The COVID-19 pandemic has created a chaotic situation for numerous professions, businesses and industries with a lockdown carried out in many parts of the world. One of them has been the entertainment industry, as many films have been postponed due to theatres remaining shut, and shooting halted. Another part of this industry has been musicians, who are struggling to make ends meet.
Norah Jones, along with many other artists across the world, as a part of the Music Workers Alliance, has raised the issue of the difficulties they are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The singer, who is the daughter of legendary sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, urged her fans and followers to sign a petition written to YouTube, Google and Facebook, putting forward their requests.
In the petition, the artists have stated that they have lost all means of ‘economic survival’ due to live performances being shut due to the pandemic and chances of money forfeited being returned very less. They claimed artistes could have survived on the basis of the sales of recorded music, but it was no longer possible due to YouTube and other companies ‘distorting’ the market by ‘near-limitless unauthorized distribution of recordings’ without the artists' consent and compensation, while Google and Facebook also profit from it by linking to such content. It also claimed that YouTube continued to pocket ad revenue from ‘illegal’ third-party uploads, as the company is protected due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The artists put forth two demands, one to provide an ‘Immediate Disaster Relief for Music Workers’. They requested the corporations to donate 1 per cent of this ad revenue to an emergency fund, that can be administered with the help of artist relief organisations. Their second request asked to ‘Reduce Copyright Infringement by Establishing Standard Technical Measures’. They called for the creation of a working group to establish steps to reduce infringement that can create a more ‘online music ecosystem’ that can aid culturally diverse production and promote economic development.
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