A third of professional musicians were earning nothing from music, with 22% considering leaving the industry, after live event restrictions were lifted earlier this year, according to research by mental health charity Help Musicians.
The study, which commenced in August and involved nearly 1,000 professional UK musicians, found that 50% of musicians believe they will not be able to achieve a sufficient income until 2022.
Help Musicians has seen a 60% rise in musicians enquiring about mental health support, demonstrating the ongoing impact of the pandemic. It said it has committed nearly £500,000 to help musicians through the coming months and is increasing its practical support to get musicians into work.
The research found that for the overwhelming majority (83%) of respondents, an inconsistency of bookings is stalling their ability to get their careers back on track, and at least 38% are facing a lack of venue availability as the backlog of pre-Covid bookings stretches into 2022.
Additionally, more than 30% of musicians surveyed cited a lack of confidence as stopping them from returning to perform in front of live audiences, a figure reflected by the 60% increase in mental health support being sought from the charity. On top of all this, musicians are having to juggle the rebuilding of their music career with earning money from temporary work outside music.
The research revealed that nearly nine in ten musicians (87%) are currently earning less than £1,000 per month, with only 1% earning more than £2,500 a month.
The findings come as Help Musicians announces that it is moving to a new phase of support, which will see it help professional musicians to rebuild their careers. This follows on from the charity’s emergency financial support which has seen it channel £18m into the bank accounts of 19,000 musicians in order to help them survive the financial hardship of the past 19 months.
Help Musicians CEOJames Ainscough said, “While much of the economy is gradually getting back to normal, it will be a long time before musicians expect to return to their pre-pandemic income levels, as we predicted from the start of the pandemic. For the past 18 months, we have been supporting nearly 20,000 musicians with direct financial aid to help them pay their bills and stay afloat. As the industry starts to recover, we are shifting our emphasis towards helping musicians re-build with a wide package of support from advice on diversifying income streams, mentoring to re-build connections, mental health support and much more.
“We recognise that for some musicians, it will take a long time to rebuild and the team at Help Musicians will continue to be available to those musicians who find themselves in real crisis over the months ahead, ensuring we are alongside musicians every step of the way.”
Help Musicians is asking those who are in a position to donate to give whatever they can, through the website, in order to help musicians rebuild their careers.