“If We Don’t Die From Virus, We Will Starve to Death” Economic Struggles of Musicians in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Ünal Reşitoğlu H., Kemik A.

15th Conference of the European Sociological Association, “Sociological Knowledges for Alternative Futures” , Barcelona, Spain, 31 August - 03 September 2021, vol.1, no.1, pp.1

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Barcelona
  • Country: Spain
  • Page Numbers: pp.1
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


“If We Don’t Die from Virus, We Will Starve to Death” Economic Struggles of Musicians in The Covid-19 Pandemic Halime Ünal Reşitoğlu 1 , Asiye Kemik 2 1Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Turkey; 2Muğla Sıtkı Kocman University, Turkey To reduce the adverse health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Turkish Government has implemented practices such as transition to distance education, closing local small businesses outside certain sectors in the economy, and imposing curfew restrictions on weekends. Although there have been changes in practices over time, restrictions on businesses in the night time economy have not been stretch much. In particular, musicians working in small entertainment venues are among the most heavily economically affected groups because they have not benefited from the economic aid package such as unemployment pension and temporary unemployment benefits provided by the government. It has become increasingly difficult for musicians, who work mostly on a daily wage basis, to protect themselves against the effects of the pandemic with their limited economic resources. Therefore, the aim of this study is to understand how these musicians cope with the difficulties experienced in the pandemic. In this study, data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 6 musicians and interviews will continue. Preliminary analysis of the data indicate that musicians have to develop strategies such as performing and teaching digitally, giving balcony concert, selling household goods and musical instruments or switching to other business branches in order to make a living. They have high debt to banks. Participants stated that their relations with family members, their mental health were negatively affected, and even among their musician friends, there were people who attempted suicide as a result of losing their income. They think that it is unfair that they are still unable to work while there are loosening restrictions in many lines of work.