James Blake says labels “should be required to provide a therapist to their artists”

“You shouldn’t get to profit from our trauma without helping with the pitfalls of it.”

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James Blake

James Blake. Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images

The music industry can be a fraught environment for artists to navigate, and it is already well-known that their mental health is liable to suffer due to the instability and pressures of a career in music. In light of this, questions have been asked about the role labels can – and should – play in alleviating this on the basis that they owe an artist a duty of care.

Now, James Blake has lent his voice to the conversation. He reposted a tweet from a user called Elijah, who said: “I’d recommend finding a therapist before trying to find an agent or manager,” and then reaffirmed it with his own thoughts.

“Labels should be required to provide a therapist to their artists,” he argues in the post. “You shouldn’t get to profit from our trauma without helping with the pitfalls of it.

“Live agents and managing companies too,” he adds in a subsequent post. “All of them have a vested interest in the artist becoming more successful, which means disconnected from support systems/family/friends by being thrown into a strange disconnected world of touring and parasocial media.”

In a reply to another X/Twitter User, Blake slightly clarifies what he has said in terms of how he thinks therapy should be provided to artists. “I’m not suggesting a label provide their sanctioned therapist to be clear just that they should fund therapy. Guess I should have worded it that way,” he admits.

Given the current picture of artists’ mental health, it appears that Blake very much has a point. In a 2023 census of nearly 6,000 musicians conducted jointly by the Musicians’ Union and charity Help Musicians, almost a third of respondents reported experiencing poor mental health. Dance music was revealed to be the genre worst affected by mental health issues, with 35 per cent of respondents in that sector reporting mental health difficulties.

Musicians from marginalised communities, including LGBTQ+ and disabled musicians, were also found to be disproportionately affected by mental health issues.

Meanwhile, last week Blake launched Vault, a direct artist-to-fan unreleased music streaming platform where fans can hear an artist’s unreleased music for a monthly subscription fee.


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