The subject of diversity was brought very much to the fore in 2016, but what can be done by the industry to ensure that the subject remains under the spotlight for the next 12 months and beyond?
With high-profile events such as the Oscars and the BRITs criticised in 2016 for the lack of diversity among nominees and award winners, the music industry appeared to take significant strides in its attempts to be more inclusive and create a more representative marketplace. UK Music launched its first ever diversity summit and survey – the findings of which are set to be published next week – while the BPI overhauled the BRITs voting academy.
And while these changes will hopefully kickstart the industry into making some much needed changes, it’s imperative that the momentum built up over the past year doesn’t slow as we enter the new year.
According to Kanya King, founder of the MOBO Awards and winner of the Music Week Women In Music Media Pioneer award, the key is to ensure that change begins at the top of the biz in order to set the right example for the rest of the industry.
“It is no surprise that leadership and organisational culture play key roles in creating both the obstacles and the solutions to individual success” King told Music Week. “It is critical that support for building an inclusive business comes from the top – success here requires broad executive support to filter all the way through organisations until it becomes part of their DNA. Build strategies that link diversity with the organisation’s business objectives.
Keith Harris, chair of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, also believes that change needs to filter down from the top in order to make a real impact.
“The industry needs to wake up and realise that, superficially, things look quite good,” Harris told Music Week. “That’s been part of the problem. Because the outward facing industry seems to have a reasonable mix of women and ethnic minorities, it’s seen as an open industry. That’s allowed an uneven situation to go on too long, especially at the upper levels. At grassroots levels it looks not bad, but as you rise through the ranks it becomes very uneven.
You can read our full report on diversity in 2016 here.