Bikini Kill, Wolf Parade, Neutral Milk Hotel and more sign letter to Congress asking for unemployment benefits for the self-employed

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the music industry hard.

Bikini Kill, Wolf Parade, Neutral Milk Hotel

Images: Daniel Boczarski / Xavi Torrent / Chris McKay / Getty

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Bikini Kill, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wolf Parade and Snail Mail are among the artists to sign an open letter to the US Congress and state governments asking for unemployment benefits for self-employed workers, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The letter reads: “While all workers are suffering right now, musicians, touring workers, DJs, and other gig economy workers are particularly hurt because we are ineligible for unemployment, paid sick leave, or other benefits under our current system. We pay significant amounts in income tax to the state and federal government, but because most of us are categorized as self-employed, we are unable to access the same benefits as those with single-employer jobs.

“We ask that you ensure the next Federal relief package includes the extension of unemployment and other benefits to all musicians, DJs, and all gig economy workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Workers should be able to use any income – including 1099 earnings and demonstrable anticipated future income wiped out by COVID-19 – to apply for unemployment and other benefits.”

Signees also include Fugazi, Downtown Boys, Algiers, Kimya Dawson, Trace Mountains and many more.

Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner also said in a statement: “When you work in an industry where you have to constantly be working or in a matter of months you will not be able to pay your rent, this has pulled the rug from under our feet. We cannot survive on a scarcity model where we workers have, for far too long, been the last people to get paid even though we are the first people you see. Scarcity is not the problem, how to shift an outdated paradigm where we are left out is the problem.”

The news comes after other members of the American music industry wrote to Congress asking for aid in a separate letter.

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