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Black Lives in Music (BLiM) have conducted the largest survey of Black musicians and music industry professionals conducted in the UK.

Being Black in The UK Music Industry survey report highlights the widespread and systemic racism that Black musicians experience across the music industry with Black women disproportionately experiencing discrimination and disadvantage.

Key findings include:

  • 86% of all Black music creators agree that there are barriers to progression. This number rises to 89% for Black women and 91% for Black creators who are disabled
  • Three in five (63%) Black music creators have experienced direct or indirect racism in the music industry, and more (71%) have experienced racial microaggressions
  • 36% of Black music professionals believe their mental wellbeing has declined, rising to 39% of Black women
  • 38% of Black music professionals earn 100% of their income from music compared to 69% of white music professionals.
  • 57% of black music creators have seen white contemporaries promoted ahead of them despite being more qualified

The report gives clear evidence of the issues and barriers that Black musicians face. Racism is preventing Black musicians from reaching their full potential and severely impacting their mental health. As an industry we must make tackling racism a priority.

Read the report in full

The BLiM survey report makes several recommendations to address the issues and emphasises collaboration across the UK music industry as key to addressing imbalances. 

The MU fully supports the recommendations made in the report and are more committed than ever to working with our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the MU Network for Members who Experience Racism and through our partnerships with organisations including BLiM and Power Up, to tackle racism and ensure that being Black isn’t a barrier to having a successful career in the music industry.

We are behind every musician

As a trade union we are here to represent, support and provide advice to our members. If you are an MU member experiencing racism or any other form of discrimination, you should contact your Regional Office.

Find out more about what we do for musicians experiencing racism.

Photo ofJohn Shortell
Thanks to

John Shortell

John Shortell is Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the Musicians’ Union. He has over 20 years’ experience working in the creative industries and has worked for over 10 years specifically in Equality, Diversity & Inclusion for trade unions and as a consultant in the creative and education sectors. John’s role has oversight of the Union's Equality, Diversity & Inclusion work across all sections and is secretary to the MU’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

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Representing and advocating on behalf of musicians experiencing racism

Our network for members who experience racism is a space where people with shared identities and backgrounds can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry.

Join our member network

The network ensures that the voices of members who experience racism are heard and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created.

Sign up if you are a musician from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to get your voice heard.

Sign up now

Representing and advocating on behalf of musicians experiencing racism