The big picture: Apple has set up a $50 million fund to help independent record labels pay their artists and maintain operations during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. The funds will be covered by future earnings but for many, they need money right now and this helps achieve that goal.

The fund comes in the form of advances on future royalties and will be available to labels with a direct Apple Music distribution deal that meet a minimum quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings.

Apple in an email sent to labels obtained by Rolling Stone said each advance will be based on a label's past earnings. Cupertino added that the offer is being made in good faith that labels will channel the funds to artists and operations based on financial need.

The music industry is one of many that have suffered during the pandemic. Live music has been put on hold indefinitely, both small shows and large alike. South by Southwest was canceled last month while Coachella and the Beale Street Music Festival have both been rescheduled to October.

Many musicians are now turning to online platforms like Patreon to keep income coming in. Others like Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are utilizing platforms like YouTube to share new music with their fans while some are leaning on crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe for relief.

Masthead credit: Andrew H. Walker, Jim Weber