In 2021, Whippoorwill Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting roots musicians, partnered with Slover Linett, a social research firm for the cultural sector, to conduct a landmark study of working musicians in the roots music genre.
Research partners included the Americana Music Foundation, Folk Alliance International, GlobalFest, the Blues Foundation, the International Bluegrass Music Foundation, and Local 1000 (traveling musicians union).
Nearly 1,200 full and part time working musicians completed the survey, and a number of them participated in group discussions to draw out more in depth information.
The survey confirmed that a number of issues we’ve been hearing about from local blues musicians are universal throughout the roots music industry. These include fair pay and treatment.
The survey also documented the severe impact of the pandemic on roots musicians which was exacerbated by the pre-existing conditions.
The general consensus is that a collective effort of roots music entities working together will be necessary to make headway. Whippoorwill Arts is also reaching out to Congress as there are some national level issues that will take legislation to resolve.
We encourage musicians, blues societies, and other stakeholders to read the survey and watch the webinar video at the Whippoorwill Arts website – https://whippoorwillarts.org/research.