Every professional musician knows it’s difficult to succeed in the business. Instrumentalists, singers, songwriters, producers and engineers must keep their skills up and compete for good-paying work.

Artists aside, there have been plenty of recent financial struggles within the music industry. It is important to understand that debt problems can and do affect everyone — from freelance players to huge corporations — and that various forms of bankruptcy protection can be indispensable to those who qualify for it.

Music-related debt troubles and bankruptcies

Debt problems come in all shapes and sizes, as evidenced by reports of numerous music companies experiencing financial crises:

  • Gibson Brands Inc., makers of iconic Gibson guitars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018 in its efforts to keep the business running and keep creditors at bay.
  • The for-profit McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota, filed for Chapter 7 after abruptly closing its doors in December 2017 and stiffing its faculty and students right before the holidays.
  • Credit and default fears about Guitar Center, America’s largest instrument retailer, have been voiced by Moody’s, according to Digital Music News, which said Guitar Center has massive debt.
  • The country’s largest radio station operator, iHeartMedia, filed for Chapter 11, USA Today reported in May 2018. According to the report, the company has 850 stations … and carries $20 billion in debt.

Do you need help with your debts?

Whether or not you’re in the music business, you may be unable to service your debt. Perhaps the problem was triggered by an income loss, a divorce or an expensive medical event. If you think you may qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 (or another form of bankruptcy) talk to an experienced legal professional about your situation.