Musicians' Census report

Musicians’ Census Releases Its Initial Findings

Help Musicians, the Musicians’ Union, and the “Hum Understanding Agency”, Walnut, combined their strengths to map a clear picture of the music industry with the Musicians’ Census. The rise of artists all around the globe has taken off tremendously over the last few years, at the Census provides a detailed insight into the barriers to career progression and economic challenges these are facing. The company’s first report, including initial findings of UK musicians, has been shared publicly.


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The very first UK nationwide census has been held and a total of 5,867 musicians participated in the survey, making it the largest one of its kind. The results have been shared above board as a detailed report of the UK’s population of artists, their experiences, earnings, and wellbeing. This comprehensive report addresses an executive summary, demographic picture, key findings, and the next steps that are necessary to protect musicians. The complex nature of being a musician in 2023 is mainly due in part because of their average annual income from music. Key findings indicate that the annual income from music amounts to £20,700, at which most creatives are obliged to supplement their income from other industries. More than 2,500 participants are coping with a lack of income as the main barrier to their careers. The census addresses the fact that more than 2,600 participants, who have been in the industry for 10+ years, are earning more than 75% off of music, but that it radically decreases based on experience. Around 1,300 musicians have to make a living out of 50% or less of their income. 17% of artists overall are reported to be in debt.


An unbalance between male and female musicians was also shown, reporting that men made up a higher portion of the cake compared to women. Those earning less than £7,000 yearly are 57% men and 39% women. The report mentioned that “the majority of their income is from work outside of music and might suggest that men are more likely than women and musicians identifying their gender in another way to maintain their music career alongside other work.” On the other hand, those who earn a full income from music undergo a £4,000 pay gap between self-employed men and women – even a £2,000 pay gap in full-time employment. The Musicians’ Census raises awareness that only 33% of disabled creatives make all of their income from music. A large gap of £4,000 is visible between disabled and non-disabled musicians trying to make a living from music. The government is supporting these people through a state of benefit, but this won’t be enough to maintain their lives. There’s even a pay gap of around £1,700 between heterosexual – and LGBQ+ artists who make 100% of their income. Ethnicity is also causing an imbalance in earnings from music, as those who identify as being from the Global Majority earn around £30,000 per year while white participants earn around £30,900 a year.


The Chief Executive of Help Musicians, Sarah Woods, mentioned the following: “Although the data shows some big challenges musicians face, it also highlights how committed musicians are in continuing to produce the music we all know and love, demonstrating how resilient our population of musicians truly is.”


Further information is available to read on the website of the Musicians’ Census- click here.


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Image Credits: Musicians’ Census


- DJ/Producer from the Netherlands. - Graduated from the Conservatory in Amsterdam. - Currently working as the technical writer at We Rave You