Grant Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit): ‘This book should be mandatory reading for every label, booking agent, manager and tour manager in the business of music and touring so we can all better understand what’s really involved in living the life of a professional musician and the role we all have in making that life as liveable as possible’
Tim Shiel (Double J/Triple J Radio, Australia): ‘The most important book I’ve ever read about music’
‘An eye-opening must read’ ****
Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays): ‘Holding on to your mental health in this pressured environment is so important and at times so very difficult, I know that all too well. This book lays bare what it is like to live for your music and how it can feel to be a musician today’
The Wire magazine: ‘Poses uncomfortable questions…[and] sheds light on complex issues with compelling thoroughness’
‘Musicians often pay a high price for sharing their art with us. Underneath the glow of success can often lie loneliness and exhaustion, not to mention the basic struggles of paying the rent or buying food. Sally-Anne Gross and George Musgrave raise important questions – and we need to listen to what the musicians have to tell us about their working conditions and their mental health’
Crispin Hunt (Multi-Platinum Songwriter/Record Producer & Chair of the Ivor’s Academy): ‘In this important book, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave investigate the relationship between the well-being music brings to society and the well-being of those who create. It's a much needed reality-check, deglamorising the romantic image of the tortured artist’
Adam Ficek (Psychotherapist [Music and Mind]/BabyShambles): ‘A critical and timely book’
Joe Muggs (DJ, Promoter, Journalist [Guardian, Telegraph, FACT, Mixmag, The Wire]): ‘The best guide to what being a musician, and what "the music industry" actually are that I can remember reading’
Andreea Magdalina (Founder of shesaid.so): ‘This book is extremely important....The pandemic is forcing our industry to reinvent itself, once again, and this book is a call to ensure these new systems are fairer for everyone and that they foster a healthier lifestyle’
It is often assumed that creative people are prone to psychological instability, and that this explains apparent associations between cultural production and mental health problems. In their detailed study of recording and performing artists in the British music industry, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave turn this view on its head.
By listening to how musicians understand and experience their working lives, this book proposes that whilst making music is therapeutic, making a career from music can be traumatic. The authors show how careers based on an all-consuming passion have become more insecure and devalued. Artistic merit and intimate, often painful, self-disclosures are the subject of unremitting scrutiny and data metrics. Personal relationships and social support networks are increasingly bound up with calculative transactions.
Drawing on original empirical research and a wide-ranging survey of scholarship from across the social sciences, their findings will be provocative for future research on mental health, wellbeing and working conditions in the music industries and across the creative economy. Going beyond self-help strategies, they challenge the industry to make transformative structural change. Until then, the book provides an invaluable guide for anyone currently making their career in music, as well as those tasked with training and educating the next generation.
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Musgrave G. & Gross S. 2020. Can Music Make You Sick?: Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book43
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Published on Sept. 29, 2020