U.K. Music Shows Higher Black and Female Representation, Announces ‘Game-Changing’ Diversity Plan

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Representation of ethnic minorities and women in the the U.K. music industry has significantly improved over the last two years, reveals a new workforce diversity survey commissioned by industry body U.K. Music.

Representation of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities among those aged 16-24 in the music industry stands at a record 30.6% — up from 25.9% in 2018, the survey found. At the entry level, the figure rose from 23.2% in 2018 to 34.6% in 2020. At the senior executive level, it rose from 17.9% in 2018 to 19.9%, though it still means the demographic fills only one in five senior posts.

The survey also found that the proportion of women increased from 45.3% in 2016 to 49.6% in 2020; however, the number of women in the 45-64 age group dropped from 38.7% in 2018 to 35% in 2020.

The findings inform the work carried out by U.K. Music’s diversity task force and are part of the annual U.K. Music Diversity Report. The task force has drafted a 10-point plan described by its chair Ammo Talwar as ‘game-changing.’

The plan begins by stating: “Urban classification is to be replaced in all reports and communications — either by genres such as soul or rap. U.K. Music members will commit to support those who wish to use the term ‘Black music.’ Members are to stop using the acronym BAME — use Black, Asian or ethnic minority background — rather than the acronym.”

The plan goes on to suggest a number of practical diversity goals for member organizations, including achieving 30% race diversity and 50% gender diversity on their executive bodies and boards.

“Against a backdrop of global change, the diversity task force has been carefully listening, challenging and working behind the scenes to help shape a transformational and game-changing 10-point plan,” said Talwar. “No tokenistic statements, no short-term wins, but a truly collaborative long-term plan that reboots the sector and ensures diversity is front and centre of all major decisions.”

The bi-annual 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. This year, 3,670 people working in the music industry took part in it.

U.K. Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “If our music industry is to tell the story of modern-day Britain, then it needs to look like modern-day Britain too. This ground-breaking report is an important step towards achieving that.”