Cost of living: Musicians could be priced out of careers, charity says

By November 19, 2022Entertainment

Gig tickets are just one thing that seems to be getting more expensive at the moment. But putting on shows is also costing more – something that's causing concern for up-and-coming artists.
Speaking from her European tour with shows almost every single night, singer Pip Millett says she's at risk of losing her voice.
With rising prices, "you have to squeeze the dates together," she says, "which obviously can take a toll".
Meanwhile, charity Help Musicians is warning rising costs could force artists to leave the music industry.
When she speaks to BBC Newsbeat, Pip is on vocal rest, limiting her conversation while drinking lots of water and honey to protect her voice.
Faced with more expensive hotel and travel bills, an intensive schedule can save money but Pip says she's finding touring stressful and there's a risk of burnout.
"It costs so much to tour," the Manchester-based singer says. "And it does take a lot from you mentally and it does drain you.
"I am prone to losing my voice and I lost my voice last week, so I'm trying my to do all the right things because I do not want to lose it."
The singer recently released her debut album When Everything is Better, I'll Let you Know and worries the cost of living will have an impact on her ability to perform to her fans.
"A lot of the time people don't really speak about the money aspect of touring but you pay upfront and then you wait to be paid after," she says.
"So there's a lot riding on you."
It can be even harder for artists at the start of their careers like 23-year-old Madi Saskia.
The Birmingham-based singer works full time in a coffee shop to sustain her music career and says she's still left struggling at the end of each month.
"It's 10 times harder now to be an independent, up-and-coming artist," she says.
"I know I'm gonna at least be able to pay my rent, but when's the next time we're going to be able to go to the studio and record a song?"
James Ainscough from Help Musicians says more and more artists are struggling with the cost of performing and touring.
With the cost of everything from travelling to gigs or buying equipment going up, it's not so much a cost-of-living crisis for musicians as a cost-of-working crisis, says James.
The charity is particularly worried about the impact on artists like Madi at the start of their careers, who face a choice between their passion and stability.
"We're keen to make sure we don't lose them completely from the music industry," James says.
"Otherwise, they may never return."
It's a choice that has crossed Madi's mind.
The singer, who has spoken openly about living with depression, says her music career "never feels like it's super-smooth sailing".
"I always feel like I'm driving 100 miles an hour to make sure that I'm just stable. I think that's a very unhealthy way to live."
She says her love of music means she'll always find a way to be creative but she's increasingly worried about supporting herself.
With other more established musicians cancelling tours over costs, she wonders: "If they can't afford it, then how am I supposed to?"
For Help Musicians, the best thing people can do to support artists is to buy gig tickets, but Pip and Madi recognise it may not be that simple.
"Shows aren't cheap: they're not cheap to put on, and they're not cheap to go to," Pip says.
"So it's hard on both sides."
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