Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst: A Sociological Study on Being a Musician in Turkey

Güven U. Z.

Journal of Economy Culture and Society, Special Issue, no.2, pp.139-155, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Name: Journal of Economy Culture and Society, Special Issue
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.139-155


This study aims to analyze the socio-economic status, behavioral patterns and cultural constituents of being a musician in Turkey. The main objective is thus to unveil various different aspects of how musicianship is structured, expressed and perceived in Turkey. This research employs semi-structured in-depth interviews with 12 educated and professional Turkish musicians of different genres, which are grouped under the categories of serious and popular music. The main findings put forth that musicians, as artists, seem a bit unsure about the occupational prestige of their job. Lack of interest in serious music, inclination towards more trendy and ready-to-consume genres, interventions of new media technologies, trying to maintain a professional artistic network and to meet the demands of the music market while trying to stay creative and authentic, together with job insecurity and income instability are reported among the major difficulties that musicians face today. Engaging in free-lance work is also deemed an inevitable dimension of their job. Improvements in the management of musicians and the flourishing of innovative performance ideas came to the forefront as promising developments. Moreover, even though musicians share many behavioral patterns with other professionals, being patient, disciplinary, cooperative and hard-working, were listed among the necessities for musicians’ career success.