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Starter pack to increase mental wellbeing among music makers 

According to a recent study**, 41 percent of independent music makers don’t prioritize their mental health and wellbeing. Out of these, 63 percent would like to do so, and preferably by focusing on eating well, working out, having enough sleep, being aware of their feelings and mental state, and being surrounded by positive people. To lower the barriers to greater wellbeing, the digital music distributor, Record Union has created a wellness starter pack - a toolbox for wellbeing - together with industry experts*, with music makers in mind.

In a recent study**, comprising almost 1,500 independent music makers, 73 percent said that they have experienced negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and/or depression in relation to their music creation. When the independent music makers were asked if they prioritize their mental health and wellbeing, only 59 percent said yes. Among the 41 percent that didn’t claim to prioritize their mental health and wellbeing, 63 percent said that they would like to prioritize their mental health and wellbeing more.

"Traditionally, the music industry has defined success on commercial grounds; it has always been money first. But in this pursuit of success, we can see that many artists find the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure too overwhelming. To create a healthier music climate with healthier artists, we believe that the industry, as well as the artists themselves, need to start thinking about mental health as part of their success. This is why we, in an attempt to lower the barriers to greater wellbeing, have created The Wellness Starter Pack", says Johan Svanberg, CEO of Record Union.

When the independent music makers in the study were asked what they would like to focus on, or invest more time into, when it comes to their mental health and wellbeing, basic needs such as eating well, working out, having enough sleep, being aware of my feelings and mental state, and being surrounded by more positive people, topped the list**.

These five areas have laid the foundation for The Wellness Starter Pack: a collection of videos and articles that, with the help of industry experts*, explore the impact that sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, and positivity have on music makers’ mental health, along with actionable steps forward.

"Every artist should be able to make music and feel good while doing it, but the reality is that a career in music often comes with an inconsistent and unpredictable schedule, with late-night gigs, cross-country tours, and all-night studio sessions. The lack of routine is a challenge for many artists when it comes to basic human needs such as sleep, diet, and exercising, which are all closely related to mental health. If we, by providing concrete information and tangible tools, could help just a few artists to prioritize and take better care of their mental wellbeing, I believe we will have succeeded", says Johan Svanberg.

Watch the videos, or read more about the initiative here

Download press kit including press images here

*Industry experts

Dr. Lina Begdache, US (Nutrition). Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Wellness at Binghamton University, New York. She has a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Binghamton and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Buffalo.

Dr. Begdache is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, a Certified Nutrition-Specialist-Scholar, a Certified Dietitian, and a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her research focuses on depicting and modeling the links between dietary factors and mental distress (anxiety and depression).

Dr. Jud Brewer, US (Mindfulness). One of the world’s leading experts in habit formation and change. For the past two decades, Dr. Jud has been developing a unique system based on the positive impact that mindfulness can have on our overall wellbeing and health. Dr. Jud has developed the app Unwinding Anxiety, a science-based step-by-step program that helps its users to feel less anxious. The app is based on extensive research, clinical trials, and thousands of real-world users.

Dr. Jud is the Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center, and Associate Professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences and Psychiatry at the Schools of Public Health & Medicine at Brown University. He’s also a research affiliate at MIT. His work has been featured on 60 minutes, TED Talks, Time Magazine, Forbes, BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, Businessweek, and others. Watch his TED talk here.

Erik Fernholm, SE (Positivity). Academic background in Cognitive Neuroscience and Happiness Research. His experience as a keynote speaker, board advisor, and leadership developer, helped him to establish an understanding of why people do what they do, and how they could perform and feel better.

As part of his work, Fernholm has been exploring how positive relationships and communities can increase individual wellbeing. Together with Niklas Adalberth (Klarna) and Tomas Björkman, he has through a new non-profit built a way for people to practice growing together in a way that transforms their lives, and it’s all packed in an app called 29k, which aims to help people grow and to make their days on planet earth count. 29k is working with leading researchers and scientists from Harvard University and the Karolinska Institute.

Dr. Joseph Firth, AU (Exercise). Completed his PhD at the University of Manchester (UK), examining the benefits of physical exercise as a treatment for young people with psychosis. Since then, he has published extensively in leading medical journals on the clinical use of exercise and nutritional interventions for improving both physical and mental health outcomes in people with psychiatric conditions.

His work has been featured on BBC One, Huffington Post, Fox News, and Daily Mail. Dr. Firth’s ongoing projects focus on developing and evaluating pragmatic and feasible programs aimed at helping young people with mental health problems to engage in regular exercise and to adopt healthy lifestyles. 

Daniel “Dan” Gartenberg, US (Sleep). Adjunct Assistant Professor at Penn State University and the founder of Sonic Sleep Coach,an app that aims to help its users to get more sleep. He’s an entrepreneur who has spent more than 10 years developing apps that track sleep quality and play sounds that can help us sleep better.

Gartenberg is currently conducting grant-funded research from the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Aging. The purpose is to innovate and develop sound environments that can treat sleep disorders, improve sleep quality, and optimize daytime alertness. Watch his TED talk here.

Other experts that have contributed to The Wellness Starter Pack:

  • Kim Gajraj, Free Your Voice
  • Melissa A. St. Hilaire, Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, University Of California, Riverside
  • Sally Martinez, Caffeine Fueled Dreams
  • Angela McCuiston, Music Strong
  • Dr. Sara C. Mednick, University of California, Riverside & Lisa Powell Mednick
  • Dr. Rachel White Galvin, MindFelt Methods

**The 73 Percent Report, 2019. 


  • Musik


  • independentmusic
  • recordunion
  • mentalhealthinmusic

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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