BRIT Trust Diaries: Joe Hastings, CEO OF Music Support

BRIT Trust Diaries: Joe Hastings, CEO OF Music Support

Date published: 30/05/2024

Music Support is by the industry for the industry. Our mission is to help those in the music industry facing substance misuse, addiction, and mental ill-health, along with their families. We offer confidential, non-judgmental support and promote self-awareness and positive change. Our peer-led approach challenges stigma and fosters open dialogue. We support music people, by music people. 

As I stepped into my role as CEO of Music Support in early 2024, I brought with me my experience from heading up the Music Minds Matter charity at Help Musicians, my work in substance misuse support services and my (on and off) work as a songwriter and composer. 

The transition to Music Support, an incredible charity supported by The BRIT Trust, and filled with passionate and dedicated staff, has been fascinating and rewarding. These past few months have flown by, filled with meaningful connections across the music community and much impactful work.



In the initial weeks of my new role, I had the pleasure of immersing myself in the team dynamics and understanding the breadth of support offered by Music Support. From direct assistance through our services team to preventative measures provided by our learning & development team, I witnessed firsthand the invaluable work being done. 

Despite the nerves, I delivered an introductory speech at a fundraising gig headlined by Tom Walker and supported by Seye Adelekan. The overwhelming support from the crowd affirmed the importance of Music Support's mission. 


Getting to spend time with all of Music Support’s board members was also incredibly rewarding, many with their own lived experience and all with a high level of understanding of the unique challenges that people face working in the UK music industry. There is so much passion and energy within the board. Hearing from founders Andy Franks and Matt Thomas really helps to shape our understanding and has, in turn, helped shape the thinking surrounding our values.

A key focus in this month was getting to spend time working with the team and various board members through a workshop to explore a new vision for the charity, which in turn led to renewed mission and values being created. Having undertaken similar exercises before and seen how challenging they can be, it was great to observe the consensus achieved in a single day which is testament to the shared dedication to our cause.

The services team continue to see growth across our family and friends services – this is an exciting new area of support offered thanks to our brilliant partnership with The Christopher Meredith Foundation. This area of support is essential, not only in reflecting the wider impact of substance misuse and mental ill health on friends and family but also in the benefits of effective support that they can offer to aid recovery and enable individuals to maintain their emotional health.


We are deep into planning for a new friends and family workshop designed based on need and a really effective collaboration between our learning & development team and our services team. We plan to launch this group mid-year with an aim to provide participants with more knowledge of recovery and mental ill health and how we can support the person experiencing it, as well as managing expectations of what their recovery may look like.

A massive highlight here surrounded one of our founders, Andy Franks, receiving a hugely well-deserved award for all of his amazing hard work in the industry champion category at the Arthurs Awards. Andy’s acceptance speech was funny and heartfelt. It was wonderful to see how much affection that he elicits from people working in the music industry, particularly given his own lived experiences which he opened up about with very impressive candour.

The services team has observed a significant increase in demand, a trend that has been consistent since my tenure began. This demand is particularly pronounced in cases of problematic substance misuse. Currently, we are conducting a thorough review of our services area with the primary goal of ensuring that we can effectively meet the escalating demand for these critical services. 

Recounting his own experience, a Music Support beneficiary said: “After DJing, promoting and scouting in the industry for many years, it had weathered me and the environment for me became unmanageable. I spoke to Music Support in January 2023 and since then they have given me amazing support.  

“I have struggled greatly with cocaine and alcohol in recent years, and the advice given and regular phone calls gave me the confidence to go into rehab.  

“I feel the best I have done in years and refreshed and ready to fully immerse myself in music again, but without the devil on my shoulder. I cannot recommend how life affirming and changing this experience has been and it would not have happened without Music Support.”  

As I reflect on the past few months, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to lead Music Support. The dedication of our team, the unwavering support from our board, and the resilience of the music industry inspire me every day. We will continue to grow and develop our partnerships and together, we will ensure that we make a tangible difference in the lives of music industry professionals, empowering them to achieve their full potential.

To learn more about the work of Music Support or if you feel you or someone you know needs our help, then please visit our website or call our confidential help-line tel: 0800 030 6789.