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UK Music Unveils “Game-Changing” Plan to Boost Diversity

Campaigning and lobbying group UK Music – of which the MU is a part – has released the results of its 2020 Workforce Diversity Survey, alongside a clear road map for change.

Published: 29 October 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 26 May 2021 | 11:10 AM
Brightly coloured graphic panel, there is a black square in the centre reading
The Findings give the music industry, Government and other stakeholders an unparalleled insight into where improvements are needed regarding diversity and inclusion. Photo credit: Shutterstock

UK Music today reveals the findings of its 2020 Workforce Diversity Survey in its UK Music Diversity Report. It also unveils a bold Ten-Point Plan to put the music business “front and centre” of the drive to tackle racism and boost diversity in Britain.

Since its launch in 2016, the globally respected survey tracks progress to boost diversity and inclusion in the UK’s music industry that contributes £5.2 billion a year to the UK economy and sustains 190,000 jobs.

Among the key findings of the 2020 Music Industry Workforce Diversity Survey are:

  • Representation of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities among those aged 16-24 in the music industry stands at record 30.6% - up from 25.9% in 2018.
  • Proportion of women increases from 45.3% in 2016 to new high of 49.6% in 2020.
  • Number of people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities at entry-level rises from 23.2% in 2018 to new high of 34.6% in 2020.
  • Number of women in the 45-64 age group drops from 38.7% in 2018 to 35% in 2020.
  • Representation of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities at senior executive levels rises from 17.9% in 2018 to new high of 19.9% - but that means they fill just one in five senior posts.

The survey findings from UK Music – the collective voice of the UK music industry – come in the wake of a year of action, triggered by the death of George Floyd and the protests in support of Black Lives Matter.

They follow a concerted campaign in the music industry to reset itself to better support the black community with events such as #BlackoutTuesday. The results will also inform industry initiatives to build on the work that followed the #MeToo campaign to highlight sexual abuse and harassment.

An unparalleled insight

The survey collates data from across the music business including studios, management agencies, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and the live music sector.

The findings of the survey give the music industry, Government and other stakeholders an unparalleled insight into where improvements are needed regarding diversity and inclusion – and highlights where positive change is already under way.

The survey is overseen by UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce which has worked since it was established in 2015 to boost inclusion and diversity across the industry.

The survey reveals the music industry continues to make good progress on improving diversity and the work done to boost inclusion in the four years since the surveys started is paying off.

The urgent need for change has driven the Ten-Point Plan

However, more work is needed and the urgent need for faster change has driven the creation of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce’s Ten-Point Plan, led by its chair Ammo Talwar MBE and Deputy Chair Paulette Long OBE.

There have been great improvements at entry level for both women and Black, Asian and ethnic minority representation. However, the results show that more needs to be done to improve representation and retention of both women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities at senior levels and among older age groups of those working in the industry.

This year, a record 3,670 people working in the music industry took part in UK Music’s survey. The survey results are published every two years.

The survey findings informed the work carried out this year by UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce which worked collaboratively with music industry leaders and UK Music members to draw up its new ground-breaking Ten-Point Plan.

An outline of the Ten-Point plan

The Ten-Point plan is outlined below:

  • Urban classification to be replaced in all reports and communications - either by genre such as Soul or Rap; UK Music members will commit to support those who wish to use the term “black music”. Members to stop using the acronym BAME - use Black, Asian or ethnic minority background rather than acronym.
  • UK Music members to compile a database of persons accountable & responsible for diversity across the organisation.
  • UK Music members to commit and spend an allocated amount of their annual recruitment budget to ensure a diverse candidate pool.
  • UK Music members to allocate a certain amount of their annual training budget on a 12-month diversity Continuing Professional Development / training programme to ensure fair career opportunities for all.
  • UK Music members to allocate budget and implement a programme to increase diverse representation in middle and senior management.
  • UK Music members to help UK Music implement better transparency around Gender and Ethnic pay gap – move towards lower reporting rate of 50+ employees.
  • Each UK Music member to identify a socially engaged organisation whose work relates to gender or race whom they can invest in on a long-term basis.
  • Each UK Music member to develop diversity policies and internally set diversity targets for core staff. Targets to be published & reported to UK Music and updated annually in order to assess progress. Member bodies to promote diversity and inclusion to partners and stakeholders ensuring industry standards are met.
  • UK Music members to amplify their work with UK Music Diversity Taskforce to increase the response rate and ultimately the data collected in the Biennial UK Music Workforce. Diversity Survey with both their own employees and membership. Aim to have 80% of core staff respond to next survey.
  • Each UK Music members to work towards increasing diversity on its executive bodies and boards - 30% diverse (race) and 50% (gender). Progress towards these goals is to be reported to UK Music as part of annual progress audit.

The Ten-Point Plan was devised following widespread consultation by members of the UK Music Taskforce with stakeholders right across the music industry, as well as an analysis of the survey data. A series of focus groups were also held to gauge opinion.

Building a more diverse membership and workforce in the MU

Our General Secretary, Horace Trubridge, shared his enthusiasm for the initiative:

“The Ten-Point Plan is an essential initiative for the entire music industry to share ideas, change practices and remove the barriers to improving diversity. Keeping organisations on track and accountable for their actions is fundamental if we want to see real change.

“The plan will help guide the MU's work both with employees and members to ensure we are taking a 360 approach to build a more diverse membership and workforce.”

You can read more information and the full report on UK Music’s website.

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