MIRA Survey reveals bleak outlook for musicians
MIRA survey proves what we already know about the un-glamorous lifestyle of 99.9% of musicians.
Everyone wants to be a rock star, but only a handful truly reaches such levels, while the rest of musicians face myriad problems, including financial strain, high levels of stress and anxiety and high rates of substance abuse.
A recent survey conducted by the Music Industry Research Association (MIRA) and the Princeton University Survey Research Centre set out to highlight the challenges and opportunities musicians face.
They surveyed 1 227 American musicians in 2018.
Key findings in terms of money:
-The most common income sources are live performances, music lessons and performing in a church choir/religious services.
-For 61% musicians, music-related income isn’t sufficient to meet their living expenses.
-Median musician in the sample reported earnings of $35 000 in 2017. (R486 055)
The median earning of a South African musician or singer is substantially less, at R170 917 per year.
Discrimination, mental health and substance abuse
-1 in 3 musicians are women who report experiencing high levels of discrimination based on their sex (28%) and have experienced sexual harassment (42%).
-63% non-white musicians reported facing racial discrimination.
Many musicians struggle with mental health with half of those surveyed reporting feeling down, depressed and hopeless a few days per two weeks compared to less than a quarter of the population feeling so.
In terms of substance abuse, musicians are five times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month, 6.5 times more likely to have used ecstasy, and 13.5 times more likely to have used LSD than the general public.
Musicians are about twice as likely to drink alcohol frequently (four or more times per week) than the population as a whole: 31 percent versus 16 percent.
The musician’s lifestyle may seem idyllic to those of us lacking in musical creativity, but remember that everything comes at a price.
Though the MIRA Survey tells us what we already know, it’s still unsettling seeing the struggles of those gifted creatively.