By: Tanya Treptow, PhD

October 20, 2021

This report offers findings from a unique national survey of working musicians in blues, bluegrass, folk, Americana, and other roots music genres, commissioned by Whippoorwill Arts and undertaken in collaboration with the Blues Foundation, Folk Alliance International, Americana Music Association, International Bluegrass Music Association, Globalfest, and American Federation of Musicians, Local 1000. The study paints a strategic picture of the needs, challenges, and aspirations of the artists who animate our nation’s local venues and highlights structural changes and investments needed to ensure a more equitable and thriving music ecosystem in the years to come.

Nearly 1,200 working musicians completed the survey, which was followed by group discussions with demographically diverse musicians to co-interpret the findings. The report spotlights challenges musicians have faced for years and reveals how these “pre-existing conditions” have worsened in the pandemic era. It includes a new framework for change, shown below, with three pillars of action: economic equity, professional protections, and collective effort.

Read more about Whippoorwill Arts’ inspiring vision for this research, including a new campaign to Save our Musicians and Covid-19 safety guidelines for working musicians.

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