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CMU@TGE Previews: Building a healthier music industry

By | Published on Monday 16 May 2016

What has the music industry ever done for you?

We are now just days away from this year’s edition of new music festival The Great Escape which, once again, will feature the CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conference at the heart of its convention programme. Each day in the CMU Daily, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke is previewing the sessions we will present this year – currently those appearing in the strand ‘What Has The Music Industry Ever Done For You?’

I think most people have found it refreshing how, in the last year or so, people in the music community have become much more upfront about mental health, a trend almost certainly started by a few brave individuals standing up and being frank and honest about their own personal experiences.

It has kickstarted a debate about how certain aspects of life in the music industry can make it even more difficult for those facing mental health challenges. The fact that so many people, including pretty much all musicians, are freelance. The fact that so many people’s financial security is reliant on the artists up front on stage. The highs and lows of touring. The rock n roll lifestyle, and the pressure to embrace it. And that nagging feeling that you’ve got your dream job, so can’t tell anyone how unhappy it is making you feel at the moment.

Various initiatives are now underway to encourage this debate to continue, to provide support for those who need it, and to educate artists, managers and industry execs on what they can do to safeguard their own wellbeing, and that of those around them. And it’s that debate, and those initiatives, that we’ll put in the spotlight as part of CMU Insights @ The Great Escape this coming Friday.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and Vice is releasing a number of short films featuring artists discussing their personal experiences. Vice Head Of Music Alex Hoffman will present highlights of the films at TGE, and discuss why he commissioned them, while the manager of one of the artists who features – Bill Ryder-Jones’ manager Ellie Giles – will discuss the role of management in supporting artists facing mental health challenges.

We’ll also hear from Help Musicians UK – which is sponsoring the strand – about work it is doing in this area and a major new project it is launching, and we’ll meet the people behind a great new initiative called Music Support. Plus the likes of Ric Salmon from ATC Management, Achal Dhillon from Killing Moon and Scott Quinn from Ont’ Sofa will join the debate about what the music industry – labels, managers, publishers, promoters, agents and trade bodies – could and should be doing to build a healthier music industry.

This all takes place as part of ‘What Has The Music Industry Ever Done For You?’ in Dukes@Komedia 2 this Friday, 20 May, in Brighton. Info here.

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