Chris Stapleton, Rascal Flatts + More Among Country Acts Who Received Government PPP Money
According to a new report, some big-name country stars were among the small businesses that received economic relief under the U.S. government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) earlier in 2020.
The Small Business Administration and the Treasury enacted the program as part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, which President Trump signed into law on March 27 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Paycheck Protection Program was designed as a way for small businesses to continue to pay their employees during the economic downturn caused by the quarantine, and few businesses have been as adversely affected as the music industry, which has seen live concert events canceled almost entirely across the board since March, while bands and artists are still trying to make payroll for their full-time employees so they don't lose their organizations entirely before they can return to work.
Most of the country acts who received PPP money did so through their touring corporations or other LLCs. Cody Johnson's CojoMusic, LLC, received between $150,000-$350,000, which helped retain 17 jobs, according to a searchable database from ProPublica.
Jason Isbell also got $150,000-$350,000, as did a company called Slow Hearts Touring. Public records trace that company back to Chris Roach, who serves as Kip Moore's tour manager. Rascal Flatts received a similar amount. Chase Rice also received $150,000-350,000 in PPP money, as did Gary Allan.
Some major touring entities took on quite a bit more PPP money. The Eagles' touring company got $350,000-$1 million in PPP money, and Chris Stapleton received a similar amount in stimulus money. Tim McGraw's Road Dog Touring company received between $2 million-$5 million in PPP loans.
Not all of the PPP money in country music went to touring organizations. The Country Music Foundation, which runs the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, received a loan between $2 million-$5 million. Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row restaurant chain received between $1 million-$2 million, and Zac Brown received between $350,000-$1 million for his Camp Southern Ground, a charitable camp that provides an array of services for kids and veterans.
While a number of artists are still out of work for the foreseeable future, several artists have begun to test the waters with new business models for touring. Granger Smith recently staged a successful social distancing concert, and he now has a blueprint to take to other venues. Garth Brooks recently performed a drive-in concert that aired in 300 markets to more than 350,000 people, and Blake Shelton has just announced a drive-in concert that will follow that same model, which is the first in a series that is to be announced.
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