High-profile American musicians such as Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Nickelback and Steve Aoki received around $200m (£158m) in grants as part of a US Covid relief scheme which was intended for independent venues, according to a report from Insider.

The funds were said to be part of the Small Business Administration’s ‘Save Our Stages’ bill, which was passed by the US Congress in December 2020 and aimed to provide around $15bn to music venues, museums, booking agencies, movie theatres and other institutions.

The report said many of the artists own or have owned businesses that could qualify for such grants from the US Government.

It has been reported by Variety that several artists were awarded grants of up to $10m, while the maximum relief money many venue owners received was $100,000. It said the grants came in six months after the bill was passed due to the application website not working for several weeks.

Insider said a single financial-management firm in Los Angeles successfully submitted grants on behalf of 97 artists, venues, and managers, amounting to more than a quarter of a billion dollars in grant payouts, including more than $200m for big-name artists alone.

The article added: “Industry sources contacted by Insider defended the Shuttered Venue program by pointing out that many artists typically contract with hundreds of sound and lighting technicians, costumers, drivers, security personnel, and other contractors when they put together a tour.

“All those contractors were out of work during the lockdowns, the sources said, and artists applying for grants could have used the money to help keep them afloat. But there was no requirement that they spend the money that way.”