Debbie Carroll, Vice President, MusiCares

Debbie Carroll
– Debbie Carroll

The Caretakers

Executives making the right moves to keep careers, companies, shows, the business, rolling. Operators as opposed to architects.

Debbie Carroll
Vice President, MusiCares  

In a year when thousands of concert industry personnel have been thrown out of work, including freelance crew staff and furloughed workers, MusiCares has become indispensable.

MusiCares, a charitable arm of the nonprofit Recording Academy, immediately stepped up to assist those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and concert shutdown. 

Debbie Carroll says MusiCares’ mission “is a marathon, not a sprint” and is planted in relief regardless of cause. 

MusiCares quickly stepped up when the industry had no choice but to shut down.

“In early March, as we all know when the world fell into crisis, and after noticing the multitude of live concert cancellations, we recognized the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting the live music community as a whole,” Carroll tells Pollstar. 

“Our Recording Academy interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr., in partnership with MusiCares chair Steve Boom, both acted very swiftly to initiate a COVID-19 relief fund with an initial seed donation of $2 million to assist those who lost work as a result of the pandemic.”

They knew the need would exceed the initial commitment, and given the speed at which the pandemic decimated jobs, that initial nest egg was soon exhausted.


“We quickly began processing between 500 and 800 applications per day and our development department began fielding thousands of opportunities committing financial support and we’re proud to say we’ve raised more than $20 million in financial assistance for more than 18,000 music people in need,” Carroll says. 

“Corporations, professionals, individual donors and foundations, and more than 1,100 artists have joined us or raised funds to join us in this effort which clearly speaks to the humanitarian spirit of the music industry as a whole. The industry consistently shows up when there’s a need and they’ve certainly done so here,” she adds.

MusiCares will continue to offer services aside from the backstage efforts they’ve been known for.

“What we’ve seen since the pandemic is a surge of people in need of those services so we’ll be there to address them,” Carroll says.