The Music Industry Needs To Do More To Take Artists' Mental Health Seriously
Complex recently published a powerful article looking at the mental health resources available to artists, aptly titled There Is Some Mental Health Care Support in the Music Industry, But Not Nearly Enough. In the insightful article, writer Andre Gee spoke to MusiCares' Executive Director Laura Segura, 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles, Rap Coalition founder Wendy Day, and several artists to get a pulse on how the industry, and major labels in particular, are supporting their artists through difficult times.
"Major labels reportedly make $1 million an hour from artists being streamed on DSPs," the article highlights, "but some don’t offer them direct access to health care."
"There's an actual clause in their contracts that states that they are not an employee," Day tells Complex. "The contract stipulates that they will be treated differently. It actually says you're in no way an employee, because the labels don't want to have to meet minimum standards or pay any extras like health care or social security or workman's compensation or all the stuff that you have to do when you're an employer."
Depending on what label they're on and their eligibility, the artist may be able to access resources through the SAG-AFTRA union. MusiCares offers services—including mental healthcare, addiction recovery, dental work, financial assistance and more—to anyone who's worked in the music industry for at least three years or have at least six commercially released recordings or videos.
"MusiCares is here for all music people, no matter their genre, age, gender, or background," Segura explains to Complex. "Our organization provides support for a variety of needs including physical and mental health, addiction recovery, preventative clinics, unforeseen personal emergencies, and disaster relief."
Since its founding in 1989, MusiCares has helped over 200,000 music professionals, including 24,000 people in 2020 alone, who received a total of $22 million as part of the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Segura highlights that major labels Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group were some of the biggest donors to the fund, yet believes there is more work to be done in terms of addressing substance abuse struggles in the industry:
"Music has a rampant problem with addiction, and it is easy for management teams and label support staff to become enablers, or even addicts themselves, if they aren't properly trained or aware of their responsibility in keeping our industry healthy."
She praised the work of 300 Entertainment to proactively support their artists with access to therapists and financial support during the pandemic. "Major labels aren't just places of business. They are communities of like-minded people who share a love of music," the MusiCares head says.
Liles, 300 Entertainment's leader, echoes her perspective: "My goal is to humanize the industry and to say whatever way we can be of service and be helpful to holistic health and mental wellness, we're going to do it. I pride myself and the company on the efforts we've made. And to everyone else that reads this article: Give yourself a real gut-check. Make sure the programs that you have in place are not just checking a box."
Read the entire article on Complex.com.
*If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance or wish to support MusiCares' efforts to aid music professionals in need, visit MusiCares.org.