COVID-19 Entertainment Industry Resources

The CARES Act, passed on March 27th provides new and extended benefits to Americans suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19. As musicians or gig workers, details about how these new programs apply to you have been difficult to come by.

We’ve compiled advice and information from experts to make these programs easier to navigate and understand for those in the entertainment industry. Find out here what programs you’re eligible for.

CARES Act Stimulus Payment

These direct stimulus checks will be issued in the coming weeks in these amounts:

$1200 for a single adult
• $2400 for married couples filing jointly
• $500 for each child under 17

The amounts will begin to decrease at individual incomes over $75,000 ($150,000 for couples). The federal government will direct deposit payment based on information from your 2019 or 2018 taxes. If you haven’t filed 2018 taxes, do so immediately even if you don’t owe any money. 

Get free help filing your taxes 

Learn more about timelines, how to submit your direct deposit info to the IRS and more HERE.

Unemployment Benefits Expanded (PUA)

Self-employed individuals, 1099, independent contractors, free lancers and gig economy workers whose income has been cut or eliminated by the pandemic are eligible for unemployment benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. 

Scroll down for a video on how to apply for PUA through the OESC process.  

VIDEO: How to apply for PUA through the OESC website.

Am I Covered Under the CARES Act?

Helpful Hint FAQ

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) up to $10,000 are available to independent contractors (who also may be eligible for a $10,000 Emergency Grant under this program). Learn more HERE.

EIDL Application


If you don’t have 1099s for pay, you can still estimate earnings for this purpose.  EXAMPLE: Your weekly gig at Venue A pays $50 per gig for 52 weeks = $2600.  

VIDEO: How To Fill Out the SBA Disaster Loan Application

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

PPP provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

About the program

VIDEO: How to apply

PPP Application

Red Dirt Relief Fund $250 Emergency Grant

Since March 16th, Red Dirt Relief Fund has granted $100,000 to 400 Oklahoma music people affected by COVID-19 related cancellations and postponements. This effort exhausted our grant funding pool, but we’re still raising money and will continue to fulfill one-time emergency grants of $250 on a first-come, first-served basis as funds become available.

To be eligible for a grant, you must meet these criteria:

-Sustained a financial loss of at least $1,000 due to cancelled/postponed gigs related to COVID-19
-Worked in the music business for the past 5 years. This includes creation, production, promotion and other jobs directly-related to the making of music.
-Are a current Oklahoma resident

Apply Here

Additional Grant Funds

Companies from Spotify to Verizon and nonprofits like Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares are also offering grant assistance to music people and small businesses. We direct you to our partners at the Oklahoma Film+Music Office for an updated list: