Patterns in musician mortality

musician mortality by genre

The Conversation explores the patterns in musician mortality within specific genres. Below are some of the takeaways.

  • Blues, jazz, gospel, and country musicians live “on average, similar lifespans as those from the US population with the same year of birth and gender.”
  • Pop, rock, metal, electronic, hip-hop, and rap artists die younger with “lower life expectancies compared with the US population.”

But because the newer genres — hip-hop, rap, electronic, rock — haven’t existed as long as the older styles, we have to go deeper into the data and look at how these musicians die.

  • Accidental death by car accident or drug overdose is highest among males, specifically in the rock and metal genres
  • Gospel musicians have the lowest rate of suicide while metal musicians have the highest
  • More than 50% of hip hop and rap artists die from murder
  • Those dying from cancer or heart-related conditions tend to be folk and jazz musicians

The study suspects that style of music predicts human lifespan, with “mortality rates were between two and three times higher for popular musicians than matched population data.” However, the study also cautions that punk, metal, rock, electronic, hip-hop and rap musicians “appear unlikely to live long enough to acquire the illnesses of middle and old age.”

Only time will tell if the initial results from the newer genres remain valid.

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