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Color of Change and the Recording Academy have announced the latest step in their partnership with the release the #ChangeMusic Roadmap, which is described as “a guide to move the music industry beyond conversation and intention and towards actionable racial justice.”

Read the Roadmap here.

Initially announced in October 2020 at the industry-wide #ChangeMusic Summit, the project is the latest initiative the partnering organizations have launched to promote tangible change within the music industry. The two organizations announced their partnership in July, and have been working together to identify key opportunities to drive and influence change in the music industry.

These efforts include the creation of the Black Music Collective, an industry-wide diversity and inclusion summit, partnership in advocacy and legislative efforts and more. The roadmap specifically identifies key areas the industry can improve upon in its treatment of Black people: Invest in Black talent and careers, commit to transparent reporting of Black representation, align and partner with the Black community, promote civic advocacy and participation and invest in Black safety.

“Tracing the history of American music reveals a fundamental reality about representation in the music industry:  Black contributions to the industry have been and continue to be undervalued,” the Roadmap begins. “Black creatives and professionals’ rich contributions have undeniably shaped the music industry into what it is today. They have created styles of music, the culture, the trends, and the success of this business — yet too often are left unheralded and excluded from the rooms in which the most important decisions are made. To honor and amplify Black people’s past, present, and future contributions, the music industry must tear down the barriers to full participation and equitable treatment. This moment offers an unparalleled opportunity to change patterns of exclusion and degradation and take action toward progress. #ChangeMusic is our first step.”

The #ChangeMusic Roadmap urges the industry to change patterns of exclusion and degradation and take action toward progress through the following:

  • Invest in Black talent + careers by supporting retention and training measures for Black people.
  • Commit to transparent reporting of Black representation by conducting a third-party and public-facing diversity audit and annually reporting pay disparities.
  • Align and partner with the Black community by contracting with Black-owned and Black-led businesses and partnering with brands that are in alignment with anti-racist social justice values.
  • Promote civic advocacy and participation by giving employees paid time off to participate in national elections.
  • Invest in Black safety by aligning with and supporting current calls around reexamining the role of police in Black communities and addressing structural issues in the criminal justice system.

“In a year of uprising, sickness, and distance, music has been both a healing force and a call to action. It’s helped us process our pain and drive social change. This moment offers an unparalleled opportunity to change patterns of exclusion and degradation and take action toward progress,” says Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change. “To honor and amplify Black artists’ past, present, and future contributions, the music industry must tear down the barriers that have been up for far too long. #ChangeMusic is our first step.” 

“Change cannot wait. We believe this #ChangeMusic Roadmap will be key to driving progress in the Academy and the music industry. It was developed over the last few months with the goal of holding ourselves accountable. The roadmap is intended to serve as an important tool to support the changes we must urgently make together in music,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “This is a new era of the Recording Academy and we won’t stop until the work is done. The Recording Academy and Color of Change invite our peers and partners to join us on this transformational journey.”

Disrupting the status quo is our top priority and the #ChangeMusic Roadmap is a key driver for real change,” said Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. “We salute Color of Change for their leadership and deeply appreciate their partnership during this unprecedented time. The Recording Academy will continue to move with urgency and measurable action to accelerate equitable outcomes for Black Music.”