New research commissioned by the Musicians’ Union has been published today demonstrating the chronic levels of low pay and no pay for self-employed professional musicians.

The Working Musician report reveals that after years of training, more than half of professional musicians still get paid less than £20,000 per year and 60% have worked for free over the past year. Against the backdrop of the autumn statement and the omission of music from the Government’s £6m boost to creative industries, these statistics are ominous for the future of music in the UK.

John Smith, MU General Secretary, says:

“So many of the MU’s members are SMEs battling against a tide of arts cuts and reduced income due to piracy. Small but significant investment by Government could make all the difference in the struggle to survive.

“What’s also interesting is that of the musicians surveyed who receive royalty payments; over half said that they represented an important additional source of income for them. This finally puts paid to the argument that ordinary musicians do not benefit from copyright.”

A link to the report can be found here.

The MU has launched a campaign for fair pay for musicians which can be found at

The campaign comes in response to the growing number of examples of musicians being expected to work for free whilst other workers involved in the event are being paid, and the website highlights many individual stories as told by musicians.

Source: Independent Music News

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