Number of songwriters, composers and musicians

There is a large cohort of professional musicians currently practicing

Throsby and Zednik estimate there is a large group of performing musicians currently practicing at the professional level. Their 2009 survey of members of some music organisations[1] estimates there were approximately 12,500 singers and instrumental musicians that met one of four criteria[2] of a practicing professional artist, and approximately 900 composers.

The practicing musicians surveyed in Throsby and Zednik’s research were found to be older than other artists and the wider workforce, with an average age of 50 years in 2009.

Many of these musicians (almost 40 percent) identified themselves as ‘established but working less intensively than before’.

Collectively musicians and composers represented the largest group of practicing artists in the study. Throsby and Zednik’s research shows little growth in their number over time, compared with other artforms. The findings suggest fewer younger musicians are practicing professionally in this way.

[1]   Throsby and Zednik derived their sample of ‘practising professional’ musicians from the membership of the Australian Music Centre, Australian National Choral Association, Musicians Union, Qmusic and the Song Company.

[2]   Practising professional artists were defined as people who are permanently living in Australia, and who either: have had an artistic achievement in their artform in the last five years (for details of what constitutes an artistic achievement for each artform see the recruitment questionnaire on the website of the Australia Council for the Arts), or have been engaged in the last five years in creating a serious and substantial body of work in their artform, or have undertaken full-time training in their artform, or have received a grant to work in their artform.