Musicians must get travel insurance when they’re on the job. The COVID-19 epidemic has wreaked havoc on many businesses, and the music industry is no exception. Touring musicians are exposed to a greater risk of getting the virus because they’re exposed to large numbers of people in close proximity for extended periods.
Unfortunately, tour insurance policies don’t cover coronavirus outbreaks.
Insurance in the Music Industry: How Does it Work?
Here’s how it works: bands sign up with a promoter who can sell concert tickets, which gives the band an advance. With the money from ticket sales inside their account, at least according to the contract, they can hire a manager and have him negotiate deals with venues and suppliers.
In addition to selling venue entry passes, promoters also sell travel insurance. This protects bands from losses, canceling, or postponing shows due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond the control of the group or individuals in the group. It’s a valuable asset for musicians, but it doesn’t cover coronavirus outbreaks — just as any other policy would not cover them either.
Promoters are informed of the risks, and they choose whether to insure musicians against them. There are no compelling contract promoters to cover coronavirus outbreaks — but there should be! Venue owners know that their facility could become a vector for disease, yet many continue to host concerts.
CANCELLATION OF THE EVENT: How does it work?
When a coronavirus outbreak occurs in an area, the government issues a public health warning. Artists are able to see these warnings and cancel shows themselves. Promoters must reschedule or refund the money for canceled events. Canceling venues can be political because promoters do not want to hurt their business relationships with venue owners. They’re also not eager to cancel events because they cut into their profits. What you pay for tour insurance depends on the promoter’s willingness to cover coronavirus outbreaks. Whether or not your insurance is effective against illness depends on whether your music touring policy has this coverage.
COVERAGES ARE APPLIED
Who is insured, and who isn’t? Musicians and crew members can purchase travel insurance, but many choose not to. This means they’re taking the risk of touring the country during an epidemic without traveling insurance. Even if you get tour insurance, what does it cover? It depends on the specific policy you get — which is contingent on the promoter you sign up with. The most common insurance includes public liability and cancellation expenses, but it doesn’t cover coronavirus outbreaks.
Often, musicians are not covered under the same policy as crew members or managers. There’s no standard plan that every musician can rely on to be protected against coronavirus outbreaks — because there is no standard.
Are Music Venues Covered for COVID-19 Losses in Current Lawsuits?
Covid-19 lawsuits are being fought right now. Venues that hosted concerts during the Covid-19 epidemic are being sued by people who contracted the disease at shows — and they’re using venue insurance against losses. The success of these lawsuits hinges on whether or not venues had insurance that covered coronavirus outbreaks. It’s difficult to fight claims that venues were uninsured because it would indicate that they took risks.
The movement of people is increasing exponentially worldwide, so there’s no reason why musicians shouldn’t be covered for this risk. Every tour insurance policy should now include protection against coronavirus outbreaks, if not all illness risk. Also, musicians should understand all of the terms, restrictions, and limitations of the loan protection insurance.
Keeping the Music Industry Alive
It’s no secret that the music industry is changing. Streaming services replace album sales, record labels are losing revenue to radio, and bands are touring less because of these changes. One thing remains unchanged: musicians still need money to survive in this business. They’re willing to perform at any venue that will book them.
If we want the music industry to survive, we must make sure that musicians and crew members traveling during an epidemic are insured against this risk — just as they should be with all others. The alternative is a very dark future for our culture as a whole.