PODCAST | Music Work and Solidarity Politics in the Age of Covid-19: Some Thoughts from Greece


  • Ioannis Tsioulakis Queen's University Belfast


music industry, Greece, solidarity, culture industry, creative workers


Professional musicians in Athens are a community notoriously lacking in solidarity and collective campaigning. Even during the so-called ‘Greek Crisis’, that exacerbated circumstances of precarity among performing artists, musicians seemed reluctant to resort to collective struggle and unionisation. However, the wake of the pandemic that resulted in the closure of music venues and cancellation of all face-to-face musical activity overnight had an unprecedented effect on the collectivisation of Greek musicians. The Panhellenic Music Union is rising in visibility and agency and a new grassroots movement called ‘Support Art Workers’ has emerged as a point of solidarity for thousands of creative artists including musicians, actors, dancers, visual artists and technicians. In this audio statement, Ioannis Tsioulakis (author of Musicians in Crisis, Routledge 2020) reflects on these new developments and provides some thoughts on why Covid-19 might be a time that cultivates collective campaigns for musicians and other precarious creative workers.

Author Biography

Ioannis Tsioulakis, Queen's University Belfast

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology School of HAPP Queen's University Belfast


Works cited:

McRobbie, A. 2016. Be creative: making a living in the new culture industries. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Tsioulakis, I. 2020. Musicians in Crisis: Working and Playing in the Greek Popular Music Industry. New York: Routledge.

Further Reading:

Bastani, H, A. Linardou, R. Sharafi, and I. Tsioulakis. 2021. Musical careers in constant crises: An asynchronous dialogue from Tehran to Athens, via Belfast and Vienna. Critical Studies in Improvisation, 14 (2-3). Available at: https://www.criticalimprov.com/index.php/csieci/article/view/6458/6283

Tsioulakis, Ioannis. 2020b. How Greek musicians weathered an economic crisis could help UK performers handle COVID fall-out. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/how-greek-musicians-weathered-an-economic-crisis-could-help-uk-performers-handle-covid-fall-out-152125

Tsioulakis, I. and A. FitzGibbon. 2020. Performing Artists in the age of COVID-19: A moment of urgent action and potential change. Queen’s Policy Engagement. http://qpol.qub.ac.uk/performing-artists-in-the-age-of-covid-19/

Tziovas, D., Ed. 2017. Greece in Crisis: The Cultural Politics of Austerity. London: I.B. Tauris.