Aaron Righellis, aka 2AR, knows what it's like to have your earning potential almost entirely stripped away overnight.
"There are a good number of working DJs who use music as their primary source of income," he points out, and that's, well, problematic in a world where you can't dance at an event. "And because they're sole proprietors, LLCs or S corps, they don't have the opportunity to file for unemployment."
That's why he created Colorado DJ Relief, a fundraiser for Colorado DJs who are out of work and need some help paying the bills. He's hoping to raise enough through his GoFundMe to distribute money to interested DJs so they can count on at least one payment in addition to any stimulus relief that might be offered. To that end, he's closing the fundraiser on March 31 with the goal of paying out via Venmo on April 1.
He's invited DJs who want to apply to the relief fund to email him (firstname.lastname@example.org)m and is also encouraging them to share the fundraiser with their networks. Fund recipients will be anonymous by design, Righellis notes.
"The news is so new that, unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of people have a contingency plan; they don’t know what they’re going to do," Righellis says. "A lot of people who have the ability to produce music are diving into that creative side of things and doing things to keep up the craft, doing live streams and stuff like that, but most of the stories I’ve read — people are just lost right now."
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His next step is to reach out to corporations who make equipment that DJs use, Righellis explains. "I'll see if Pioneer or Roland can throw something in.
"The cause itself is a little bit difficult, because oftentimes the arts are seen as a hobby," he adds. "A lot of people, when they hear I deejay, are like, 'What else do you do?' I don’t know if there’s that level of awareness, that people literally live and eat by this occupation."
If this fundraiser goes well, Righellis says he might try another one — and like everyone else, he's excited to get back to normal.
"I’m a firm believer that the bounce-back is going to be very strong, and I’m also hoping in a situation like this that everyone remains safer and does everything to live a healthier lifestyle and be more mindful of that," he says.