Almost half of working musicians can’t afford equipment and transport, a study finds

The study also revealed that 46% of working musicians earn less than £14,000 a year.

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A new census of almost 6,000 working musicians in the United Kingdom has found that nearly half struggle with equipment and transport costs.

These statistics come from the first Musicians’ Census, a project that was created by the Musicians’ Union and charity Help Musicians. This census is hoped to be repeated every three to five years to reflect the changes in the music industry.

The rather bleak findings show that many of those working in the music industry struggle to make ends meet. However, what these statistics do present, is that there is more support needed for musicians working in the industry.

“I recently started to work freelance as a producer,” explains one participant in the study. “This is much more flexible, but I’ve had to start with very low prices to build up a portfolio, meaning I need to fit it in around my ‘day job’ to be able to earn a sustainable income and access employment benefits.”

“I now need assistance with driving and carrying equipment,” explains another participant, “but as a solo performer in a niche genre, the fees are never enough to support a tour manager or roadie”

The study also revealed that 46 per cent of working musicians earn less than £14,000 a year.

Considering that the minimum wage in the UK equates to an average of £19,000 annual salary, and more in London, this means that around half of working musicians in the UK are earning far below what should be the minimum.

Regarding the next steps, Help Musicians seem eager to find new ways to support musicians, however, has not revealed any support schemes as of yet.

Elsewhere, even the most successful artists in electronic music are running into financial hurdles in their careers. Last week, The Chemical Brothers revealed that touring in the US is “not viable.”

Speaking to Billboard’s Katie Bain, bandmember Ed Simons said: “The costs have gone up so much. It’s just not really viable at the moment… I’m apologetic to the people who do want to see us that it is increasingly difficult for us to get to America, because we have had the times of our lives playing there.”

To read the full study, you can visit the Music Census website.


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