| 21 Jun 2024
COVID-19: Universal Music Group stem out initiatives for music industry

MUMBAI: Amid the tension brewing amongst us due to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Music Group has declared a variety of initiatives for the musicians, employees and the music industry.

According to the report, the non-UMG effort comes in the form of an unspecified donation to the relief effort of the Recording Academy’s charitable organization MusiCares’ — which launched earlier this month with $2 million and has received “generous” donations from most major streaming services as well as Warner Music Group — and Help Musicians UK. The company pledged to match its U.S. employees’ donations.

The pandemic has hit UMG, the world’s largest music company, close to home: Its chairman and CEO, Lucian Grainge, has been hospitalized with the virus for at least two weeks.

The initiatives were announced Monday in a post on the company’s website; details are below.

* Employees

“We have implemented programs to protect workers’ pay and enhanced benefits and we will be launching the UMG All Together Now Foundation to support employees who face extraordinary needs.” A company source tells Variety the pay and benefits are guaranteed until at least June 30.

* Supporting Our Artists and Songwriters

“Our companies – including our labels, Universal Music Publishing Group, Universal Music Enterprises, Bravado as well as our independent distribution services – are offering various forms of assistance (such as interest-free royalty advances and fee waivers, among others) to help qualifying artists, songwriters and independent labels affected by COVID-19 weather these challenging times. We are also providing our artists with tools and platforms to reach fans and generate income when touring and other live appearances are not possible.”

* Supporting the Music Community.

“We have launched All Together Now: Stay Connected, expanding our longstanding philanthropic program to support those in the music community most deeply impacted by the virus in two ways: 1) direct financial support from UMG to organizations such as MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund and Help Musicians UK that provide relief to impacted music workers; and 2) matching the contributions that our U.S. employees donate to qualifying charities.”

* Using the Healing Power of Music.

“UMG’s artists and songwriters are giving their time, energy and resources to help all those affected by the pandemic, including making financial commitments to supporting a range of organizations. And whether it’s a special performance, a new song, a helpful message or something else, UMG is backing numerous artist and songwriter initiatives to help those in need. You can find the growing list of artists and their initiatives HERE.”

Recent examples of this effort include OneRepublic and Interscope providing a portion of the proceeds from the streaming of the group’s new single “Better Days” through September 2020; Selena Gomez and Bravado donating a portion of the proceeds from her new “Dance Again” merchandise; Bravado providing merchandise for the iHeart Living Room Concert for America; Billie Eilish creating a coloring book to raise funds for UNICEF; and UMG in Spain partnering with LaLiga to host a “living-room” benefit on Saturday to raise money for hospitals.