Study Finds 50% Of Musicians Quit Music Due To Abuse & Sexism

The Musicians’ Union has published findings suggesting nearly half of its 31,000 membership base are facing quitting music due to abuse and sexism.

The M.U. stated that a staggering amount of artists had faced some form of harassment at work and have called for the government to expand on the existing Equality Act of 2010 to include freelancers.

Currently, the act only offers protection to those in fixed employment.

Here’s What The Study Found

Approximately 90% of Musicians’ Union members are classed as freelancers and a shocking 48% stated that they had experienced harassment in the workplace. Alarmingly, 85% did not report it.

Furthermore, the survey of 725 members suggested 61% felt more at risk of harassment because of the nature of their work as freelancers. Only 19% stated that their work contracts held procedures in place to deal with sexual harassment.

55% of respondents reported that ‘workplace culture’ was the biggest barrier to reporting sexual harassment whilst 32% felt the complaint would not be dealt with appropriately and even worse, 32% stated that they feared they would not be believed.

41% also claimed that they feared making a complaint would result in a loss of work.

Naomi Pohl, deputy general secretary at the Musicians’ Union stated:

“We are aware of far too many cases of talented musicians, particularly young or emerging artists, leaving the industry altogether due to sexism, sexual harassment or abuse. Survivors are often unable to speak out because the consequences for their career or personal life are devastating. In most cases we’re aware of, the survivor ends up leaving the workplace or the industry and there are very few consequences for the perpetrator.”Naomi Pohl

One female respondent who wished to remain anonymous said that despite reporting a sexual harassment issue from a major employer in the industry, along with another 9 women, no action to her knowledge was ever taken.

“We are freelance musicians and the incidents occurred when we were performing on tour. I was told this was just ‘lad culture’ by the person investigating my complaint. No wonder such a high proportion of issues go unreported.”Anon

It’s no secret that the music industry has been rife with sexism in the past, and clearly this is ongoing.

The Musicians’ Union, aware of the fact that these issues still exist, set up a ‘safe space’ email in 2018.

This allowed members to anonymously report sexual harassment in confidence as well as abuse, bullying and discrimination.

The M.U. also called for the government to introduce a compulsory duty for workplaces to put in place reasonable steps to prevent and protect people from such abuse and harassment.