Spotify has donated $500,000 to the National Independent Venue Association in a show of solidarity with music venues that aren't part of a conglomerated promotion apparatus such as Live Nation or AEG.

The donation comes at a critical time for indie venues across the U.S. as they face a long winter without live shows. Most gigs have already been unable to proceed since March when the COVID-19 pandemic curbed tours nationwide. And many health experts don't expect concerts to return until late next year.

That's why the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) formed this spring, as Rolling Stone reported. It's also why Spotify is attempting to make a difference in conjunction with the organization seeking to preserve the culture of independent concert halls with campaigns such as #SaveOurStages.

Spotify's half-million-dollar donation is the second-largest that NIVA has received since its inception. Only Anheuser-Busch has given more — the brewing giant donated $1 million as the primary sponsor behind October's Foo Fighters-anchored Save Our Stages Fest (#SOSFEST) on YouTube.

Still, Spotify's contribution comes with a caveat for some of the venues involved. Marquees above a few of the benefitting locations have been turned into Spotify advertisements.

Those ads tout the superstars who got their start on the stage the particular marquee represents. For example, the sign above Milwaukee's Riverside Theater reads, "In 2020, Alicia Keys dropped her seventh album. In 2001, her first tour stopped here." The notice ends with hashtags for both NIVA and Spotify.

Similar marquees also containing the Spotify logo along with "#SaveOurStages" and "#2020Wrapped" — the name of Spotify's year-end statistics dump for both listeners and artists — are located at Tampa's Ritz Ybor (for Lady Gaga) and Portland's Aladdin (Childish Gambino).

In a press release from Tuesday (Dec. 1), Spotify remarked that "2020 was a year unlike any other. One that, despite its unique challenges, inspired creativity with so many people finding ways to come together with resiliency as a community. 2020 has also sounded differently—and throughout it all, audio has acted as a companion, strengthening our connections with the world around us and giving us hope."

Spotify 2020 Wrapped, where users can review what they've listened to the most during the year, is expected to roll out in the coming days.

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