Dr George Musgrave

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in Cultural Sociology and Creative Industries
Email g.musgrave (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 296 4255
Dr George Musgrave

George is an interdisciplinary sociologist of music, researching musicians' psychosocial working lives. His research concerns the psychological experiences and working conditions of creative careers, with a focus on mental health and wellbeing in the music industry. He collaboratively undertook a major research project - 'Can Music Make You Sick?' - on mental health & the music industry exploring the links between anxiety/depression & precarious work, the book of which was an Amazon Number 1 Best Seller in the Sociology of Work. His research has been published in world-leading journals including The Lancet Psychiatry, Poetics, Cultural Trends, and Psychology of Music.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and a Committee Member of the Royal Musical Association (RMA) Music and Mental Health Group. He is ICCE's Chair of Examinations

Academic qualifications

  • PhD: ESRC funded - The Centre for Competition Policy (UEA) 2014
  • MA: Politics, Philosophy and Economics 2010
  • MA (Cantab): Social and Political Science, University of Cambridge 2009

Teaching and Supervision

PhDs supervised to completion:

  • Dr. Steven Sparling (2021) (now Head of Department for Creative and Cultural Industries, Kingston University)

George welcomes PhD proposals from students who wish to combine a focus on psychology, sociology and/or economics in relation to creative markets. He currently supervises doctoral work on musicians' wellbeing and identity.

George has previously Chaired ICCE's Undergraduate Learning and Teaching Committee.

Research interests

George's research concerns the psychological experiences & working conditions of creative careers, with a focus on mental health & wellbeing in the music industry.

His work led directly to the establishment of the first 24/7 mental health helpline for musicians - Music Minds Matter - in 2017. His research has been featured by media outlets including BBC News, Pitchfork, Mixmag, GQ, The Financial Times, The Grammys, Billboard & more. His work has been cited as informing the development of global therapeutic & public health interventions as well by the Department for Culture Media and Sport as part of the Creative Industries Sector Vision.

His research has been awarded funding by a range of stakeholders including UKRI (ESRC), Government (Mayor of London) the third sector (Help Musicians UK), and the international music industries (Danish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music). His findings have formed the basis of evidence submitted to the UK Parliament, House of Lords & the Competition & Markets Authority.

His second book, a sociological examination of music-making as a practice of narrative identity construction entitled 'The England No One Cares About: Lyrics from Suburbia' is currently under contract with MIT Press / Goldsmiths Press.

He is also a musician who has signed both major recording & publishing deals with EMI/Sony/ATV. His music has earned support from the likes of Mike Skinner, Plan B, Ellie Goulding & Ed Sheeran, and he has been labelled 'Middle England's Poet Laureate' by BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra DJ MistaJam. Prior to signing to his record deal, he was the first ever unsigned artist to win a place on the MTV 'Brand New' list, and has played at festivals including Reading, Leeds, Wireless and BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend. He has MC'd for global acts including Andy C, Shy FX, Rusko, SpectraSoul, Plastician & Benga.

Publications and research outputs


Musgrave, George. 2023. The England No One Cares About: Lyrics from Suburbia. London: Goldsmiths Press. ISBN 9781913380663

Gross, Sally-Anne and Musgrave, George. 2020. Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition. London: University of Westminster Press. ISBN 9781912656646

Book Section

Musgrave, George. 2023. Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire: Music Education, Mental Health, and Our Students’ Futures. In: David Arditi and Ryan Nolan, eds. Handbook of Critical Music Industry Studies. Palgrave Macmillan.

Musgrave, George. 2022. ‘Losing Work, Losing Purpose’: Representations of Musicians’ Mental Health in the Time of Covid-19. In: Guy Morrow; Daniel Nordgård and Peter Tschmuck, eds. Rethinking the Music Business: Music Contexts, Rights, Data and, COVID-19. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 11-28. ISBN 9783031095313

Musgrave, George. 2022. Lessons from the Loss of Avicii: Business Ethics, Responsibility, and Mental Wellbeing. In: , ed. SAGE Business Cases. London: SAGE Publications.


Musgrave, George; Howard, Charlie; Schofield, Amy; Silver, Emma and Tibber, Marc S. 2023. Mental health the music industry: An evolving intervention landscape. The Lancet Psychiatry, 10(5), pp. 311-313. ISSN 2215-0366

Loveday, Catherine; Musgrave, George and Gross, Sally-Anne. 2023. Predicting anxiety, depression and wellbeing in professional and non-professional musicians. Psychology of Music, 51(2), pp. 508-522. ISSN 0305-7356

Musgrave, George. 2023. Music and wellbeing vs. musicians’ wellbeing: examining the paradox of music-making positively impacting wellbeing, but musicians suffering from poor mental health. Cultural Trends, 32(3), pp. 280-295. ISSN 0954-8963

Musgrave, George. 2023. Musicians, their Relationships, and their Wellbeing: Creative Labour, Relational Work. Poetics, 96, 101762. ISSN 0304-422X

Clift, Stephen; Daffern, Helena; Davies, Christina; Grebosz-Haring, Katarzyna; Kaasgaard, Mette; McCrary, J. Matt and Musgrave, George. 2022. Culture for Health? Arts Professional,

Leisewitz, Adrian and Musgrave, George. 2022. Does Spotify Create Attachment? Algorithmic Playlists, Intermediation and the Artist-Fan Relationship. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, 14(1), pp. 75-100. ISSN 2000-1525

Chaparro, Gerardo and Musgrave, George. 2021. Moral Music Management: Ethical Decision-Making After Avicii. International Journal of Music Business Research, 10(1), pp. 3-16. ISSN 2227-5789

Athanassiou, D and Musgrave, George. 2021. Building a Heavy Metal World: Cultural Entrepreneurship in the Polish People’s Republic. Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 10(1), pp. 1-19. ISSN 2164-7747

Musgrave, George. 2020. Avicii: True Stories - Review. Dancecult Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, 12(1), pp. 94-97. ISSN 1947-5403

Musgrave, George. 2019. Making Sense of My Creativity: Reflecting on Digital Autoethnography. Journal of Artistic and Creative Education, 13(1), pp. 1-11. ISSN 1832 – 0465

Musgrave, George. 2017. Collaborating to Compete: The Role of Cultural Intermediaries in Hypercompetition. International Journal of Music Business Research, 6(2), pp. 41-68. ISSN 2227-5789

Conference or Workshop Item

Musgrave, George and Gross, Sally-Anne. 2018. 'Music Minds Matter: Where Do We Go From Here?'. In: BBC Introducing LIVE. London, Tobacco Docks. 8 November 2018.

Musgrave, George. 2017. 'Control and Autonomy in the Digital Music Business'. In: The 8th Vienna Music Business Research Days. University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria 12-14 September 2017.


Nomvula, Amy; Day, Sam; Musgrave, George and Gross, Sally. 2018. Can Music Make You Sick: The Pitfalls of the Music Industry.

Professional Activity

Musgrave, George; Dinardi, Cecilia; Franklin, Michael; Murphy, Oonagh and Prime, Sian. 2022. Submission of evidence to the UK Parliament House of Lords ‘A Creative Future’ Inquiry.

Gross, Sally-Anne and Musgrave, George. 2022. Submission of evidence to the UK Parliament Women and Equalities Committee 'Misogyny in Music' Inquiry.

Musgrave, George and Gross, Sally-Anne. 2022. Submission of evidence to the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) 'Good Work Review'.

Musgrave, George. 2022. Submission of evidence to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ‘Music and streaming market study’.

Musgrave, George. 2022. Royal Musical Association (RMA) Music and Mental Health Group Committee: Research Co-ordinator.


Leisewitz, Adrian; Musgrave, George and Franklin, Michael. 2022. SHAPESLewisham and the Shape of Lewisham: Connectivity, Communication and Construction in a Creative Enterprise Zone. Project Report. Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

Gross, Sally-Anne; Musgrave, George and Janciute, Laima. 2018. Well-Being and Mental Health in the Gig Economy: Policy Perspectives on Precarity. Discussion Paper. University of Westminster Press - CAMRI Policy Briefs, London.

Further profile content

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