A stark illustration of the malaise felt by musicians after concerts and festivals have largely been at a standstill for a year, more than 60% of professionals in the American music industry say they are experiencing stress related to their sudden drop in income, according to a study on the financial and mental distress of musicians since the beginning of the pandemic.
American association MusiCares conducted this survey last October with 2,835 participants, all of whom were over 18 years old and have been working in the music industry for the past five years. A majority of them (51%) have low to very low levels of confidence in their ability to meet their regular expenses. This significant precariousness is linked to the drop in income they are suffering from due to the pandemic. Pollstar magazine estimated that the "live" industry has lost more than $30 billion since concerts and world tours came to a halt last March. A sector which music professionals are heavily dependent on.
These financial difficulties are compounded by a deterioration in musicians' mental health. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed by MusiCares reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression. Disorders for which 53.5% of them cannot get professional help due to lack of means. "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," wrote Laura Segura, MusiCares Executive Director, in a letter accompanying the survey.
The American association says it has donated more than 22 million dollars to more than 25,000 needy musicians and their families since the launch of their "Covid Relief" campaign last March.