Musicians in Crisis: Census reveals urgent inequalities

· 30% of musicians have mental health problems

· Massive inequality of pay between disabled and non-disabled musicians

The first-ever Musicians’ Census 2023 has exposed shocking inequalities within the UK music industry. Conducted by Help Musicians and Musicians’ Union, with research led by the agency, Walnut, the Census surveyed nearly 6,000 musicians across all genres and backgrounds.

The results of the Census are alarming, with nearly a quarter of musicians (23%) stating that they do not earn enough to support themselves or their families through music alone. This figure rises to 28% for those with caring responsibilities and 35% for Global Majority musicians. Additionally, only a third of disabled musicians make 100% of their income from music, with a negative pay gap of £4,000 compared to non-disabled musicians.

The Census also revealed a worrying trend of mental health conditions among musicians, with 30% of respondents reporting having a mental health condition. Robert Emery, a spokesperson from a leading music education website, Ted’s List, says: “Musicians are struggling without adequate support systems.”

Despite these challenges, the Census also highlighted a positive trend of acceptance within the industry. 24% of respondents identified as “other” than heterosexual, indicating a growing acceptance of other sexual orientations.

“The Musicians’ Census presents a comprehensive picture of the industry as a whole, providing insight into the lives and careers of musicians,” said Emery. “It is a wake-up call to the industry to address the issues of financial insecurity and inequality that musicians face.”

Emery called on the industry to use the Census data to guide new policies and resources, helping to secure a sustainable future for musicians. “It’s time for systemic change to ensure that all musicians can thrive in their careers,” he said.

The Census data will be used to guide new policies and resources, providing insight into the lives and careers of musicians and helping to secure a sustainable future for the industry.

The Musicians’ Census 2023 is a wake-up call to the UK music industry. “This data provides a mandate for change. The industry must address issues threatening musicians’ livelihoods and wellbeing as a matter of urgency,” says Emery.

The full report is available here



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