State lawmaker asks for music industry to be considered in draft of next stimulus bill

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are considering another round of stimulus checks but when and if that happens has yet to be decided; one Tennessee lawmaker isn’t waiting to let Capitol Hill leaders know what they can do to help.

In a bipartisan effort, U.S. Representative Jim Cooper and 27 others from across the country sent a letter to White House congressional leadership asking that the music and live event industry be considered during drafting of the next stimulus bill.

“Many musicians, for example, are called independent contractors, and often time the law doesn’t know how to help those people,” said Rep. Cooper.

News 2 spoke to Nashville-based singer-songwriter Sasha McVeigh who said she has witnessed the confusion surrounding employment benefits for musicians.

“A lot of people haven’t been eligible for unemployment, or they’ve had such an issue with filing that they still aren’t receiving money. Some people aren’t eligible for the grants,” said McVeigh.

She is one of the countless musicians in the greater Nashville area that has started sharing musical performances via livestream, with the hope that people will donate.

Of this recent practice, Rep. Cooper said, “…songwriters, musicians, everybody …it’s hard to make a living on Zoom.”

McVeigh said the ongoing questions about finding financial help prompted her to create a page of resources for her peers.

“I was inundated with 50 to 150 messages, emails, and calls with people asking for further assistance,” said McVeigh.

Cooper said even as stay-at-home orders are eased across the country, revenues won’t be the same for some time.

“You need live performances, merchandise sales, and other things to make money. Those things are hard for the industry right now. We need to make sure that the creators don’t go under.”

McVeigh said she’s grateful for the Congressman’s efforts and hopes others would agree.

“You look at what people are doing during this quarantine, what are they doing to pass the time… they’re watching livestreams, they’re listening to music, they’re watching movies – everything is creative,” said McVeigh, “How can you devalue something that is actually getting people through this pandemic.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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