It’s hard to imagine a world without music. Imagine being in a restaurant or a store and it was completely silent. That sounds pretty unnerving, right? Music surrounds us. It lifts our spirits when we are down. It pumps us up before tackling hard days. It inspires us. It brings us together.
In the current music economy, musicians eat last. The people who tap into that special magic to create music are so often left behind.
Musicians in Seattle are making less than minimum wage while living in one of the most expensive cities in the nation.
The music industry in Seattle directly creates over 11,000 jobs, with $1.2 billion in sales and $487 million in earnings. Yet, Seattle has the lowest paid arts workers ($11.87/hr). For self-employed workers, which is the category most musicians are in, it's even lower ($9.07/hr).
Working musicians do not benefit from the economic output they produce for the region.
When you arrive at Seattle-Tacoma Airport you are greeted with overhead announcements from some of the city's most well-known musical artists. You are likely to see a live musician performing in many of the terminals. A quick Google search of what to do in our city brings up a myriad of music history tours and even tickets to a museum dedicated to our musical tradition. Music has become synonymous with the Emerald City, but can we truly call ourselves a “city of music” if we do not create a city they where they can thrive?
As musicians hustle to make ends meet, healthcare takes a backseat to expenses like rent and food. Seeing a doctor when it isn’t an emergency feels like a luxury, but it shouldn’t be. Musicians deserve access to high-quality health care services and shouldn’t have to be rich or an insurance expert to access it, either.
When you support SMASH you help provide a safety net that allows our local musicians to feel cared for and focus their resources on other key living expenses, including their musical craft. In turn, our local musicians enrich our local culture, our economy, and our lives.
We are faced with the fact that we will not have a local music scene without musicians living locally.