ISM-RCO organists’ fees survey 2017: results

ISM-RCO organists’ fees survey 2017: results

The results of the ISM-RCO survey of organists’ fees are now available online.

The survey, run by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) in partnership with the Royal College of Organists (RCO), is the only survey of this type in the UK.

Over 600 musicians responded, giving an authoritative overview of what organists and directors of music are paid for their work.

Headline figures:
• the survey results show considerable variation between rates paid in London and those paid in the rest of the UK
• 32% of survey respondents who were paid an annual salary reported that they had received a rise in their remuneration in 2016
• most of those reporting an increase received a rise of between 1.1% and 7.0%
• for those who quoted a price for Weddings, 41% said they charged more for audio or video recordings – and over a quarter charged double for both audio and video recordings

You can view the full survey results here:

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM said:
‘This survey is vital due to its uniqueness and we are delighted that over 600 musicians took the time to respond. Organists and directors of music can make decisions about setting their fees with confidence, using these results as a point of reference.’

RCO Director Philip Meaden added:
‘We are delighted to be working with the ISM on this important survey, the largest of its kind in the UK. The information gathered will be of interest to organists, directors of music and their employers, across the UK.’

More than 611 musicians took part in this survey, which is the largest of its kind in the UK. The survey was carried out for us between 2 May and 2 July by independent statisticians at the University of Reading. We asked musicians about what they were paid for playing at regular services and for specials services such as weddings and funerals in 2016.

These survey results are not recommendations. Competition law prevents us – and other trade associations and organisations - from making any recommendation in respect of fees for self-employed musicians.

About RCO

The Royal College of Organists has supported and represented organists and choral directors for more than 150 years.
With members in nearly 40 countries around the world, we work together to promote the best in organ playing and choral directing, to encourage anyone who is interested to learn more about this fascinating and versatile musical instrument, and to explore its history and repertoire.

Supporting organists and choral directors of every age and all levels of attainment, our vision is of a world in which organ and choral music are widely valued as being central to cultural and spiritual life.

For more information, please visit

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s fastest growing professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music. We were set up in 1882 to promote the art of music and to protect the interests of all musicians. Today we support nearly 8,000 members with unrivalled services and expert advice, from study up until retirement and beyond.

We have always been a wholly independent, not-for-profit organisation, allowing us to lobby Government as a united voice for music. We welcome musicians from all areas of the profession including thousands of performers, composers, educators, sound engineers, producers, industry professionals, academics, music therapists and administrators from all genres and musical backgrounds.

For more information, please visit

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