Kanye West’s Yeezy wasn’t the only musician’s business taking a PPP loan, according to documents from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department: Guns N’ Roses, the Eagles, Pearl Jam, Green Day and many other touring musicians took out loans as well. The news was first reported by Rolling Stone.
The financial support, which is part of the federal government’s $2 trillion CARES act to assist small businesses impacted by the coronavirus, is intended to crews and other support staff for current and future tours. Reps for the above acts did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.
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The Eagles, Pearl Jam and Disturbed received between $350,000 and $1 million, and multiple other artists received between $150,000 and $350,000. Other acts who received funds include the Chainsmokers, Cheap Trick, the Head and the Heart, Imagine Dragons, Jason Isbell, Lil Jon, Nickelback, Papa Roach, Pentatonix, Rascal Flatts, Chris Stapleton, Tool, 311, Weezer and Wiz Khalifa. Messina Touring Group, which has promoted many of Taylor Swift’s tours, was also among the recipients.
The news emphasizes how dependent the music industry has become upon touring, and how financially exposed many artists are without it. While streaming is often cited as the savior of the music business — which lost half of its value as CD sales plummeted due to illegal downloading in the early ‘00s — it was actually the concert industry that brought it back to health, spawning multiple nine-figure-grossing tours every year for the past decade. The relationship is a symbiotic one: people rarely pay to see acts they don’t know, and streaming drastically reduced the cost and effort of discovering music. However, touring represents the bulk of nearly all artists’ income.
The aid was significantly less than that received by other entertainment-related businesses, including West’s apparel company Yeezy, STX Entertainment, New Regency and Laemmle Theatres. STX and Yeezy both reported receiving $2-5 million and retaining 100 and 106 jobs, respectively, while New Regency received between $1-2 million, and retained 50 jobs.
It’s also worth noting that not all companies who applied for a PPP loan took the payout. Ithaca Holdings, for instance, which houses Scooter Braun-led management firm SB Projects (Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato) as well as Big Machine Label Group, was approved for a $2 million loan and opted not to take it, according to an insider.
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