A support fund has been launched for Singaporean musicians and production crew struggling under COVID-19 restrictions on the entertainment and music industries.
The Musician Support Fund was launched on January 26 by industry body and charity Music Society Singapore (better known as SGMUSO), which aims to raise a total sum of S$1million throughout 2021. Its first phase has a target of $150,000. Donate to the fund here.
The fund aims to financially support beneficiaries – referred to with the broad term “music people” – through five initiatives. These will help pay for daily living costs (“Fund-a-Bill”), the costs of putting on live-streamed performances from home (“Fund-a-Gig”) or an affiliate studio (“Fund-a-Band”), “upskilling opportunities” (“Fund-a-Skill”) and mental health and wellness support.
As SGMUSO’s website explains, the umbrella term of “music people” includes not just performers and music-makers – artists, songwriters, composers, musicians, producers and DJs – but also studio engineers, production crew members, promoters, managers, labels, educators, students, voiceover artists and emcees.
Musician Support Fund beneficiaries can expect to receive different sums due to varying caps on disbursements, a spokesperson for SGMUSO told NME. Past applicants for Fund-a-Gig, for instance, have received $300 payouts.
“Our commitment is to support our music people in need, for as many as we can afford based on the fundraising we are able to achieve in each phase,” the spokesperson said, adding that details and timelines on applications, disbursements, eligibility criteria and funding limits will be provided at a later stage.
Artists including Taufik Batisah, Joanna Dong, Sheikh Haikel and Shabir have thrown their weight behind the Musician Support Fund by participating in an appeal video that explains the fund and calls for donations. See the clip, which also includes SGMUSO members and other entertainment personalities, below:
The Musician Support Fund was initially announced in September 2020 by Edwin Tong, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at the international virtual conference All That Matters.
“The fund is notable as it not only provides monetary assistance to musicians, but also helps in wellness and mental health support for those in need,” he said. “I call on everyone to lend your support to the Singapore arts scene. This is one way we can remain sustainable, so please support the community.”
In a statement, SGMUSO chairman Syaheed MSBI highlighted how the fund would support beneficiaries in gaining new skills, and also provide mental health support for struggling music people.
“We feel that musicians can learn new skills such as virtual productions, event management, new media technology and audio production, for example. We like to encourage and support them to stay relevant during these extraordinary times,” he said.
“Mental health support is essential as well. The stress of not being able to pay a bill or rent is disheartening particularly if you have dependents to support. We therefore want to supplement financial assistance with mental health support.”