Talk to anyone in the music industry who’s out on a Friday night and ask them how they’re doing, and you’ll probably get some version of the answer, “Eh, just been really busy.” This sort of nonchalant answer belies the reality that they’ve probably been too busy, and it’s affecting their mental health in negative ways.

A new survey conducted by ticketing company and event guide Skiddle among some 520 promoters, venue operators and event organizers found that 82 percent of people working in this business are suffering with continuous levels of stress.

This won’t come as any surprise to anyone actually working in the music industry, as it’s become just a normal part of life. But it’s exactly that sort of complacent normalcy that is so dangerous.

According to the survey:

  • 67 percent of respondents said they had anxiety
  • 40 percent said they had struggled with depression
  • 10 percent said they developed symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as a direct result of their work
  • 65 percent of promoters said they frequently felt an “intense and unmanageable level of pressure”
  • 47 percent said their work in music “often led to a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness”

Normal or not, these issues are not okay.

A separate survey earlier this year by by Help Musicians UK found that of 2,000 musicians interviewed, 71% experience anxiety and 68.5% deal with depression. It’s a widespread issue that affects all corners of the music industry, and it’s taking the lives of the people closest to us.

One promoter in the Skiddle survey 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 participant 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.”

The biggest worries of promoters included “no regular income” (45 percent) and “lack of support” (43 percent). “Unsociable hours and the effect the job has on relationships also scored highly,” according to the survey results.

Organizations like Help Musicians UK and attempts at general awareness like Mental Health Awareness Week are helping, but more needs to be done at an infrastructural level to help those in need.

After the death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington last year, Help Musicians UK launched a 24-hour helpline for anyone in the music industry. Those needing help and/or emotional support are urged to contact the Music Minds Matter line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of charge at 0808 802 8008.


Photo via aLIVE Coverage for Panorama