The Musicians from the Global Majority Insight Report follows on from the launch of the first ever Musicians’ Census, and focuses on the reported experiences of musicians from the Global Majority and the challenges they face, as they navigate a career in the industry.
- The vast majority of musicians from the Global Majority work as performing musicians and music creators and on average their annual income from music is £17,745. There is an ethnicity pay gap of almost £1,000 between white respondents earning all of their income from music and those who identify as being from the Global Majority.
- Musicians from the Global Majority experience high levels of racism, which was reported by almost half of respondents.
- There is also a lack of reporting of racism, even though 81% of people who experience racism said it had a significant impact on their career progression, less than a third reported it to someone. 16% of this group also reported discrimination based on their socioeconomic background.
- 50% reported a lack of sustainable income as a barrier in their music careers and 35% told us they cannot support themselves or their families from being a musician, furthermore 24% reported being in debt.
- Almost a third of musicians from the Global Majority reported poor mental wellbeing and 26% reported poor physical health.
The report is the second in an ongoing series of insight reports based on the first ever Musicians Census from the MU and Help Musicians, completed by nearly 6,000 musicians across the UK.
Each of the upcoming reports will focus on a specific topic to support the wider music industry in responding to musicians’ needs of today.
Off the back of these findings, the MU and Black Lives in Music are calling for investment in, and support for, musicians from the Global Majority and for organisations to sign up to Black Lives in Music’s upcoming Anti-Racism Code of Conduct and toolkit. It is designed to tackle the racism and discrimination that is forcing some musicians out of the workforce, and to create a culture of genuine equity and inclusion.
This report must act as a call to action for the whole music industry
Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary said: “No one should have to work in environments where they are subject to racism, lower pay or denied career progression because of their ethnicity. This report must act as a call to action for the whole music industry to work together to stamp out the racism and discrimination musicians from the Global Majority are experiencing.
“As the UK’s trade union for musicians, working for and on behalf of our members is our priority and we are committed to working with our Global Majority members to tackle the challenges they face.
“We know from working with members that musicians from the Global Majority’s skills and experiences are often overlooked, dismissed or devalued. This report further confirms that and shows us in detail, that racism and discrimination exist in every corner of the music industry. These are not one off or isolated experiences; the information musicians shared with us show systemic issues within the music industry that cannot be ignored.
“The Musicians' Census has given us more evidence of the problems, now we need to start working on the solutions. If we want an equitable and diverse music industry, which I believe everyone does, then we must listen and act.”
Learn more about Help Musicians and Black Lives in Music.