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Survey: Financial and professional situation of Quebec musicians

February 24, 202124 February 2021

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts

Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec

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This survey received responses from 755 professional musicians in Quebec in October of 2020. Given the non-random survey design, it is uncertain to what extent the survey results provide a representative sample of Quebec’s professional musicians.

In a normal year, 20% of respondents indicated that they would have net income below $20,000, which is similar to the proportion who would normally earn over $50,000 (21%). The largest group of respondents (42%) indicated that they would earn between $20,000 and $38,000 in a normal year.

In 2020, 56% of respondents expected to have net income below $20,000, and another 24% expected to earn between $20,000 and $38,000. Only 11% expected to earn over $50,000 during the year.

The survey finds an even 50/50 split of respondents facing and not facing financial hardship at the time of the survey. Three-quarters of respondents (exactly 75%) qualified for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

At the time of the survey, a large majority of respondents (72%) indicated that they were only able to undertake less than 25% of their usual work at the time. This includes the 31% of respondents who were unable to undertake any of their usual work.

A substantial minority of respondents (43%) indicated that they “have been forced to seek work outside of the industry as a result of losing [their] work as a musician”.

When asked whether “the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic mean [that they might] consider abandoning [their] career as a musician in the long term”, 18% of respondents said yes, and another 38% said that they are “in reflection” about this possibility. Only 43% of respondents indicated that they are not considering abandoning their musical career.

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