A new survey reports US musicians are more prone to frequent drinking and substance abuse

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  • The survey of 1227 musicians also revealed 72 percent of female musicians experienced sexual discrimination.
  • A new survey reports US musicians are more prone to frequent drinking and substance abuse image
  • A summary of findings from the inaugural Music Industry Research Association Survey of Musicians has been revealed. The survey, which seeks further understanding of the music industry, was conducted by the Music Industry Research Association (MIRA) and the Princeton University Survey Research Center, in partnership with MusiCares. It surveyed 1227 US musicians in 2018, querying subjects on income, mental health, substance abuse and discrimination. According to the survey, "the median musician in the US earns between $20,000 and $25,000 a year" from an average of 3.5 music-related activities. (Live performances led as an income source, followed by music lessons or performing in a religious setting.) Just 61 percent of musicians surveyed said their music-related income pays the bills—the median musician surveyed earned a total of $35,000, most supplementing their income with non-music related activities. The MIRA report shows women make up about one-third of professional musicians. 72 percent of female musicians reported facing sexual discrimination and 67 percent said they faced sexual harassment, a higher rate than the general population statistics of 28 percent and 42 percent respectively. 63 percent of non-white musicians said they faced racial discrimination as opposed to 36 percent of non-white self-employed workers nationwide. Half of musicians reported "feeling down, depressed or hopeless at least several days in the last two weeks, compared with less than a quarter of the adult population as a whole," reads the report's executive summary. The musicians surveyed were five times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month, six-and-a-half times more likely to have used ecstasy and 2.8 times more likely to have used heroin or opium. The MIRA report also says musicians are about twice as likely to drink alcohol four or more times a week, coming in at a rate of 31 percent compared to the general US population's 16 percent. The musicians surveyed highlighted "artistic expression" as their favourite aspect of being a musician. The report concludes that "while many musicians find features of a musical career particularly alluring, the life of a musician presents many challenges." It does state the methodology used is informal. "Because of the non-scientific design of the sampling procedures used to gather data, and the low and possibly selective response rate to our survey, the extent to which the results of the MIRA Musician Survey can be extrapolated to the full population of working musicians is unclear." It should also be noted that electronic music was not listed as one of the top ten genres played by the musicians surveyed. Check out the report here.
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