'We need systemic change': Lara Baker's message for the biz

'We need systemic change': Lara Baker's message for the biz

Music business consultant Lara Baker has told Music Week of her concern about the “fatigue” surrounding the push for change in the music business.

Baker, who became a star of the independent sector over almost 14 years with the Association Of Independent Music (AIM), launched new company The Bkry a year ago and features in the new edition of Music Week, out now.

So far, The Bkry has collaborated with events including BBC Music Introducing Live – where Baker organised a line-up of more than 500 panelists with a 50/50 gender split – Americana Fest and the Artist & Manager Awards.

“When I started at AIM I had it quite easy. I had a female CEO in Alison Wenham who really encouraged her team members and was passionate about diversity,” Baker said. “I didn’t appreciate for quite some time the scope of the [equality] problem. It’s only as I got older and you see friends dealing with sexual harassment problems and you see the gender pay gap.”

Baker, who has become known for her work around equality and diversity, added: “Even though we have a lot of women in music events and amazing networks, we’ve still got a long way to go before that problem is fixed and we don’t need to talk about it anymore.”

The exec, who was inducted onto the Music Week Women In Music Awards Roll Of Honour in 2017, used her Music Week interview to call for “systemic change”.

 

We need to start working on real systemic change

Lara Baker

Baker, who has become known for her work around equality and diversity, added: “Even though we have a lot of women in music events and amazing networks, we’ve still got a long way to go before that problem is fixed and we don’t need to talk about it anymore.”

The exec, who was inducted onto the Music Week Women In Music Awards Roll Of Honour in 2017, used her Music Week interview to call for “systemic change”.

“I’m worried there’s a lot of fatigue because we have talked about it so much, everyone’s seen that ‘women in A&R’ panel or that ‘women in music’ event, but actually the problems haven’t gone away,” she said.

“We need to start working on real systemic change. The problems and the stats are still pretty similar to what they were five or 10 years ago.”

Baker said she does see a light at the end of the tunnel, but called for “mentoring schemes, leadership programmes, unconscious bias training, changes in the way people do their hiring, more flexible workplaces and working hours and better maternity and paternity packages.”

Baker said the gender split of festival line-ups is “as shocking as it’s ever been”.

The former AIM events guru regularly speaks to aspiring music business executives and revealed her go-to piece of advice for the next generation.

“Having a network is so important, the advice I always give to young girls entering the music industry is form a network, find your peers and support each other,” she said. “It’s so valuable.”

Pick up the new issue of Music Week to read the full interview. Subscribers can read it online here.

To subscribe and never miss a music biz story, click here.

Read Baker’s Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour interview here.

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