Work and Wellbeing · 2 October 2018

Music industry workers are reporting “astronomical” levels of stress

music industry stress
Almost half of survey respondents said their work in music often led to a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness

It may seem a glamorous career to have but most people in the music industry are actually suffering from “astronomical” levels of stress, according to new findings.

A new survey from event guide and ticketing outlet Skiddle has revealed that over 80% of people working in the music profession are faced with continuous levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

The survey of promoters, venue owners and event organisers found that 82% of industry professionals have suffered with stress, 67% said they had anxiety and 40% said they had struggled with depression.

One in ten said they have developed associated symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD as a direct result of their work in music.

When questioned, 65% of promoters said they frequently felt an “intense and unmanageable level of pressure”, whilst almost half said their work in music often led to a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness.

Indeed, one promoter commented: “After running a festival for a couple of years, the workload this year ended up depressing me to a level that I had suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self-harm. A couple of months later I had panic attacks when thinking about starting the process again and decided to go on hiatus instead.”

Another said: “It’s the loneliness and isolation that scares me. Anxiety and stress are just part and parcel of the job – it’s sad but true.”

Responding to what bothers people the most about working in promotions, 45% said “no regular income” and 43% said ‘the lack of support’. Unsociable hours and the effect the job has on relationships were also major concerns.

“The results of this survey do not make for an easy read, and it’s troubling to see that so many promoters are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Skiddle has been working alongside independent and large-scale promoters for nearly two decades and fully appreciate how difficult the job can be,” said Ben Sebborn, co-founder and director at Skiddle.

Claire Cordeaux, Director of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), added: “It’s well evidenced that mental health problems are considerably higher in the performing artist community than in the general population and the industry is increasingly recognising the need for support.”

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