All income sources totalled, the average monthly net income of professional musicians is 2,660 euros. 70% are not exclusively working as artists. Freelancers and women earn below-average.

The representative survey is based on around 650 face-to-face interviews and was conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research on behalf of the German Music Information Centre in November and December 2022. For the first time, it provides a cross-genre and nationwide overview of the employment, economic situation and training programmes of professional musicians in Germany. Types of employment, insurance status and gender are taken into account.

The results of the study show that having more than one occupation is the norm rather than the exception for the majority of professional musicians: Only 30% earn their income exclusively from artistic work. 70% of professional musicians pursue music educational activities or other activities that have nothing to do with music in addition to their artistic activities. Music pedagogical activities in particular play an important role for many professional musicians: almost every second person pursues music education activities in addition to professional music, especially women and older professional musicians. Almost every third professional musician also has an activity that has nothing to do with music, and this is mainly for financial reasons.

Cover page of the survey report

If all the income sources are totalled, professional musicians earn an average monthly net income of 2,660 euros; however, one in five professional musicians earns less than 1,500 euros. By far the largest share of professional musicians’ income comes from their musical activities: 62% of all income is earned by professional musicians making music; another 17% comes from income from music pedagogical activities and 15% from professional activities that have nothing to do with music.

Professional musicians who are contracted and subject to social security contributions earn an average of 2,940 euros net per month; freelancers, on the other hand, earn only 2,460 euros. In addition, freelancers receive an above-average share of their income from non-musical activities.

Gender Pay Gap

While 15% of professional musicians have a monthly net income of less than 1,500 euros, the figure for female professional musicians is 28%. On average, with a personal monthly net income of 2,210 euros women earn 24% less than men with 2,890 euros. Comparatively few (53%) of the professional female musicians are the main household earner (82% of the men). Even if only main earners are compared, women still have a net income of 2,460 euros on average, one fifth less than men with 3,080 euros.

Influence of the Parental Home

56% of the parents of professional musicians have played music themselves or still do, mostly as amateur musicians. On average, professional musicians started making music at the age of 9. 53% of professional musicians have a degree in music, 17% have had vocational training. 29% have largely taught themselves music, 25% have only taken private lessons. For the vast majority of professional musicians, there is no question that their career decision was the right one: 82% would choose to make music professionally again today.

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