New survey suggests half of musicians concerned they will be forced to leave the industry

23 November 2022
By Ellie Palmer
The survey says the cost of living crisis, the pandemic and Brexit are the main factors resulting in its findings

A new survey published by Help Musicians UK has found that almost half of our beloved musicians in this country are seriously considering the option of leaving the industry due to current global pressures. This number is a stark rise from a similar survey undertaken last year, when 22% said they were considering leaving.

The survey involved over 500 professional musicians working in a variety of different areas in the industry.

It was also discovered that a massive 90% of musicians are worried they won't be able to afford food over the coming months, with a further 78% saying they are earning less from music than before the pandemic. It's clear that the current cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on musicians in particular – and that's on top of the various government funding cuts to music over recent years.

As expected, these worries led to 68% of musicians stating that their mental health is worse than it was before the pandemic.

Dame Evelyn Glennie, musicians and HM Ambassador, said: ​“It is now, sadly, all too common to be informed of highly skilled musicians deciding on alternate career paths, Arts organizations having to shut down, or community orchestras and choirs folding in these extremely harsh financial times. It takes a great deal of physical and mental energy to function and sustain a career in music; the current challenges are unprecedented which is resulting in a catastrophic avalanche of stress, disillusionment, lost talent and shortened careers.

"We know what it feels like when music uplifts us – every aspect of our being is positively impacted. We must try to do all we can to support the immense creativity that the UK has to offer and be sure that musicians’ needs are listened to, supported and acted on."


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Findings round-up:

  • Almost half are ​‘very’ or ​‘extremely’ concerned they will be forced to leave the industry
  • 90% are worried about affording food over the next six months
  • 84% are concerned about paying their mortgage or rent
  • 80% are worried about getting into debt in the coming months
  • 68% say their mental health is worse than before the pandemic
  • 9 in 10 say their career is being impacted by poor mental health
  • 85% state difficulties planning performances and tours in the EU


It's grim reading for an industry we all care so deeply about. But there are ways you can help, if you are indeed in a position to.

Want to help?

Help Musicians is asking those who are in a position to donate to give whatever they can through the website, in order to help them to support more musicians throughout the UK with important services such as these.

Every penny donated to Help Musicians goes straight to the frontline without any deduction to cover its operating costs or overheads.