62% of Music Community Is Experiencing Financial Difficulty: MusiCares Survey

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Courtesy of the Recording Academy

Some 62% of the respondents to a MusiCares survey launched last fall are experiencing moderately high to very high levels of financial stress, while nearly 35% said they were seeking counseling for depression, anxiety and stress.

51% said they had low to very low confidence that they could afford basic living expenses during the pandemic. In addition to the above statistic on depression, 26% reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression, while 53.5% said they were unable to get counseling because they couldn’t afford it.

The survey, conducted form October 2020 through last month, received 2,835 respondents, with requirements of being 18 years of age or older and having their work in the music industry as their primary source of income for the past five years are more. MusiCares, founded in 1989, is the charitable wing of the Recording Academy.

New MusiCares Executive Director Laura Segura wrote in a letter accompanying the results: “We could never have known that the music community would be sidelined — for eleven months now — by a pandemic of this magnitude. MusiCares is no stranger to helping people through difficult moments, having served the music community in times of need since 1989. But truly, nothing has reached the scope of this year. Since our COVID Relief effort began in March 2020, over $22 million has been distributed to more than 25,000 music people and their families.

“Members of the live music industry have been hit particularly hard,” she continues in part. “Concert venues were the first to close, and will be the last to reopen. These days, live events account for 75 percent of an artist’s income. And behind every artist, there are thousands of side musicians, crew members, and stagehands, without whom there would be no shows. For these individuals, live events often account for 100 percent of their income.

“The financial insecurity faced by the music community amid the pandemic has also had an effect on mental health. 26 percent of MusiCares survey respondents reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression. In comparison, a 2019 National Health Interview Survey of U.S. adults found only 4.7 percent reported regular feelings of depression.

“Music people – we want you to know that we hear you, and we are here for you. MusiCares can help. Our mental health and addiction recovery services include financial assistance for therapy, psychiatric care, inpatient substance abuse treatment, sober living, and more. Our team of licensed professionals provides each client with support and referrals, treating each case with confidentiality and care.

MusiCares also hosts a variety of free cyber support groups each week. Our Addiction Recovery Groups offer a safe environment in which clients can discuss the challenges of staying clean and sober in the music industry. We also offer Emotional Support Groups for those feeling stressed or anxious about the state of the music industry or are just looking for a bit of community and support. All groups are free of charge and open to any music person interested in attending.”

For more information, visit https://www.grammy.com/musicares