Music Industry

Published on October 24th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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Can a Career in Music Make You Sick? Yes.

At some point in your life, you probably dreamed of being a music star of some kind. A famous singer. A guitar hero. A jaw-dropping drummer. But then life (or, in my case, a lack of talent) intervened and those dreams were dashed forever.

Turns out that may have been a good thing because being a professional musician is hard. Low pay. Late nights. Bad food. Constant traveling. Legal hassles. Dangerous temptations. Too much of any of this will make you sick and miserable.

The University of Westminster in the UK conducted a study on how musical vocations are making artists ill both physically and mentally.

After over 2,200 musicians were questioned for the survey, it was found that they are up to three times to experience depression than non-music types. Contributing factors include worries about money, having to juggle multiple part-time jobs (not all of which have to do with music) and poor working conditions.

And it gets worse. Respondents told of bullying, sexual abuse and various forms of discrimination. Add in the strain working as a musician puts on relationships and–well, you can see the problem. Maybe it’s no wonder a new survey in the UK says that kids no longer list being a singer as one of their top dream jobs.

From M-Magazine in the UK.

The report was intended to shed light on areas Help Musicians UK and the wider industry can focus on to improve conditions for musicians, artists, songwriters, composers and producers.

To this end, the charity has made three pledges; to establish a music industry mental health taskforce, launch a 24/7 mental health service, Music Minds Matter, and finally, advocate change across the industry.

Christine Brown, director of external affairs at Help Musicians UK, said: ‘Help Musicians UK is uniquely placed to commission and share the results of this important, game-changing study. The charity granted nearly two million pounds last year to those that need it most in the industry, so it is a natural step to examine the key issues and make a call to action to help implement wider, lasting change in the industry, namely Help Musicians UK’s three key pledges.

Canada has an organization that reaches out to musicians in need. If you know of someone going through a rough patch, get them in touch with the Unison Benevolent Fund. They do good and important work providing discreet counseling, emergency relief, and financial assistance services when things go off the rails.

Immediate assistance, call 1-855-9UNISON (1-855-986-4766).
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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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