Millionaire artists like Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Nickelback and Steve Aoki, among others, received about $200 million in pandemic aid as part of “Save Our Stages” grants from the Federal Agency for Human Development. a new Insider report.
The report notes that many of these artists own or may have owned businesses or corporations that would have qualified for such grants, which were from the government, not loans. However, the secret of the grants to closed air theater operators, which was the result of the “Save Our Stages” campaign of Congress, which eventually distributed about $16 billion to alleviate the pandemic, was to help independent theaters.
The sums received by the aforementioned artists and others, if accurate, are very large: $10 million each for Post Malone and Chris Brown, $9.9 million for Steve Aoki, $8.9 million for Lil Wayne, $8.6 million for Smashing Pumpkins, and that many others. Sources say the most relief money many local owners received was $100,000.
Save Our Scene announces new protests in London and Bristol to support struggling musicians
Watch Post Malone buy a unique ‘Magic: The Gathering’ card worth £1.5 million
To be fair, as the article points out, selecting applicants for federal funding during the pandemic has not been an easy task, and there is no doubt that SVOG and “Save Our Stages” have saved many venues that was indeed struggling, which made them struggle. would be closed. But, 10 million dollars for Chris Brown? 2 million for Nickelback, who is Canadian?
It should be noted that the SBA initially had difficulty distributing the $16 billion in grants: Although Congress passed the law in late December 2020, it took nearly six months before the centers received any of the money that; the application website was down for several weeks, and SVOG’s distribution team was replaced by the SBA after significant pressure from Congress.
While it’s unclear which artists applied for the grants themselves, a third party could have, as the article notes: “A single Los Angeles financial management firm managed to secure grants that submitted on behalf of 97 artists, venues and managers, for more than $250 million. in grant payments, according to an Insider analysis, including more than $200 million to popular artists alone.”
While an SBA representative had no immediate comment when contacted Friday, the article noted: “The ‘Shuttered Venue’ program has helped save thousands of entertainment venues and operators across the country during the COVID pandemic -19,’ an SBA spokesperson said in a statement. Almost half of the grant money went to businesses with fewer than five full-time employees, “the smallest of small businesses,” the spokeswoman said.
The article notes that many artists ran businesses that fit those categories, such as Aoki’s company, DJ Kid Millionaire Touring Inc, which listed four full-time employees in its application for a $71,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan.
The article also notes that two companies co-owned by veteran talent manager Irving Azoff, whose clients include the Eagles, Lizzo, Harry Styles and Gwen Stefani, received a combined $17.5 million from the program, although A lawyer for Azoff He said that the companies complied. with the rules of the program. Likewise, as reported last year, venues affiliated with Live Nation, the multibillion dollar corporation that specifically banned itself from “Save Our Stages,” received about $19 million in funding from the show, even though A representative told Insider that it “does not have the ability to control whether its subsidiaries have access to the assistance programs.”
However, scammers thrive when the government throws away free money, and the SBA’s Inspector General reported in June that between 8% and one-third of loans made under various programs during the period that “be” fraudulent. Additionally, the SBA claimed last month that only 1% of SVOG loans were deemed fraudulent.
The article acknowledges that “industry sources contacted by Insider defended the indoor venue program, noting that many artists often employ hundreds of sound and lighting technicians, costume artists, ushers, security personnel, and other contractors when they put together a tour. All of those contractors were out of work during the shutdown, the sources said, and the artists who applied for grants could use the money to help them stay afloat.
In fact, “there were few limits on how the money could be spent,” he continues, “grants could not be used directly for certain things, such as buying real estate or donations But under SBA guidelines, grants could be used to pay “landlord compensation,” an amount the agency capped at what the owner earned in 2019.”
There was no comment on representatives of the Small Business Administration, some of the artists mentioned and Sens.
there will be more information on the case as it develops.