intricate dance of creativity that builds and builds to the final product.
A day before the social media activation's launch, on Thursday, Oct. 14, the Recording Academy will introduce Behind The Record Advocacy, a new virtual advocacy program to inform lawmakers about issues affecting the creators behind their favorite records. Building off the success of the Recording Academy's "Behind The Record" initiative, Academy members will meet virtually with members of Congress nationwide to discuss legislation that would have a direct impact on America's recording artists, songwriters and studio professionals, such as the HITS Act and the American Music Fairness Act. With nearly 200 meetings with congressional offices anticipated for Behind The Record Advocacy, members will focus on ensuring that the individuals behind the record are able to earn fair compensation for their work.
"It takes a village to create a recording, and as an organization that serves to support all music creators, we invite our peers to join us in spotlighting the many music professionals behind our favorite songs," Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said. "While we celebrate the music professionals behind the scenes, we also recognize the importance of fighting for fair treatment of creators. We're proud of the evolution of 'Behind The Record' to include an advocacy element this year as we continue our ongoing work to ensure all music creators flourish."
"Behind The Record" is supported by the Recording Academy's Advocacy Department, Producers & Engineers Wing and Songwriters & Composers Wing. Supporting all music creators—including the artists behind our favorite records—is an urgent initiative for the Recording Academy year-round. Within the past year alone, the Recording Academy established the Songwriters & Composers Wing to better represent the diverse community of music creators who provide the world with the gift of song. The Academy also reintroduced the HITS Act in the House and Senate, which would allow artists and record producers to deduct 100 percent of sound recording production expenses in the year they are incurred, and continued efforts to support women producers and engineers through its Women In The Mix initiative.
To help the Recording Academy further support creators working behind the scenes, artists can participate in "Behind The Record" by:
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to request an access code to the Credit Cover Generator Portal.
- Posting your Credit Cover across social media channels and tagging those who worked on your project. Use hashtags #BehindTheRecord #GiveCredit #WeAreMusic.
- Artists can create Credit Covers for a single track or album, and covers will live in a gallery on the "Behind The Record" website for music fans to view and discover the roles of creatives behind some of their favorite records.
For the third year, Jaxsta, the world's largest public-facing dedicated database of official music credits, provided credits for Warner Music, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Merlin releases.
For more information, please visit the "Behind The Record" website. Follow and join the global conversation on social media using the hashtags #BehindTheRecord, #GiveCredit and #WeAreMusic.
Sounds of Change 2021
Here's What To Expect At "A GRAMMY Salute To The Sounds Of Change" 2021 Special
Hosted by three-time GRAMMY winner Common, "A GRAMMY Salute To The Sounds Of Change" will feature Gladys Knight, LeAnn Rimes, Patti LaBelle, Terrace Martin, Leon Bridges, Brad Paisley and more
With the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show in the rearview and GRAMMY season winding down for the year, The Recording Academy and CBS will present "A GRAMMY Salute To The Sounds Of Change." The show will broadcast Wednesday, March 17, at 9–11p.m. ET/PT and will also be available via livestream and on-demand on Paramount+, ViacomCBS' newest global streaming service. The show will illuminate unforgettable songs that catalyzed social change, both reflecting and shaping their times.
Here's what to expect at "A GRAMMY Salute To The Sounds Of Change."
Common Will Host The Event
The three-time GRAMMY-nominated rapper Common will be the master of ceremonies.
John Lennon Will Loom Large
John Prine Will Get His Due
Two Generations Of Country Greats Will Meet
Women's Empowerment Will Get The Spotlight
Revisit A Classic Anti-Racist Anthem
A Superstar Ensemble Will Sing A Prescient Classic
Photo Courtesy of IBM
The Recording Academy And IBM Debut New Fan Experience Powered By Watson And IBM Cloud Ahead Of The 2021 GRAMMY Awards Show
Fan experiences include the launch of GRAMMY Debates with Watson, the first-ever AI-driven debates about the music industry, and the transition of GRAMMY.com workloads onto the IBM Cloud
The Recording Academy and IBM, the Academy's Official Cloud and AI partner, announced today the launch of GRAMMY Debates with Watson, a new digital fan experience powered by IBM Watson's Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities and cloud technologies. In addition to this new fan experience, the Recording Academy announced it is transitioning its consumer-facing online platform, GRAMMY Backstage, to a digital environment running on IBM Cloud that will seamlessly host the preshow, GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, and additional show content. GRAMMY Debates with Watson and GRAMMY Backstage are now live on GRAMMY.com, and the experience will run through the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, taking place Sunday, March 14.
To view the GRAMMY Debates with Watson, visit GRAMMY.com/Watson from March 2-14.
IBM and the Recording Academy conducted several design-thinking workshops to design technology-driven fan experiences to engage and attract viewers and music fans. They developed an interactive experience that uses the IBM Cloud and IBM Watson to enhance the show's engagement experience. This is the fourth year that IBM has partnered with the Recording Academy to bring the power of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the annual GRAMMY Awards.
GRAMMY Debates with Watson is a multi-week, AI-curated music debate experience available to fans around the world. The experience allows music fans to contribute their points of view to some of the most important music-related conversations today. Hosted on GRAMMY.com, fans can engage in debates related to the most groundbreaking artist or biggest style icon and add their pro or con arguments via the online portal. As an example, one debate topic is "Music education should be mandatory in all K-12 schools." IBM Watson will process the input and data from the debates and lead to "conclusions" that offer analysis on real-time submissions.
The GRAMMY Debates with Watson solution taps into the strong pipeline of innovations coming to IBM Watson from IBM Research to advance AI for business. IBM's AI for business strategy is designed to help organizations predict, optimize and automate processes through advancements in NLP, automation and trust. NLP is key to interpreting the trends and insights hidden within enterprise data. GRAMMY Debates with Watson uses an innovation from the IBM Research Project Debater team – Key Point Analysis – that IBM plans to commercialize in IBM Watson NLP products such as Watson Discovery and Watson Natural Language Understanding. Key Point Analysis reviews fan input on the topics posed on GRAMMY.com to identify the most prevalent points and main topics of the submissions. Natural language generation technology is then used to create cohesive pro and con narratives on each of the topics. The solution will also analyze public posts from social networks, such as Twitter, to inform the debates. Using IBM Watson to analyze and synthesize natural language helps to scale the Recording Academy's editorial team's capabilities to produce more engaging experiences.
"The launch of GRAMMY Debates with Watson gives GRAMMY viewers an entirely new way to engage with fellow music lovers and be a part of the conversation. It's great to continue innovating our digital and fan experiences with IBM and to explore how AI and Cloud technology can be applied to make our awards show more interactive for viewers," Lisa Farris, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at the Recording Academy, said. "We're excited to bring IBM's expertise to the GRAMMY Awards, and the work we do to support music creators and celebrate Music's Biggest Night."
"Our work with the Recording Academy is another example of how we're applying IBM's cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the entertainment industry and bring clients innovative and compelling experiences for their key audiences," Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM, said. "These are the same core technologies—hybrid cloud and AI—that we're using to drive digital transformation for clients around the world."
In addition to GRAMMY Debates with Watson, IBM announced the 63rd GRAMMY Awards day-of-show takeover on GRAMMY.com will be hosted for the first time entirely on the IBM Cloud. This is a part of the Recording Academy's journey to hybrid cloud, building modern, containerized applications on Red Hat OpenShift. IBM will power GRAMMY Backstage, as the digital experience is known, using a hybrid cloud approach enabled by Red Hat OpenShift, the industry's leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, with workloads running on multiple public and private clouds operating seamlessly.
IBM will be migrating the digital environment that hosts the preshow, GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony,, and additional show content (articles, photo galleries, video highlights, etc.) to the IBM Cloud. GRAMMY Backstage will be seamlessly embedded into the GRAMMY.com homepage, and with the IBM Cloud will be able to securely scale the delivery of GRAMMY Backstage to the more than seven million fans worldwide who are anticipated to tune in.
Red Hat OpenShift and the IBM Cloud are the foundations of digital transformation at clients across industries. The natural language processing capabilities found in GRAMMY Debates with Watson can also be found in Watson Assistant, the AI-based customer experience offering used by companies in industries including financial services, healthcare, retail, telecommunications and more. The work IBM is doing with the Recording Academy and other sports entities to engage fans during the pandemic parallels the innovative experiences and technology applications they bring to clients worldwide.
GRAMMY Debates with Watson builds on the 2019 launch of GRAMMY Insights with Watson, an innovative fan experience that applied AI technology to the Award's preshow. The online and broadcast experience provided key insights in real time about the artists on-screen during the GRAMMYs pre-show red carpet. The solution, which also leveraged NLP to mine and source insights, reached hundreds of thousands of live red carpet viewers on GRAMMY.com and created more than 1.6 million total instances of insights.
The 2021 GRAMMY Awards show will air on Sunday, March 14, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective Partners With Amazon Music To Award Scholarships For Students At Black Colleges & Universities
The multi-year scholarship and mentorship program will provide selected students with dynamic networking opportunities and donations of music equipment to HBCU music programs
The Recording Academy's Black Music Collective (BMC), a group of prominent Black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying Black voices within the Academy and the music community, has announced today a new multi-year mentorship and scholarship program in partnership with Amazon Music that will provide select students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) the opportunity to learn all facets of the music industry. Select students will receive scholarships from Amazon Music, the opportunity to meet and network with members of the music industry, including Amazon Music executives and the Black Music Collective, and will accumulate a network of mentors who will help them realize their dreams and bring them to life.
"We are proud that the newly-established Black Music Collective is already making an impact in developing the next generation of Black talent in music and creating a direct pipeline to career opportunities," Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said. "This is a collaborative industry, and we’re incredibly grateful to our partners at Amazon Music for being equally committed to cultivating a more equitable and inclusive music community."
The Black Music Collective will select three students enrolled at an HBCU who will be awarded $10,000 each for a 2021/2022 scholarship and the application process will open in summer 2021. The scholarship recipients will also participate in a two-week immersive rotation program with Amazon Music department leads. Additionally, Amazon Music will provide a $20,000 donation for musical equipment to two HBCU music programs.
"We've teamed up with the Black Music Collective to build this program, and ensure we're taking the steps toward creating an inclusive environment where Black creators can realize their career objectives," Ryan Redington, VP of Music Industry at Amazon Music, said. "We couldn’t have asked for better partners to develop a multi-year commitment with, that will utilize our resources to give students more opportunities to reach their own goals while ushering in a new generation of Black leaders."
More details on the scholarship and mentorship program, including eligibility requirements, will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the Black Music Collective, visit here. Progress and future announcements regarding the Recording Academy's recent initiatives can be found here.