Sony Details $100 Million COVID-19 Relief Fund

Sony has announced a $100 million relief fund to benefit those around the world most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including musicians, music industry professionals, and other creative communities.

The relief effort will provide support and assistance to three specific areas: medical professionals, teachers and students working remotely, and those hit hardest in the entertainment world. The Sony corporate umbrella covers multiple creative industries — including music, movies, animation, and video games — though specific plans for those wings have yet to be announced.

“Sony will seek ways to support up-and-coming creators, artists, and all those in professions supporting the industry who have been impacted by the cancellation or postponement of concerts and live events, or the shutting down of film and television productions,” the company said in a statement.

In a memo to employees obtained by Rolling Stone, Sony Music Group CEO Rob Stringer said the music division had been working closely with Sony Corp. “to develop this initiative” and will “continue to evolve our response accordingly in the coming weeks and months locally and globally.”

“While many of us are staying inside, you’ve continued to reach outward, offering assistance to colleagues and neighbors in need, even as your own families adjust to our new normal,” Stringer said. “At the same time, our artists and songwriters haven’t skipped a beat either, teaming up with a number of global charities to raise money with concerts livestreamed from their living rooms as they encourage fans to donate to regional and international relief efforts. It’s a reminder of the power of music to bring people together and through hard times.”

The specific efforts Sony has announced so far include a $10 million donation from its fund to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, organized by the World Health Organization, which is assisting medical workers and others on the front lines. Sony will also start matching all employee donations to select pandemic relief efforts around the world.

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the music industry, most notably causing a spate of festival and tour cancellations, though social distancing guidelines are also preventing songwriters, artists, producers, engineers, and others from gathering for songwriting and recording sessions. On Monday, Universal Music Group detailed its plan to help those in the music industry affected by the pandemic, including interest-free royalty advances, tools to help artists best reach fans and potentially make up lost touring revenue, and direct financial support to the relief fund set up by the Recording Academy and its charitable foundation, MusiCares.

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