Music exists because of the artists creating it. Record labels exist because of the artists creating that music. The employees of record labels (everyone from the mailroom guys to the CEO) all have health insurance and benefits. Yet – these people all have jobs because of the artists. The artists see no benefits, no health insurance, nothing. Musicians are not seen as employees of a record label. They are “temps” – temporary employees – because of the record contract that they sign. They sign their career and lives over to these labels, which help develop it and help it grow. Nine times out of ten, a band will break up or cancel tours due to prevailing health issues.
ROCK FOR HEALTH is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate artists on health issues, provide necessary medical information and be an advocate for musicians in regards to health insurance coverage and long-term care. A population that is better informed about its health care coverage options will be better able to access needed care. ROCK FOR HEALTH will inform musicians on a wide variety of health issues including preventative health services, social, mental and occupational outreach. Through leadership, communication, and partnerships, ROCK FOR HEALTH is dedicated to the creation of a healthy musical environment in which artists and performers can perform at their peak physical and mental abilities. Without healthy musicians, we will not have music that is created to its highest potential. Sick artists cannot tour. ROCK FOR HEALTH wants to make their life and music healthy by helping them address health problems before they escalate into thousands of dollars worth of hospital bills.
Today, health insurance companies often consider musicians and artists an “at risk” population based on legitimate occupational health risks – road travel, hearing damage, and repetitive stress disorders. Many times, insurance companies stereotype artists because of the way that they look and the generalized idea of “sex, drugs, rock and roll.” Musicians who lack health insurance will very often delay or forgo health care until situations get desperate. At moments of crisis, they are forced to use hospitals, emergency rooms, and trauma centres to seek treatment instead of addressing health problems at a point when less expensive interventions were possible. As a result, the musician as a patient can very easily run up huge medical bills that can put them in thousands of dollars of debt, sometimes causing the band to break up.