Almost half of working musicians in the UK earn less than £14k a year

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A new survey has revealed that nearly half the UK’s working musicians are earning less than £14k a year.

The new and first Musicians’ Census was created by The Musicians’ Union and Help Musicians and includes data from a survey with around 6,000 active musicians in the country.

Findings concluded that despite 70 per cent of those surveys having a degree-level qualification or higher, over half of all respondents have to work three-to-four jobs to be able to afford to live.

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23 per cent of musicians said that they cannot support themselves or their families by working as a musician.

An ethnicity pay gap is apparent within the Census results that show almost £1,000 between white respondents and those who identify as being from the Global Majority.

For disabled musicians, a third of those are making their income from music alone with a pay gap of around £4,000 between disabled and non-disabled musicians.

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An anonymous 50-year-old male from Scotland who took part in the survey said: “I work 5 days a week and I literally can’t fit any more work in yet even with nearly 20 years’ experience as a community musician I still make less than the average UK salary.”

Another person who took part in the survey said: “The cost-of-living crisis is something huge, that has impacted my welfare and career progress […] My biggest issue at the moment is that I simply don’t have time to practice fully anymore, I don’t have the means to organise gigs with my band as they all have better-paying opportunities… It all seems like a vicious cycle that pushes musicians out.”

Read the full Musicians Census here.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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