skip to main content

12 Ways to Make the Music Industry More Inclusive, According to the Musicians' Census

Our Musicians from the Global Majority Insight Report reveals multiple issues that the music industry and Government need to tackle to make the industry more diverse and inclusive.

Published: 13 November 2023 | 11:13 AM
Young Black female musician singing into a studio mic with pop shield in a recording studio.
Our findings are based on our 2023 Musicians' Census. Image credit: Shutterstock.

Here we look at the recommendations we think can make that happen, based on the Musicians from the Global Majority Insight Report, in partnership with Black Lives in Music (BliM).

Closing pay gaps

  • Government should make reporting ethnicity and disability pay gap data mandatory. They should also reduce the threshold to companies with over 50 employees and require employers to not only develop plans to close pay gaps but also to report on progress towards their implementation.
  • Industry should collect robust diversity monitoring data that includes freelancers. This data will help industry measure diversity, and identify and close pay gaps, including freelance pay gaps.

Equal access to education and training

  • Governments should reverse cuts to music and arts subjects and make music education available to all children in schools.
  • Governments implement a broader curriculum so that learners can study music in school on a wider range of instruments and genres that encompass popular, traditional and classical styles from around the world.
  • Governments should commission an audit of school music uptake by protected characteristics, to understand which groups are underrepresented and why.
  • Industry should engage with education providers to provide pathways for increasing the instrument and genre options available to learners.
  • Industry must invest in initiatives that support the career progression of musicians from the Global Majority, create integrated networking opportunities for these communities and implement positive action initiatives in their recruiting processes such as BLiM’s recruiting classical project.
  • Industry: Music exam boards should conduct a review of how their syllabi are created to ensure a diverse range of genres, styles and composers are included.

Tackling racism and discrimination

  • Industry must engage with Black Lives in Music (BliM) forthcoming Anti-Racist Code of Conduct and Toolkit.
  • The orchestral sector should commit to the BLiM/Association of British Orchestras (ABO)/Musicians’ Union 10-point plan for inclusive recruitment.
  • Government should implement Section 14 of the Equality Act 2010 and review the limit of two characteristics, so the law acknowledges overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination
  • Government should introduce class as a protected characteristic within the Equality Act 2010.

Stand up to racial inequality in music by becoming a member of the MU

Becoming an MU member means that you are making an impact on issues such as the diversification of curriculum and syllabi, reporting on the Ethnicity Pay Gap, and the fair and equal representation of all musicians.

Explore our MU member benefits

Join the MU

Stand up to racial inequality in music by becoming a member of the MU

Continue reading

Dr Diljeet Bhachu and award winner Elizabeth J Birch smiling after coming off stage together.

Youth Music Awards 2023: Take Note That the Future is Here

Last month the MU sponsored Youth Music’s Inspirational Music Leader Award, which was presented by Dr Diljeet Bhachu, the MU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer. In this blog, she reflects on the judging process and shares her thoughts on addressing inequality in the wider industry.

Published: 01 December 2023

Read more about Youth Music Awards 2023: Take Note That the Future is Here
Two Black musicians in the recording studio using the mixing desk and playing keyboard.

IYS and MU Release Black History Playlist

The playlist, which is available to stream now via Spotify, showcases Scottish Black artists and celebrates the partnership of the MU and IYS for Black History Month.

Published: 02 November 2023

Read more about IYS and MU Release Black History Playlist