General national economic measures
*small business relief or other financial support
*income support for employees
*unemployment relief for freelance workers
In 2020, the government released a €7.2 billion aid package including, income support, direct subsidies, liquidity support:
COVID-19 Wage Subsidy scheme: refunded up to 70 percent of an employee's wages - up to a level of €410.
COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit (“sick pay”): a scheme to support people who couldn’t work in the short term because they were sick or ill.
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment:a payment of €350 per week available to employees and the self-employed who had lost their job on (or after) March 13 due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Liquidity support for affected businesses (increased to €1 billion).
The Revenue Commission posted advice and information for tax payers and agents: here.
More info about the government’s measures here and here.
Additional measures announced by Central Bank of Ireland (CBI):
Release of the countercyclical capital buffer (reduced from 1% to 0%).
Three month payment moratoria. Banks would introduce a three-month payment moratoria on mortgages, and personal and business loans for some business and personal customers affected by COVID-19.
Lastly, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities issued a moratorium on disconnections of domestic customers for non-payment to the gas and electricity suppliers.
National measures specific to the music sector or to culture in general
The music sector could benefit from the the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Package and Pandemic Unemployment Payement.
- On 16th June 2020, the Government announced €25 million in extra support to help the Arts and Culture sector recover from the Covid19 Emergency. The funding included bursaries and commissions to artists and arts organisations, and resources for museums and culture workers as they prepare for the re-opening of society that summer. This was brand new funding, coming on top of funding previously allocated to the sector. A total of €20 million was to be allocated to the Arts Council bringing its allocation that year to €100 million. A further €5 million was to be made available for other measures, including securing the future of key cultural and museum spaces and facilities throughout Ireland, and the production of high-quality digital art and on-line performances. See more here.
Ireland’s new Live Performance Support Scheme (announced on November 2nd 2020) aimed to enable promoters, producers and venues to plan live performances in the coming months. The €5 million fund was to allow commercial organisers of live performances to commence preparations immediately and productions to go ahead, with either a live audience or to share content through streaming.
Measures taken by local collecting society organisations
IMRO took some measures to mitigate the effect of the crisis on its members and customers, with a most frequently asked questions:
- For customers: https://www.imro.ie/industry-news/customer-notice-from-the-irish-music-rights-organisation-imro-in-relation-to-covid-19/
- For members: https://www.imro.ie/music-creators/advice-resources-for-music-creators-during-coronavirus-outbreak/#financial-supports
- IMRO also contributed to the creation of the Irish Music Industry COVID-19 Relief Fund (more on this below).
Other music fund available
- The Irish Music Industry COVID-19 Relief Fund to support Irish music creators was set up by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and First Music Contact (FMC), who were to administer the fund.
In addition to the financial contributions by IMRO and IRMA, Spotify made a donation and also matching donations were made to the Irish Music Industry COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund via its Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page.
The fund was created to assist Irish music creators who were experiencing the most financial need. It was open to songwriters, composers, performers, session musicians and arrangers who were trying to navigate through this challenging time.
Successful applicants were to receive a one-off emergency relief payment to the value of €750. Applications were to be reviewed by a committee of music industry professionals from a wide spectrum of industry sectors and organisations.
More info: firstmusiccontact.com
- Culture Ireland:
(1) Culture Ireland honoured grants for cancelled and postponed events
(2) A payment to support employees and self-employed people who were unemployed or who had their hours of work reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More info: https://www.cultureireland.ie/news/article/culture-ireland-covid-19-update
- Microenterprises could access COVID-19 loans of up to €50,000 from MicroFinance Ireland. Loans were available at an interest rate of between 6.8% and 7.8%. Businesses could apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. More info: Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loan FAQs
- Enterprise Ireland had a number of supports available to help businesses mitigate the impact of Covid-19: https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/about-us/services/covid-19/
- Arts Council fund: http://artscouncil.ie/Funds/Arts-Council-COVID-19-Crisis-Response-Award/
Support from online services
-Spotify made a donation to the fund set up by IMRO, IRMA and FMC to support Irish music creators (see above under "measures taken by local collecting society organisations").
- Facebook Ireland with Culture Ireland, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht came together to support and present live presentations by Irish artists (in English or Irish) to ensure that the arts could continue to be enjoyed online with the hashtag #IrelandPerforms. Funding of €100,000 was made available on a match funding basis by Facebook Ireland and Culture Ireland, a division of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. All successful artists were awarded €1,000.
More info: https://www.cultureireland.ie/downloads-public/Ireland_Performs_guidelines.pdf
For more initiatives by online services, click here.
Support from national radio and other media
Social media campaign to promote music during the crisis
- The National Campaign for the Arts made strides in tackling government on improving the lot of the Arts and Creative sector during and post pandemic
- NCFA – National Campaign for the Arts - called upon Government and political parties to ensure that the arts sector was not left behind in the huge task of recovery planning for Ireland: here. This was granted on 16th June 2020 (see above).
Local programmes supported by EU funds covering music
Microfinance Ireland benefitted from a guarantee funded by the European Union under the programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).
Business and other expected losses
Culture Ireland measured the impact of the crisis on the sector through a questionnaire: here.
- First Music Contact conducted regular surveys to assess losses: here.
- The Arts Council of Ireland assessed losses from it’s 340 funded clients and ran a survey of Individual Artists: here.