ASCAP launches health and wellness program for musicians


Back in June, a troubling study revealed that at least 73% of musicians suffer from mental illness. The same report from Sweden’s Record Union found that only 19% actually felt the music industry was working to improve conditions for artists.

Perhaps in light of those dismal numbers, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, aka ASCAP, has created a new health and wellness program called “TuneUp”.

As Pitchfork reports, this program will provide all ASCAP members with access to wellness services and events (think meditation classes and audio workouts), recovery support groups, and more. Per a statement, it’s “designed especially for our music creator members, intended to help nourish your body, mind and spirit so you can be your creative best.”

(Read: Revisiting the Tragic Last Days of Kurt Cobain)

“Creating music is an all-consuming passion and a labor of love, but you’ve got to take care of your instrument — in the case of music creators, your body, mind and spirit,” ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams commented in a elaborated. He continued,

“ASCAP has a long commitment to supporting the livelihoods of its songwriters and composers. With TuneUp, we’re taking that one step further. If creating music is your life, we are here to provide the resources you need to be at your creative best. This is just the beginning, and we will roll out more services in the months to come.”

To coincide with the launch of TuneUp, ASCAP has also published a report about artist wellness. The “US Music Creator Wellness Study” echoed many of the same points from the June report.

Mental health concerns have been brought to the forefront as of late following the recent deaths of high-profile artists like Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Avicii, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, The Prodigy’s Keith Flint, Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, and Silver Jews/Purple Mountains frontman David Berman.

(Read: Dave Navarro on Raising Mental Health Awareness, Losing Legends, and Covering Ziggy Stardust)

In 2018, both Garbage singer Shirley Manson and James Blake talked extensively and candidly about their battles with mental illness, and Ariana Grande has been using her platform to encourage people to seek proper mental health treatment.

Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos has especially been an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, and similarly has expressed that the industry isn’t doing enough for its musicians. In a 2018 interview I conducted with Angelakos, he condemned the industry as “so archaic and obviously unhealthy that we can now prove that they, in fact, exacerbate or *create* these issues,” adding, “It’s like they’ve forgotten about the people that create their product.”

October 10th was recognized as World Mental Health Day.

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