Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

'It's important to help those most in need': Spotify to match donations to support the region's artists

The music-streaming platform is giving back to a number of organisations, including the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

Spotify has vowed to match up to $10 million in donations to support artists around the world. Unsplash
Spotify has vowed to match up to $10 million in donations to support artists around the world. Unsplash

While some of the music industry's biggest names may be able to comfortably ride out the pandemic, not all artists are in a financial position to do so.

While many have turned to recording tracks at home and performing live-streams to keep the momentum going, there are a number of organisations that have pledged emergency funding to struggling creatives.

Among those vowing to financially support musicians impacted by the coronavirus crisis is streaming giant Spotify, which has launched a Music Relief project.

The initiative was this week rolled out in the Mena region, with the company adding a Beirut non-profit to its list of beneficiaries.

Spotify has partnered with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Afac) on its initiative, under which the platform matches monetary pledges from its users.

Regionally, donations will go towards Afac's Artist Support Grant, a scheme launched this month that will sponsor up to 150 artists with $3,000 (Dh11,017) each.

Spotify will match pledges, dollar-for-dollar, made to Afac on its donations page. The platform will donate up to $10 million in total, with the amount dispersed to organisations in line with incoming donations from users around the world. For example, if users pledge $10,000 in total to Afac, Spotify will match that amount. Other organisations supported by the Music Relief project include Help Musicians in the UK and MusiCares in the US, with 20 beneficiaries listed in total.

“Supporting the artist community across the Mena region has always been at the heart of what we do at Spotify," says Claudius Boller, Spotify’s managing director for Mena. "Today, it is more important than ever to continue supporting and building this community to ultimately help those most in need."

We hope to ease the burden of loss of livelihoods and opportunities for artists

Rima Mismar, executive director of Afac

Afac, which was founded in 2007, works with creatives from a number of disciplines, including artists, musicians, photographers and filmmakers.

“The majority of artists across the Arab region are already working in challenging contexts," says Rima Mismar, executive director of Afac. "The coronavirus crisis has mainly magnified long-standing inequalities and lack of social safety nets. Thus, it is essential now more than ever to balance immediate actions and responses with strategic visions and goals.

"By offering vital grant support in a very difficult and volatile time, we hope to ease the burden of loss of livelihoods and opportunities for artists."

Submissions for the Afac grants close on Thursday, July 2.

Updated: June 4, 2020 06:37 PM

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