At first glance, this seemed kinda absurd to me. Then I gave it further thought, and…I dunno, it still seems kinda absurd to me.
Pearl Jam, the Eagles, Guns N’ Roses, and Green Day are among the bands who have received loans from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, Rolling Stone reports.
According to data from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department, the money will go to supporting and retaining the artists’ crews and staff; Rolling Stone notes that the Eagles’ loan is listed under their touring company and will help save 50 jobs. Larger loans—between $350,000 and $1 million—were taken out by the Eagles, Pearl Jam, and Disturbed. Out of 660,000 recipients, Rolling Stone reports that over 40 musicians and bands received loans for over $150,000, including Weezer, Imagine Dragons, Chainsmokers, Nickelback, and Jason Isbell.
Various major and independent labels also received PPP loans, including Sub Pop Records, Third Man Records, and Knitting Factory Records, who each received a minimum of $350,000.
Not one of the above-named bands are outfits I would think of as needing any federal aid to scrape by; I’d far rather see that dough put into the hands of the struggling, lower-tier road warriors out there who are certainly worse off than they are, and if I was still working the road myself I’d likely resent this, at least somewhat.
On the other hand, though, as the article notes, the assistance is earmarked for their crews and support staff, which makes it seem a bit more reasonable. Although it’s also true that even those guys typically haul down bucketfuls more cash than your average bar band does.
There’s this, too: the fact that no bands, great or small, have been allowed to ply their trade and earn their living during this summer’s touring season is entirely on the goobermint. Also, although people don’t realize it, even the big-name acts earn most of their dough not from record sales, but from touring and merch sales. So why the hell shouldn’t they insist on compensation from the very assholes who shut them all down on a pretext?