IMS Day 1 report: Why hasn't music had its 'MeToo' moment?

IMS Day 1 report: Why hasn't music had its 'MeToo' moment?

A powerful debate on sexual harassment in DJ culture left a lasting impact on the first day of this year's International Music Summit  (IMS) in Ibiza. 

Held at the Hard Rock Hotel, yesterday's discussion brought together Andreea Magdalina of Shesaid.so, a network of women in the music industry, artists B.Traits and Honey Dijon, DJ Mag editor Carl Loben, Carly Wilford of Sister Collective and Mark Lawrence of the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM).

Magdalina told the electronic music conference why she felt music was yet to have its own #MeToo moment akin to Hollywood. 

"Our big MeToo moment hasn't really happened because of fear, mostly," she said. "I think there's a lot of fear in the industry - whether you're an artist or someone who works behind the scenes - around this idea of being stamped as the complainer and the fear to either lose bookings or lose your job, or simply be ostracised in the industry as a result. That's along the lines of why this topic hasn't been fully, transparently explored."

Magdalina went on to discuss Kesha's well-publicised legal dispute with producer Dr Luke. 

"I guess we had a bit of a moment with Kesha and Dr Luke, and it kind of kicked off this conversation, but it wasn't enough," she said. "In fact, she suffered a lot off the back of coming out with her story. It's probably going to take a handful of these stories and for those people to align themselves - to come together collectively, probably - to have that kind of impact."

Speaking about the industry's approach to diversity, Dijon said representation was a major part of the problem.

"Any time we talk about diversity we always talk about it from a creative standpoint - that artist standpoint - and I feel that's also pigeonholing women," she said, "because the festival owners, the record label owners, the promoters, people that book the festivals - it's still all men. And it's normally white, heterosexual men deciding line-ups. So for me I think diversity has to be just as much behind the scenes, as well as artistic."

 

I think there's a lot of fear in the industry - whether you're an artist or someone who works behind the scenes - around this idea of being stamped as the complainer 

Andreea Magdalina

 

Lawrence said AFEM had committed to having a 50/50 male/female board structure in place by 2020.

"I think there are two things that need to happen," he said. "I think we need to continue to drive the businesses to be balanced, but I also think we need to continue to correct men's inappropriate perceptions of what they are allowed to do."

B.Traits backed a proposal to introduce an industry-wide code of conduct that "very clearly breaks down what is not acceptable", while Loben called on men to "change their fucked up attitudes".

"We shouldn't be leaving it just for women to speak out against sexual harassment, men should also be speaking out against sexual harassment," he said. "In the same way that you wouldn't want only black people to speak out against racism, men should be bringing these issues into the forefront and calling out their friend, calling out their colleague, when they're being inappropriate."

On parallels with the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood, Lawrence surmised: "The dynamics are quite similar in terms of how the industry is set up. The unknown is if there is a Harvey [in the music business]. I can't sit here today and tell you if there's an equivalent, but if there is then enough's enough." 

IMS co-founder Pete Tong opened this year's event earlier in the day with a keynote address in memory of Avicii, while opening panel Safe From Harm - Our Duty Of Care focused on mental health and issues faced by touring DJs.

In addition, analyst Kevin Watson presented the IMS Business Report 2018, which revealed the value of the global electronic music industry had declined 2% year-on-year to $7.3 billion (£5.5bn). IMS continues today.

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