76% of aspiring artists say a career in music is unsustainable

In a new study, 82% of those surveyed said they rely on jobs outside of the music industry to sustain themselves.

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Hand at a mixing desk in a music studio

Credit: Jerry Jian/Getty Images

A new study has shown that 76% of new artists feel their career in music is unsustainable. The findings come after a series of comments by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, in which he compared the music industry to professional football – saying only a few will be able to turn it into a career.

Part of Toolroom Academy’s report From Mix to Mainstage – The Blueprint for Emerging Electronic Artists [via Mixmag], the study aims to “identify and understand the barriers that emerging artists face and provide actionable strategies for overcoming these challenges, ultimately paving the way for sustainable careers in the industry”.

The study saw 250 up-and-coming artists surveyed, and interviewed more established artists, too.

These subjects were asked about what they felt were their personal, professional and financial barriers to success within the music industry. Key takeaways included that 50% of artists struggle with self-confidence, and 82% said they rely on jobs outside of the music industry to sustain themselves. Of these 56% work in said job in a full-time capacity, and 26% part-time.

The report concludes that “there is a significant gap between talent and recognition”, and Toolroom Academy subsequently announced the launch of its new Artist Development Masterclass, a 12-month programme which will help artists “create a complete business plan”, spanning topics including music law and networking.

In another blow to aspiring career musicians, Daniel Ek earlier this week said the cost of creating content in 2024 is “close to zero”, prompting swift and widespread outrage from the internet.

You can view the full report or find out more about the Artist Development Masterclass at Toolroom Academy.

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