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UK Music Industry Focusses on Increasing Diversity

The influential British music organisation, UK Music has announced its intention to deal with a lack of diversity in the industry.

The first thing will be to undertake a cross industry survey focussing on both gender and ethnic rights in relation to staff quotas publishing, record labels, promoters, distributors and  management companies amongst other areas.

UK Music announced that the survey would the first of its kind within the British music industry.  Like its American counterpart, it has attracted a range of criticism for the perceived underrepresentation of BAME employees in influential roles.

“Music is proud of its artists’ diversity but this should be better reflected across the executives who lead and shape the industry,” said Ayesha Hazarika, senior advisor at labels trade body BPI, upon the scheme's launch. She said it was  “a vital first step so we can get a snap shot of what the industry currently looks like.”

“It is important that the music industry is in the vanguard of the creative industries when it comes to equality and diversity, so that we can make the most of the benefits of having such a diverse society, which has served Britain so well in the past,” added Keith Harris, who has chaired the UK Music Diversity Taskforce since its inception in 2015.

Although accurate figures have not been published before, a 2011 “Music Blueprint” by campaigning organization Creative & Cultural Skills suggested that 93 percent of the industry were of white background with 61 percent male.

Just last year, a report conducted for the Department for Culture found that BAME employees made up about 11% of the industry workforce, a figure that reflects BAME representation in the nationwide workplace.

The fact that no black artists were nominated at this year’s Brit Awards in any major category served to emphasise the need for greater diversity in the workplace.

The resulting debacle ended up in its own Oscar-copying hashtag, #BritsSoWhite and led to the Brits chairman Ged Doherty writing an open letter in which he promised to make future editions of the event “more truly representative of modern British music.”

Says UK Music: “It is important that today’s UK music sector is open, transparent and progressive and through this survey, the industry will be able to measure, analyse and act upon its findings in order to ensure that the ecosystem behind British music is as representative, vibrant and diverse as the music we export globally”.

It goes on: “By repeating the survey in future years, the taskforce will also be able to map out progress and improve opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds to forge a career within the industry. The results will be published later this year”.

Keith Harris, who is chairing the taskforce, added: “It is important that the music industry is in the vanguard of the creative industries when it comes to equality and diversity, so that we can make the most of the benefits of having such a diverse society, which has served Britain so well in the past”.


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