Managing stress of working in the music industry

Everyone has experienced work stress at one time or another. But the music business is one of the more stressful industries for everyone involved, including artists, promoters and executives.

In fact, in a survey by ticket platform Skiddle found that 80% of people working in the music industry experience stress, anxiety and depression on a consistent basis. The effects can be even more pronounced for those working in music and event promotion with 65% of promoters saying they experience frequent intense and unmanageable pressure.

The reasons for high levels of stress in the music industry are easy to guess. They include:

  • Irregular working hours;
  • Blurred boundaries between work and personal life;
  • Heavy workloads;
  • High levels of competition among coworkers;
  • Easy access to alcohol; and
  • Pressure to constantly top previous success.

Furthermore, the music industry depends so much on the opinions and preferences of a fickle consumer whose tastes are always changing. Chasing “the next big thing” can be exhausting.

How are you handling the stress of a career where success can often come at the expense of healthy habits?

The first step is acknowledging that there is an issue. A lot of times, people will ignore stress until it becomes a mental health crisis rather than dealing with it when it’s more manageable.

Take stock of your current workload and the expectations others have for your performance. Can you meet these expectations reasonably? Are you being compensated fairly for the time you’re spending on work? Are you sacrificing sleep and rest time for work? Do you feel like you’re accomplishing your goals or are the goalposts being constantly shifted?

Some of the symptoms of stress are:

  • Being impatient or irritable;
  • Feeling overwhelmed;
  • Being unable to “switch off”;
  • Headaches or chest pain;
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much;
  • Losing interest in things you once enjoyed;
  • Using alcohol to alter your mood; and
  • Much more – click here for a comprehensive guide.

If you think stress and overwork might be negatively affecting your health, reach out to someone now. Whether it’s a friend or family members, counselor or therapist, open the door to having a frank conversation about what your work in the music industry might be doing to your long-term mental health.

Another way that the music industry can address mental health is for employers to recognize the toll that work can have on their employees. Cultivate a workplace that values the health of employees, including mental health. Re calibrate your expectations so workers aren’t expected to be “on-call” 24/7 and encourage them to set boundaries between their work and personal lives.

Employers can have a huge impact on worker stress levels, including freelancers. Lead compassionately and your employees will thank you.

Click here to see some of our other music industry resources.

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