Artist News

UK musicians concerned that they will have to leave the music industry due to rising costs

By | Published on Tuesday 15 November 2022

Help Musicians

Almost half of UK musicians are currently highly concerned that they will be forced to leave the music industry as the cost of living crisis continues to impact on them, according to a new survey conducted by Help Musicians.

The music charity reports that 49% of the 500 professional musicians surveyed said that they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned that they would have to leave their music careers behind. A further 35% were ‘slightly’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned. This is a dramatic increase from a similar study a year ago, which found that 22% of musicians in the UK were considering leaving the industry.

Already suffering lower incomes as a result of Brexit and the pandemic, Help Musicians says that music-makers are now being impacted further by the growing cost of living crisis.

Brexit has reduced opportunities to perform in the EU, including through increased costs, as well as a shortage of personnel and equipment. Following the pandemic, the huge number of rescheduled shows has reduced the number of available slots for new shows. Meanwhile, rising costs have also made things like travelling to gigs and heating rehearsal spaces harder.

Well more than half of those surveyed – 60% – said that they are worse off financially now than compared to the same time a year ago, while 78% said that they are currently earning less from music than they were in March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Out of the 500 musicians asked, 98% had some level of concern about their ability to earn enough money to cover their costs over the next six months – 90% worried about affording food, and 84% were concerned about being able to make mortgage or rent payments. As costs continue to rise, 80% are concerned about falling into debt. All of which is also having an impact on musicians’ mental health.

“It is hard to imagine any point since the Second World War when it has been tougher to be a professional musician”, says James Ainscough, Chief Executive of Help Musicians. “Put simply, the current environment is brutal. The pandemic had a catastrophic impact, with most simply unable to perform. Afterwards, venues were booked up for months or years in advance due to rearranged gigs. This has been followed by Brexit, which has impacted their ability to tour, for many emerging musicians a vital step in building a sustainable career”.

“It is clear from the responses to this survey, that musicians need a broad range to support to help them navigate financial challenges of working and living over winter, make the most of touring opportunities, and improve their mental health”, he goes on. “Our Music Minds Matter service has seen a 34% increase this year and we have funded 1600 hours of counselling in the last three months alone”.

“We need to put significant time and resource into sustaining musicians over the coming, challenging months, if we are to have a thriving music ecosystem in 2023 and beyond”, he concludes. “We cannot afford to lose any of the talent from our passionate community of UK musicians if we want to continue enjoying the music that inspires us all every day”.

Anyone working in the music industry who needs support can call Help Musicians on 0808 802 8008 or go to