A new report has revealed a severe lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the senior ranks of music trade organisations in the UK with women representing just 27% of CEO positions and black women counting for 3% of board members.
The report, titled Seat at the Table and conducted by female-focused community Women in CTRL, analysed the gender and ethnic make-up of 12 key music trade organisations, focusing on the representation of black women.
Trade bodies included in the research are UK Music, The Association of Independent Music (AIM), British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), Music Managers Forum (MMF), PPL and PRS for Music.
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), The Ivors Academy, Music Publishers Association (MPA), Music Producers Guild (MPG) and Music Venues Trust (MVT) are also included.
Across the organisations, women occupy three out of twelve CEO positions and there is one female Chair. Five board seats out of a possible 185 are held by black women, who fill only two positions employed within teams out of 122 roles.
In London, where the organisations are headquartered, black people (male and female) count for 13.3% of the population, according to data from the 2011 census. Women, across all ethnic groups, represent 52% of the population.
Further findings from the report include:
- 34% of board members across 12 music trade body boards are women
- The lowest representation of women is on the PPL board with 6%
- 0% of CEOs and Chairpersons across 11 music trade body boards are black women*
Discussing the findings, Women in CTRL founder Nadia Khan said: “As I’ve progressed through my career in the music industry over the last 18 years, I saw no representation of women or minorities within organisations at the top level and I found it perplexing how white men were making all the decisions as gatekeepers on black music.
“A lot of my work as a manager has been consumed with fighting against the uphill battle, through every hurdle and finding a way around every door that was closed for black artists in the music industry in live, TV, radio, record labels, and every other sector.
“I value that there is now an interest in discussing diversity in the industry, and I see the many recent statements from organisations on how much of an importance diversity and inclusion is to them. However, statements are not enough.
“As I’ve progressed through my career in the music industry, I saw no representation of women or minorities within organisations at the top level. I found it perplexing how white men were making all the decisions as gatekeepers on black music.”
nadia khan, women in ctrl
“If we really want to really eradicate inequality in music then all organisations need to take accountability and make concrete action to increase representation of women in leadership roles, and diversity and inclusion within their organisations for minorities, in particular black women who are severely underrepresented.”
Khan has outlined a five-point diversity pledge that she’s asking the organisations surveyed to agree to. Points include:
- Take accountability
- Commit to diversity
- Start at the top
- Diversity your team
- Listen to women
She continued: “Those organisations that prioritise advancing women and growing representation of minority voices will be the ones who lead the tide for the diversity.
“Through WIC I want to work with organisations to engage in open conversations, agree deliverable targets to action change.
“I hope that all the organisations in the report will publicly agree to the WIC diversity pledge. It’s time for the music industry to proceed with purpose and offer a #SeatAtTheTable to women and minorities in the music industry.”
Music publisher, consultant and director, Paulette Long OBE, said: “As a black woman working in the music industry, I have been sitting on trade body boards for the last 14 years. The ‘Seat At The Table’ report by ‘Women in CTRL’ highlights the fact that there has been little to no change in the number of black females at this level for almost the entire duration of my tenure. In a sector that gains riches from its very diverse creative pool, this disparity is much too wide.
“Industry-wide bodies should be ashamed of the part their negligence has played in this justice imbalance, but let’s work together to bring about change.”
paulette long, obe
“This is a deep-rooted problem that must be addressed. Industry-wide bodies should be ashamed of the part their negligence has played in this justice imbalance, but let’s work together to bring about change. There is a rare window of opportunity open for us to do this.
“The place is here and the time is now. Whatever it takes, let’s paint a new picture. A picture where diversity reigns. A picture in which more black women can finally take their seat at the table. I’ve been there. I’ve added my voice and witnessed the difference the black and female perspective can make. What are we waiting for?”
MOBO founder Kanya King recommended “that trade bodies are to lead the way in tackling barriers to make more room for underrepresented groups to progress.”
“Strong direction through policy, accountability and reporting is required to show that the music industry is not just for the privileged few.”
kanya king, mobo
She continued: “Strong direction through policy, accountability and reporting is required to show that the music industry is not just for the privileged few. Diversity targets should be drawn up so that what matters gets measured.”
Consultant and gender diversity researcher Vick Bain added: “It is clear that for black women in particular their participation and progress in these companies, who represent the entire UK music industry, is just not good enough and particular attention needs to be given to their recruitment and talent development.
“This is especially so for London, where all of the trade bodies are based, where over quarter of a million Black women of working age live. We really can do better.”
*MPG doesn’t have a chair so is not included in certain stats
Music Business Worldwide