Indie live music coalition demands immediate release of $16B in SBA SVOG grants

A coalition of trade to groups representing independent music venues, promoters, agents, and managers is demanding that the SBA immediately fund all eligible Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) businesses.

Members of the coalition include the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), the League of Historic American Theatres, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition (PAMAC), and the Performing Arts Alliance.

Missed deadlines, broken promises

Yesterday, June 9th marked the SBA’s deadline to grant funds to businesses suffering 90% or more losses and to begin making grants to the second tier of businesses suffering 70% or more losses.

More than 4,910 small business owners of the almost 15,000 applicants fall into the high loss category. To date less than 1% had been funded.

“If every one of the 500 reviewers assigned to the program reviewed just one application per day since the application portal opened, approximately 14,000 applications submitted could have been fully processed by now,” the coalition said in a statement. “Yet as of June 9, the SBA reported it had awarded a total of 90 grants.”

“The inability of the SBA to release legislated funds designated for those eligible for the Shuttered Venues Operator Grants, has jeopardized the careers and livelihoods of thousands of workers: musicians, their reps, promoters, stagehands, venue staff, ad infinitum, and jeopardized the very fabric of culture that is the basis of good community living.,” said NITO president, Frank Riley of High Road Touring .”We are only asking for the opportunity to resume our viable and vital businesses and restaff our offices to begin competing with the multinationals who have seemingly unlimited funds and power.”

“We couldn’t be more grateful that Congress saw fit to provide $16 billion to Save Our Stages, but this untenable wait for the emergency relief has been torturous and damaging to our industry, our employees, and our communities,” said NIVA Executive Director Rev. Moose. “With the changes made by the White House and our Congressional Champions, we are hopeful that the SBA will award the grant funds without any further delay.”

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is also the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and an online professor at the Berklee College Of Music.

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