The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and YouTube Music have announced a partnership to help independent venues struggling to stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a press release, YouTube and NIVA will “work on unique programming that will help bring live performances back into music venues safely.” YouTube will also help raise awareness and funding for NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund.
Though NIVA and YouTube declined to offer specifics about future programming efforts, reps for both organizations tell Rolling Stone that more details will be announced in the coming weeks.
“YouTube is a place where artists and fans around the world come to connect and build community,” YouTube’s chief business officer, Robert Kyncl, said. “With traditional concerts on hold, never has there been a more important time to support the live music industry through our partnership with NIVA. We’re committed to doing our part in saving independent venues and continuing to bring artists and fans together through music.”
The partnership announcement comes as NIVA and other associated groups, like the National Independent Talent Organization, prepare to ramp up lobbying efforts as Congress returns from recess. Last month, the House and the Senate left Washington without reaching a deal on a new Covid-19 relief package, which left millions of individuals and small businesses in the lurch, including a large swath of the concert industry. Without any kind of aid, many independent venues and talent businesses are in danger of shutting down completely, which would devastate a crucial sector of the live-music ecosystem.
“With the entire independent venue and promoter industry on the verge of massive collapse, we’ve been fighting urgently for the Save Our Stages Act which will provide meaningful relief to our members and the independent music community,” said NIVA co-founder and treasurer Stephen Sternschein. “YouTube’s direct involvement helps us generate awareness for the plight of independent live music and raise funds for NIVA’s Emergency Relief efforts. This could literally be the difference between some venues going under or holding on until Congress comes back from recess to pass much-needed federal relief. The independent concert industry will be reeling for years to come from the devastating revenue loss related to Covid-19, so we’re excited about what YouTube and NIVA can do together to bring the live experience back.”