We all know that musicians are suffering on several levels from the Covid-19 pandemic, from the loss of a big chunk of their livelihoods in touring (plus the knock-on effects for merchandise sales) to the lockdown strains on mental health that anyone cooped up at home is dealing with. Now US organisation MusiCares has published the results of a survey quantifying the challenges that the music community are facing.
The ‘Wellness in Music’ survey was launched last October, and 2,835 people responded – a mixture of musicians and people working in the music industry. The results are stark. 51% of those people said they have ‘low to very low’ levels of confidence in being able to afford basic living expenses at the moment, while 62% said they are experiencing ‘moderately high to very high’ levels of financial stress every day.
Meanwhile, 26% of respondents are experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression; and 34.9% have sought out counselling for depression, anxiety and stress. Which could be seen as a positive thing IF they were getting that counselling. But 53.5% of those people said they were unable to get the help they were seeking, because they could not afford it.
The research – as is clearly its intention – will serve as a prod to policymakers in the US to deliver the support measures that the music community is seeking. But also as a reminder of the need for the music industry itself (and its digital partners) to keep up the work with their own relief efforts and commitments.
We saw a lot of headlines about donations and funds last year, but the pandemic is still here; many countries are still locked down while rolling out the Covid-19 vaccines; and the live music industry is still on its knees in many parts of the world. MusiCares and its equivalents around the world still have a lot of work to do, and people to support. The ‘Wellness in Music’ survey and other ongoing studies will hopefully ensure relief fatigue doesn’t set in just yet.