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More than 7 out of 10 music makers suffer from mental illness

According to a new study, 73 percent of independent music makers have experienced negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and/or depression in relation to their music creation. Among respondents in the age of 18-25 the same number is 80 percent. Anxiety and depression top the list of symptoms but as many as 33 percent of the respondents have experienced panic attacks. Fear of failure, financial instability, loneliness and the pressure to succeed are main drivers behind those emotions.

In a recently conducted study comprising almost 1500 independent music makers, 57 percent of the respondents said that they worry about their mental health and wellbeing. Of those, 41 percent said that they worry several times per day. What seem to be most worrying are fear of failure, financial instability and the pressure to succeed and deliver.

- The music industry has traditionally been defining success on commercial terms. To be seen as successful you need to reach high sales and tour goals. It’s always money first. To create a more sustainable music climate with healthier artists, we believe that this needs to change and that artists need to start thinking about their mental health as part of the success, says Johan Svanberg, CEO at Record Union.

Of those who said that they have experienced negative emotions in relation to their music creation, 65 percent said that they talk about mental health and wellbeing with the people around them. However, they seem to prefer to talk to personal rather than professional contacts. 90 percent claimed to talk to close friends and 64 percent to family members, whereas only 31 percent claimed to talk to band members and 6 percent to their manager.

Of those who didn’t talk about their mental health and wellbeing, 29 percent said that they didn’t do so because they don’t have anyone to talk to.

- In a society so focused on sustainability, it’s disappointing to witness how the music industry just goes on and on in the same old patterns. The big labels wouldn’t be anywhere without the creativity of its music makers, but still there seems to be a social taboo for music makers to talk about their wellbeing, says Johan Svanberg.

When asked if the music industry is working to create a sustainable music climate with healthy artists, only 19 percent said that they think so. The other 81 percent were asked what they think that the music industry could do more of to create a sustainable music climate with healthy artists and almost 1000 open answers were collected.

- Our study is telling us that something needs to change. It’s time to put the state of our artists’ mental health on the agenda, before streams and commercial success. We as an industry must wake up and ask ourselves: What’s our responsibility in this and what can we do to create a healthier music climate?, says Johan Svanberg.

About the report
Between the 21st of March and the 2nd of April, Record Union has conducted a survey among 1489 users and independent music makers globally, asking about their state of mental health and wellbeing. The result is presented in The 73 Percent Report.

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For more information, contact: Helena Aru, PR & Communications Manager, +46709 18  95 01


  • Musik


  • musicians
  • music makers
  • independent
  • mental health
  • mental illness
  • digital music distribution
  • record union
  • music industry

Record Union has helped independent artists to release their music to the world for more than ten years. By providing digital music distribution we’re aiming at strengthening the independent community and making the music industry more democratic, accessible and transparent for the many, not just the few.

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