New Survey Says That 90% of Independent Music Venues Won’t Survive the Pandemic

  • Axl Rosenberg

A newly-formed organization called the National Independent Venue Association, or NIVA, has completed a survey regarding such venues’ ability to survive the pandemic shut-down… and the results are depressing, to put it mildly.

The survey, which consisted of 2,000 independent music venues from all fifty states in the U.S., came to the conclusion that “90% of independent venues report they will close permanently in a few months without federal funding.” Furthermore, “Current [Paycheck Protection Program] funding will not solve the crisis.”

The reasons for this very serious problem is then detailed as follows:

-Independent venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen.

-Venues have zero revenue, but obligations like mortgage/rent, bills, loans, taxes, and insurance continue.

-We have no work to offer our employees for the foreseeable future.

-The shutdown is indefinite and likely to extend into 2021 as our venues are in the last stage of reopening.

-The ability to open at partial capacity is not economically feasible. Rents, utilities, payroll, taxes, insurance, and artist pay are not on a sliding scale matching the capacity we’re permitted to host. They are fixed costs.

-Due to the national routing of most tours, our industry will not recover until the entire country is open at 100% capacity. NIVA members need assistance in order to survive until that day.

NIVA also outlines the ways in which such closings will impact the music industry and the country at large:

-Pollstar estimates a $9 billion loss in ticket sales alone – not counting food and beverage revenue – if venues remain closed through 2020.

-Live events provide 75% of all artists’ income.

-For every $1 spent on a ticket at small venues, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated
within communities on restaurants, hotels, taxis, and retail establishments.

-The estimated direct annual economic impact venues bring to local communities is nearly $10 billion.

So how does NIVA propose we avoid this incredibly disaster? NIVA “supports the RESTART Act (S. 3814)… and other like-minded proposals that tailor the PPP program to work for shuttered businesses like ours that have zero revenue, high overhead and no clear timeline for reopening.” They’re also seeking relief through tax credits and continued unemployment insurance benefits.

You can read NIVA’s complete report, which also includes a map illustrating how the pandemic will impact tour routing, here. If your local venue is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to keep its doors open and you can afford to contribute, MetalSucks encourages you to do so… these venues are clearly in very serious danger of going out of business.


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