Almost half of British musicians earn less than £14,000, a new census shows

Almost half of Britain’s working musicians earn less than £14,000 a year, according to a new census.

The new Musicians Census surveyed almost 6,000 active musicians in the country, and was created by the Musicians’ Union and Help Musicians.

Their findings showed that while 70% of participants had a college degree or higher, more than half of those surveyed had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

According to the census, the average musician has three or four jobs, and those who work full-time in music earn an average of just £30,000 a year, almost £5,000 below the average British salary.

One respondent stated that there was “a true glass ceiling for performance-based pay, as the fees for most performance-based pay opportunities were the same as 20 years ago.”

“The schedules are ungodly, rehearsals are often unpaid and there are many waiting without pay. It is practically impossible to be a full-time musician and try to be present as a father,” they say.

The results also show a pay gap of £1,000 between white and non-white participants, and four times that between disabled and non-disabled participants.

Only 32% of non-white musicians received all of their income from music, a figure that rises to 43% for white participants.

Naomi Pohl, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said the figures paint a “difficult picture for musicians”, while Help Musicians boss Sarah Woods said: “It also shows the commitment of musicians to continue producing the music they are known for and we all love it, which proves how resilient our music is. It really is the population of musicians.”

Earlier this summer, it was reported that almost 50% of British musicians are working less in Europe since Brexit.

47.4% of respondents to the Paying The Price report said they worked less in the EU after Brexit was approved, and 27.8% said there was no work on the continent. 40% of jobs have been canceled since 1 January 2021, and almost the same percentage (39%) were to reject planned jobs.

In 2021, the British music industry spoke of their “no deal Brexit” after the Government failed to secure visa and work permit exemptions across Europe for musicians and crew.

As a result, artists looking to hit the road again after COVID have found themselves on the predicted “rocky road” for the first summer of European touring after Britain leaves the EU, finding that Brexit difficulties are “tearing the next generation of UK talent in the cradle.

The Government was then warned that musicians and crew could “get out of work en masse” after a House of Lords hearing revealed the damage Brexit is already doing to those wanting to tour Europe.

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