Fair Play: Serious Talk about Diversity in the Industry

Fair Play: Serious Talk about Diversity in the Industry

The Tunedly Team

Mindy Grossman said, “There is a pure and simple business case for diversity: Companies that are more diverse are more successful.” Every industry strives for diversity, which means that everyone, regardless of race, gender, or any other bias, is welcome to participate and contribute. When it comes to creativity, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.

When it comes to fostering a healthy competition environment in the music industry, diversity is essential. People from all over the world have contributed to the evolution of music, changing its fundamental dynamics and spawning new sounds and genres of music over the years.

Although the industry has made some progress in closing the equality gap in the last few years, there is still a long way to go before it can create a place where everyone can play fairly. Being fair doesn't just mean treating people equally regardless of their race or gender or sexuality or disability. It also means treating them with respect. It sometimes means taking into consideration their circumstances and helping them to participate on equal terms. Everyone should have equal access to the same opportunities, which is what fair play is all about.

Take a closer look at the following points where the industry needs to do more in the interest of fair play for all.

People with Disabilities

Disability discrimination and limited access to music education are just two of the problems faced by disabled musicians. Due to fear of the impact on their careers, more than half of disabled musicians who don't have visible disabilities avoid disclosing their disabilities to their employers, according to a new Arts Council-funded study by Harbourside Artist Management. Study findings reveal only 1.8 percent of music industry professionals identify as people with disabilities, compared to the UK population's 18 percent.

The conditions required by the industry, such as long hours and no scheduling flexibility for disabled people, have limited disabled people from being well represented in the industry, according to the report. There needs to be an improvement in all of them in order to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at success.

Gender Equality

According to a recent survey by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, women held 35.3% of the C-suite positions among the over 4000 music industry executives polled. Artists, producers, and other members of the music industry are all feeling the effects of the persistent gender gap in the industry. Only 2% of all music producers in June 2021 were female, according to a report by Statista. A survey conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in early 2020 found that only 12.9% of songwriters are female.

All of these numbers show that more needs to be done to increase the number of women in the music industry and to remove the barriers that prevent them from doing so. A clear path and equal opportunities for women to lead in the music industry are needed to combat issues such as sexual harassment.

LGBTQ+ Representation

20% of 18-34-year-olds identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ+ community and 92% identify themselves as music fans, according to a University of the Pacific report by Joey Tan on LGBT representation and activism in the music industry.

Their voices go unheard because they are vastly underrepresented. Equality and diversity must be promoted by the industry. To normalize the LGBTQ+ community, artists such as Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X advocate for greater visibility and inclusion. The stigma and discrimination LGBTQ+ people face would be reduced if proper representation was provided. In 2019, Stonewall conducted the following research:

  • Customers or coworkers have assaulted 10% of black, Asian, and minority ethnic LGBT+ workers.

  • In 2018, there was an 81% increase in transphobic incidents.

  • More than a third of LGBTQ+ workers have chosen to conceal their identities because they are afraid of being discriminated against at their workplaces.

There is an urgent need to address the LBTQ+ community's underrepresentation based on the data presented above. In the music industry, there are a lot of talented people from the LGBTQ+ community who need to be heard.

Racial Equality

Music labels and streaming platforms around the world staged a "blackout" on June 2nd, 2020, in protest of police brutality. It served as a reminder that racial inequality remains an insurmountable problem in all industries. It's no secret that the entertainment industry has done an outstanding job of excluding people of color from its boardrooms over the years. People of color are underrepresented in executive positions in the music industry, but their hard work and sweat ensure that many major labels would not exist without them.

Music executives in the white majority control the wealth, while artists and musicians of color work tirelessly to enrich their own pockets. The industry generates billions of dollars, but only a tiny percentage of that money is distributed to creators of color. People of color need to be hired across the board, and their pay should match that of their white counterparts.

However, according to the trade association UK Music, the industry is making progress in increasing the representation of minority ethnicities from 15.6% to 22.3% by 2020. An enormous underrepresentation gap in higher-paying jobs still exists, according to the report. Only 27% of high-paying jobs were held by women, and only 12.2% of those employed were non-white.

Beyond the fact that the industry generates more money when it embraces diversity, it also inspires people from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of skills and interests to help grow it. Musicians such as Bob Marley helped popularize Reggae, while Michael Jackson's contributions to Pop music earned him the title "King of Pop." All of this occurs as a result of allowing for a level playing field for all participants and removing all forms of bias.

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