Music industry professionals reporting ‘astronomical’ levels of stress, new study reveals

As glamorous as a career in the music industry may seem, any one actually working behind the scenes will tell you just how stressful it can be.

A new survey from event guide and ticketing outlet Skiddle has revealed that 82% of music industry professionals reported suffering from “astronomical” levels of stress.

Findings also suggested that 67% of people working in the music industry said they had anxiety, while 40% reported having struggled with depression at some point. An additional 10% said they’ve developed symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (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,” while almost 50% said their work in music often led to a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness. “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,” said one event promoter.

Another 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.”

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


With the swiftly rising concern over mental health, spurred by the suicide of Avicii this past spring, these results come as alarming and urgent.

“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,” Ben Sebborn, co-founder and director at Skiddle. “Skiddle has been working alongside independent and large-scale promoters for nearly two decades and fully appreciate how difficult the job can be.”

Thankfully, industry organizations are starting to publicly address the epidemic. According to Claire Cordeaux, Director of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), “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 recognizing the need for support.”


In addition, Ben Verse, former bandmate of Pendulum, was instrumental in creating a 24-hour phone support line for musicians called Music Minds Matter, in partnerships with Help Musicians UK.

“The music industry is not a 9 to 5 job, it can be such an incredible rollercoaster. From traveling all over the world, finding yourself in different situations, meeting all sorts of people to giving it your all, we hope people will know they can reach out to others and work out a balance in their life — especially those younger artists,” Verse explained of the project.

Help Musicians UK and it’s Music Minds Matter mental health service offers a free & confidential support line for artists and music industry professionals. If you are struggling to cope with addiction, depression, hopelessness, or just want to talk about pressures of working in the industry, dial 0808-802-8008 or e-mail musicmindmatter@helpmusicians.org.uk.

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