Oh No: 87% of British Musicians Make Less Than £16,000 Annually

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Forget about shooting the messenger, we’re waiting to have our bodies dragged through the streets by starving artists.

But recent, UK-specific stats shared with Digital Music News continue to paint a treacherous financial picture for musicians.

And this time, it’s real professionals we’re talking about.  According to the UK-based Musicians’ Union, 87 percent of member artists are making less than 16,000 pounds ($25,530) a year.  The figure was actually relayed to Digital Music News by British licensing agency PPL, after we reported Songkick data showing that less than 30,000 artists are actually earning a sustainable living.  The Musicians’ Union represents about 30,000 musicians across a variety of negotiations, and also offers a variety of other services.

Of course, £16,000 is hardly a caviar dream and champagne wish, though the MU numbers show that 13 percent are scoring above this mark.  Certainly, a lucky group is making a very reasonable living, and supporting things like a mortgage, tuition payments, saving plans, and even vacation getaways.  But the large bulk, unfortunately, are not.

But wait, it gets worse.  According to more stats we uncovered, it turns out that 90 percent of PRS for Music members are earning less than £5,000 a year, or roughly $8,000.  PRS handles royalties for songwriters and publishers, and often finds itself defending against accusations of unfair licensing demands on small businesses, startups, and just recently, Google.