Major Global Record Labels Pledge Millions In Pandemic Fight

By Karen Bliss 4/23/20 |

photo credit: Kaikoro (iStock)
The three multi-national major labels, Universal, Warner and Sony, have all taken significant steps to help their employees, as well as artists and songwriters, by dedicating funds to aid them during the covid-19 pandemic. 

How the monies are being allocated by territory has not been publicly defined, but the Canadian offices are included in the company-wide safety-nets.

The Universal Music Group (UMG) press release states outright that the company “is making a global commitment” and has “implemented programs to protect workers’ pay and enhanced benefits” and launched UMG All Together Now Foundation “to support employees who face extraordinary needs.”

UMG’s companies, including its labels, Universal Music Publishing Group, Universal Music Enterprises, Bravado and independent distribution services, are also offering interest-free royalty advances and fee waivers to artists, songwriters and indie labels, if eligible.

UMG’s All Together Now: Stay Connected has also supported MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund and Help Musicians UK and continues to match contributions from its U.S. employees to qualifying charities.

On a much larger scale, that extends beyond and outside just helping those in the music business, Sony Music Entertainment committed US$100 million for the establishment of The Sony Global Relief Fund, “designed to bring relief to medical workers on the front lines; protect children and educators facing challenges arising from school closures; and support creators, artists and other partners in the entertainment community who have been impacted by covid-19.”

The first recipients are for medical support, earmarking $10 million towards The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation;  Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Like UMG, Sony will also match any contribution by an employee. “We will continue to evolve our response accordingly in the coming weeks and months,” said Sony Music Group chairman Rob Stringer.

Warner Music Group has made a donation to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund.

“We’re backing the brave efforts of medical professionals around the world, as well as helping the musicians hurt the most by this crisis,” CEO Steve Cooper said in a publicized memo to staff. “We’re making donations to Heart to Heart International and to MusiCares and will continue to contribute to relief efforts in badly affected areas.”

All three labels are providing support for individual artists when they perform at-home shows on Facebook, Instagram or other digital platforms to raise money for charity, or, in some cases, themselves. 

The companies are also part of joint music industry effort,, a resource to help music professionals navigate the process to receive benefits from the federal government’s $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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