Mayor John Cooper
1 Public Square Ste 100
Nashville, TN 37201
To the Honorable Mayor Cooper, ,
I am writing on behalf of the musicians of Nashville. We are your constituents and you are abandoning us during the most dystopian crisis that this country has ever faced. Funds need to be reallocated immediately to provide financial relief for our community.
Most of the city is shut down, and for good reason, but it has been done in the most haphazard and careless manner. We understand that states have been given zero guidance from the federal government but the mandates and rules in Davidson County continue to leave just enough "wiggle room" for larger, more commercial venues to operate recklessly while smaller venues and businesses die out in wake of more prolonged shut downs caused by that same reckless behavior. These venues being allowed to operate in this way has created an unnecessary tension among us. Taunting us with the opportunity to work but only if we're comfortable being put in the direct path of covid-19 chaos.
It's a fairytale to think that all musicians here in Nashville have the training/experience to simply find jobs in other industries that would also pay us enough to afford our current rent or mortgages here. Most of us have been in the music industry for multiple decades or the entirety of our adult lives as a result of growing up in the industry. Some of us have been able to collect unemployment, some have been able to take advantage of the stimulus relief, but the music industry is replete with unique situations which can make it extremely difficult for which to qualify. Ironically, that "uniqueness" is something the state of Tennessee and city of Nashville have both used for years to attract tourists and developers. To ignore us now by failing to provide some kind of safety net is short-sighted and cruel. We need a strong advocate for the musical community in Nashville, Mayor Cooper. While we understand that we are just one piece of the city and everyone is struggling, we also believe that the covid crisis shines a light on the uniqueness of our situation and made it clear that we cannot rely on general rules and stimulus packages from the federal government to save us. So we are reminding you, we are your constituents Mr. Mayor.
To protect future revenue made by our community to the city and keep us in our homes we propose the following
1. Allocate a portion of the federal relief money to an organization capable of distributing it to full time musicians based on their involvement in the industry to help pay their mortgages and rent. We understand that of the $7 BILLION received by the federal government, Nashville has $100 Million in remaining aid money due to Covid-19. So far, 13,000 businesses have received funds from the federal relief program. Most of us operate as individuals with no EIN number or business account so we cannot apply. We are asking that some of that money be apportioned to Music Cares or an organization like it. It should distributed specifically to full time musicians based on proof of involvement in the industry to cover mortgage and rent. This process has worked in the past for our community and the funds will allow us to stay in our homes and preserve the core of the live music industry in Nashville until it's safe to play shows again.
2. Budget to continue making contributions to that same organization so our music community is protected in the future as well. We understand that $100 Million of next year's budget will replenish Nashville's savings, thanks to the recent 34% property tax increase. There is something like $8 Million left in the city's savings now. A lot of us own homes here or plan to in the future when work picks back up so once that $100 Million reaches the city's coffers next year, we believe that it would be appropriate to either set aside a certain amount of that money, Once again, apportion some to Music Cares as an emergency relief fund for full-time musicians in Nashville. In fact, in order to continue to protect the industry that is the main draw for tourists here, Nashville should make a yearly apportionment to this fund. That would demonstrate that the city acknowledges and respects the importance and value of the music community to our city and its revenue stream. Nashville's musicians can also raise money for this emergency relief fund through live shows and concerts.
Sign it how you want!