Spotify has donated $500k (£381,236) to support independent music venues in the US.
The streaming giant reallocated funds from its annual media budget to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which is lobbying the US government for financial aid to help keep venues afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
To say thank you for the donation – the second largest to NIVA following US brewing company Anhauser Busch’s $1million – dozens of NIVA member venues gave Spotify permission to use their venue marquees to highlight huge acts that kickstarted their careers in America’s grassroots venues.
Alex Bodman, Spotify’s VP, Global Executive Creative Director, told a press meeting on Monday (November 30) that the marquees, “tell stories of artists whose careers were great in 2020, but were bolstered by their ability to perform at these live venues that are currently struggling” [via Rolling Stone].
The marquees include text and hashtags pertaining to Spotify’s Wrapped feature, which Spotify would have advertised in its own marketing billboards had it not donated its budget this year to NIVA.
Additionally, NIVA’s head of communications Audrey Fix Schaefer told Rolling Stone in an in-depth interview on the devastation last month: “These independent venues are where tomorrow’s stars get their start. You would not have Lady Gaga if you didn’t have that 250-capacity room in New York City, the Bitter End — you wouldn’t have Elton John if you didn’t have the Troubadour.”
NME has today (November 2) contacted Spotify to ask if a similar donation and initiative will be rolled out for UK venues.
It comes as the Music Venue Trust (MVT), which is spearheading the campaign to save grassroots establishments in the UK, tweeted Spotify UK to signal the need for support across the pond.
— Music Venue Trust (@musicvenuetrust) December 1, 2020
Last month, MVT launched #SaveThe30 campaign to highlight the plight of the spaces left in the cold from the government’s £1.57billion Cultural Recovery Fund, in a bid to raise money and awareness to stop them from being lost forever.