In 2007, Help Musicians UK (then the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund) commissioned the hub to develop and deliver what remains the UK’s biggest ever survey of musicians and music students. Our brief was to evaluate the impact of the organisation’s grant-giving and other services, identify levels and areas of sector need and test awareness and perception of the organisation and its work.
We distributed over 60,000 hard copy questionnaires via industry bodies and MBF databases, targeting members of industry bodies and other musicians via e-fliers, leaflets distributed via music shops, studios and magazines, and targeted advertising. Just under 3500 musicians and music students took part in our four online surveys, providing information about their creative and business performance in the previous financial year, their earnings, length of career, professional needs, their engagement with the MBF programme and any impact it had had, alongside basic demographic information. Amongst recipients of MBF support, response rates were just over 25%, which is significantly higher than the norm for this kind of survey population.
Working with longstanding collaborators We Work With data meant we could ensure that the masses of data the surveys produced was collected and organised in a robust manner, enabling us to identify trends and anomalies in the data, and begin to understand the stories behind it. Interviews and focus groups enabled us to deepen our understanding, ‘get inside’ some areas where survey feedback, and build a more detailed narrative, bringing the data to life even more
Musicians – Have Your Say remains the UK’s largest ever survey of musicians, and many of the issues it highlighted remain relevant today.
To this day, we’re really proud of the work we did for Help Musicians UK. Our findings and recommendations provided the organisation with a clear analysis of the key issues and opportunities facing musicians, key data about their careers and a range of detailed recommendations for how they could most appropriately support musicians. Since then, Help Musicians UK has launched its Emerging Excellence programme, as a direct response to our work, and hub director Julia Payne has maintained her relationship with the team, acting as a mentor to two Emerging Excellence award recipients.