In mid-March 2020, live music came to an abrupt halt. Performances were canceled and the MPTF scrambled to set up remote operations, while honoring grants for performances that had no hope of being rescheduled. These are the last paychecks for many musicians.
Over the next six weeks, staff explored the challenges of live streaming, including licensing issues, and how a small nonprofit could create a platform that could offer dozens of free concerts online. direct from all corners of North America. It was a tall order to find a way to provide musical entertainment and provide additional income for musicians.
In May, with an untested approach, the MPTF coordinated a series of test performances with Local 77 of the American Federation of Musicians in philadelphia cream. Once logistics were confirmed, the initiative was opened to all union locals across the United States and Canada. More than 90 union offices got involved and set out to find out how live streaming could work. The safety of the assembled musicians was the first concern. The establishment of a uniform technical coordination process was then put in place. Licensing issues have been resolved.
Around 16 months later, the MPTF and AFM have worked together to create over 1,000 live performances via the Trust Fund’s Facebook page, and in many cases co-streamed with the local’s website. Over 5,000 musician payments have been made, totaling more than $1.3 million.
The music was varied, including country, rock, pop, blues and soul, although more than 500 of these free online concerts featured jazz performances and more than 200 of them featured live bands. bedroom.
The locations also varied. A polka band played outside in an alley of Ontario at the height of the pandemic. The Winnipeg Orchestra drew over 5,000 viewers during lockdown. A Denton, TX a weekly jazz series featured several bands and great musicians from the Lone Star State. Community support was there too, with commercial establishments, including restaurants and bars that were closed for business, providing their stages for these performers. Places of worship and community centers, forced to close to the public, have opened their doors, so that musicians can safely distance themselves and offer live music online.
Overall, as the challenges of COVID-19 continue, the musicians and support people involved have made the energy and emotional value of live music available to all who choose to tune in. As new performances are released, it’s a potpourri of musical talents and styles from dozens of corners across the continent. It is a joyous discovery almost daily. It’s all here at www.facebook.com/musicperformancetrustfund.
The Music Performance Trust Fund had planned that these online concerts would continue once the pandemic passed. However, admission-free live events were also expected to return to more traditional events at parks, schools and senior centers. Now, as we see the disruption continue, the MPTF is gearing up for a fall and winter, bringing free live music online to anyone looking for it.
About the MPTF: The MPTF is a 501(c)3 non-profit public service organization whose mission is to support free live events performed by professional musicians across the United States and Canada. While stepping up our commitment to reviving the musical arts, the MPTF will work with our grantees to follow local guidelines for safe practices. Most MPTF performances are presented with community co-sponsors, including businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities. Learn more at www.musicpf.org.
SOURCE Music Performance Trust Fund