The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) announced a partnership with YouTube Music on Wednesday as part of the organization’s continuing Save Our Stages Initiative to benefit independent venues struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release, “YouTube and NIVA will work on unique programming that will help bring live performances back into music venues safely.”
YouTube also plans to “help raise awareness and funding for the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund,” designed to provide short-term relief for independent venues in conjunction with federal and local funding.
“With the entire independent venue and promoter industry on the verge of massive collapse, we’ve been fighting urgently for the Save Our Stages Act which will provide meaningful relief to our members and the independent music community,” NIVA co-founder and treasurer Stephen Sternshein, also a managing partner of Austin’s Heard Presents, said in a statement.
“YouTube’s direct involvement helps us generate awareness for the plight of independent live music and raise funds for NIVA’s Emergency Relief efforts,” Sternshein continued. “This could literally be the difference between some venues going under or holding on until Congress comes back from recess to pass much-needed federal relief. The independent concert industry will be reeling for years to come from the devastating revenue loss related to COVID-19, so we’re excited about what YouTube and NIVA can do together to bring the live experience back.”
YouTube echoed the sentiment, with chief business officer Robert Kyncl citing the platform as “a place where artists and fans around the world come to connect and build community,” and explaining that, “with traditional concerts on hold, never has there been a more important time to support the live music industry through our partnership with NIVA.”
The partnership arrives as the live industry continues to pressure the government to provide financial relief for independent venues to weather months-long, coronavirus-related closures. On September 1, venues from nightclubs to stadiums lit themselves in red to indicate support for such relief measures.
In July, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Save Our Stages Act, which would allocate $10 billion in federal funding for independent venues, and on August 18, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) appeared outside Brooklyn nightclub Baby’s All Right with NIVA executive director Rev. Moose, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, and others to voice his support for the bill.
“These places have to survive,” Schumer said. “Saying we can do without these is like saying you can do without your liver or your right arm. We need them very much.”
YouTube is one of the many platforms that has been a hub for music during the pandemic, with artists using the service to broadcast both archival shows and livestream new performances. For more about streaming during the pandemic, revisit Pollstar‘s April cover story about the topic, and for more about NIVA, revisit Pollstar‘s July Impact 50 issue, which featured the organization’s president, Dayna Frank.