ASCAP Launches TuneUp Program to Support Music Creators' Physical & Mental Health

ASCAP Tuneup
Courtesy Photo


A study conducted prior to launch found that the health and wellness needs of music creators exceed those of the general population.

With the help of a new program, ASCAP is hoping to provide its members with something that's so often in short supply for music creators: peace of mind. 

On Tuesday (Dec. 10), the performing rights organization announced the launch of TuneUp, a new program that will focus on supporting the physical and mental well-being of ASCAP members.

“Creating music is an all-consuming passion and a labor of love, but you’ve got to take care of your instrument -- in the case of music creators, your body, mind and spirit,” said ASCAP chairman of the board and president Paul Williams. "ASCAP has a long commitment to supporting the livelihoods of its songwriters and composers. With TuneUp, we're taking that one step further. If creating music is your life, we are here to provide the resources you need to be at your creative best. This is just the beginning, and we will roll out more services in the months to come.”

Ahead of the TuneUp launch, ASCAP commissioned the “US Music Creator Wellness Study,” a research survey designed to identify the needs of the organization's membership. The survey, which will be conducted an annual basis, found that while music creators have health and wellness needs that “significantly exceed” those of the general population, they do not feel they have good access to wellness services. Additionally, nearly a third of music creators are more likely than the general population to feel that their wellness has a major impact on their career.

Those findings have been used to inform the TuneUp program, which will include substantial discounts on a range of wellness services, including workout apps Aaptiv and Daily Burn; therapy app BetterHelp; the fitness and sleep tracker Motiv; and the self-care app Shine, which features easy exercises and a supportive community. It will also offer recovery support services via a strategic partnership with the Recording Academy's MusiCares charitable organization, which provides crucial assistance to music creators in times of need. Together, ASCAP and MusiCares will launch recovery-focused support groups in multiple cities as well as a digital support group for creators across the U.S. MusiCares will also serve as an official advisor on the recovery and mental health programs offered under the program.

TuneUp will also host wellness events for ASCAP members in multiple cities throughout the year, with a launch event to be held Jan. 6 at ASCAP’s New York City headquarters that will offer an immersive group meditation “sound bath” experience (this will be followed by similar events in Los Angeles and Nashville). The organization is also planning a dedicated “wellness” programming track at the forthcoming 2020 ASCAP Experience in Los Angeles on April 1-3.

Additionally, the TuneUp effort will include a wellness content initiative, including a bonus episode of VERSED: The ASCAP Podcast featuring an interview with Paul Williams on the subject of recovery and well-being as it relates to music creators. The program will also introduce #WellnessWednesday on social media platforms to offer advice and inspiration while allowing ASCAP members to share their own wellness activities.

A number of activities previewing the TuneUp program have been offered over the past month, including a post-ASCAP Country Music Awards “ASCAP x Barry’s Bootcamp” workout in Nashville and an ASCAP Urban panel discussion entitled “Mind Your Business: Mental Health in the Music Industry.”

“My wellness is more than being in the best shape I physically can be in for running around on stage each night,” said musician Michael Franti in a statement supporting TuneUp. “It’s equally about eating well, getting enough sleep and being able to grow with the challenges that life on the road brings, without becoming so stressed that I can’t show up for my wife, kids and touring family in the way that I want to each day. Throughout my adult life I’ve battled depression and anxiety and the music business has no shortage of pressures that can drag me down if I don’t have healthy habits in place. I’m super excited and grateful that ASCAP has made a commitment to helping artists be mindful stewards of their own bodies and hearts, so that they can be the best musical messengers of optimism, wellness and healing possible.”

The 2019 survey results included a number of insights, including that music creators are 83% more likely than the general population to say that “meditating or practicing mindfulness” is very important to them, 55% more likely to say “therapy or coaching for self-improvement” is very important, 42% more likely to say that "feeling connected to others" is very important; and 31% more likely to say “exercising” is very important. They are also four times less likely than the general population to say they feel they have good access to services that can help with substance abuse and other addictions.

ASCAP notes that the TuneUp program comes with a variety of services that are completely free to members, including recovery support groups and events, while others -- including wellness apps -- will come with “significant discounts” and, often, extra-long free trials.

ASCAP has worked with MusiCares for years on initiatives including “safe harbor rooms” at ASCAP Experience and helping creators in need during natural disasters, but TuneUp significantly expands the relationship between the two entities. The broadened partnership will see ASCAP providing funding to expand MusiCares’ recovery support groups to new cities and creator communities, while also allowing for collaborative development between the two organizations on ways to assist creators with their physical and mental health needs.