Keychange issues 5-year progress report & updated manifesto for 'equitable and sustainable industry'

Keychange issues 5-year progress report & updated manifesto for 'equitable and sustainable industry'

Keychange, the international initiative for gender equity in the music industry, has issued a five-year progress report.

The global music community has been urged to rally behind the lessons learned over five years in the Impact Evaluation Report (2018 - 2023), as outlined in the new Keychange Manifesto 2.0.

The Impact Evaluation Report will be launched at the conference programme during Tallinn Music Week in Estonia on April 5. 

Conducted by independent evaluator Dr Matina Magkou, the report delves into the initiative’s impact on women and gender-diverse individuals since its inception in 2018, as well as its impact on the wider music industry. 

It will be accompanied by an updated Keychange Manifesto 2.0, a result of collaborative sessions with artists and innovators. Both documents will be available for download from the Keychange website post-event.

The Rewind Fast Forward Keychange programme will also play host to performances of Keychange artists on the opening night of the festival, including: Misia Furtak, HUNT, Anna Bassy, Vera Vice, Bedless Bones, Efe Ce Ele and Katja Adrikova.

Keychange was initiated by six original partners in 2015, spearheaded by Vanessa Reed, former CEO of PRS Foundation, in response to gender imbalance within the music industry and the poor representation across all sectors of the industry, including festival line-ups, label signings and leadership roles. 

The Keychange Pledge encouraged music festivals and organisations to become signatories and participation in the Keychange Talent Development programme. 

Keychange is led by a core team consisting of PRS Foundation, Reeperbahn Festival and Musikcentrum Öst. It has evolved into a global movement with 650-plus partners and collaborators across 40-plus countries.

There is now an expanded commitment beyond advocating for gender equality to encompass a broader, more equitable, inclusive and intersectional representation within the music industry including factors such as ethnic diversity and race, disability, age or parenthood.

Since 2018, Keychange has invested over €2.75m in 306 participants in its flagship talent development programme across five cohorts. Of this, 153 artists and 153 innovators have been supported to advance their careers through cross-border collaborations, facilitating 155 showcase performances for artists and providing over 160 speaking opportunities (as panellists, moderators, experts and trainers) for innovators. Each participant receives an average investment of €9,000, covering various costs including access, accompaniment (managers etc.), and childcare expenses. 

Impact Evaluation Report

The Impact Evaluation Report reveals a diverse cohort with a significant portion of participants in the Keychange initiative identified as LGBTQIA+ (42.8%), with varying identities including bisexual, queer, pansexual, gay/lesbian, and 'other'. In comparison, 57.2% identified as heterosexual or straight. About one-third (28.6%) of the selected participants identified as belonging to the global majority within their respective countries.

The report also underscores the importance of childcare top-up support which was required by 14.1% of selected participants, indicating a need for additional support in balancing childcare responsibilities with program participation.

Furthermore, 18.6% of selected participants identified as deaf, disabled, or having an impairment affecting their day-to-day lives, highlighting the importance of accessibility considerations.

According to the evaluation study, 76% of participants reported initiating movements promoting gender equity within the music industry in their own environments, reflecting the initiative's impact on fostering advocacy and activism. 

Among the Keychange partners and participants surveyed, the external evaluation survey found that:

- 97% believe that Keychange has managed to a great extent to support the artistic and business development of women and gender-diverse people in the music industry

- 90% of the participants rate very high Keychange's contribution to the creation of a transnational movement on gender equity in the music industry.

- 87% believe that it has influenced considerably or somewhat considerably policy, business models, funding and music industry development.

The report recognises the impact of the Keychange Pledge – a network that brings together a diverse ecosystem of partners, including organisations, companies and any entities within the music industry who pledge to achieve a 50% and over gender balance in their programming, staffing and beyond. In 2018, 45 festivals worldwide signed up to the Keychange Pledge. The network now comprises over 650 signatories spanning 40-plus countries.

This reach is bolstered by the support of 43 ambassadors, such as Tayla Parx (US), Rebecca Ferguson (UK), Nadine Shah (UK), Peaches (DE), Flore Benguigui (FR), Tegan and Sara (CA), Linnea Henriksson (SE), Joy Denalane (DE).

Keychange backing has contributed to nurturing the talent of artists and innovators across 12 European countries and Canada. The initiative also celebrates achievements and promotes visibility through its Inspiration Awards, which has to date recognised 21 outstanding contributions of individuals for their impact within the music industry. 

Keychange Manifesto 2.0

Keychange Manifesto 2.0 will be unveiled at Tallinn Music Week, Estonia (April 4-5), before its presentation to all partner festivals and the European Commission

“It serves as an invitation to imagine a better future that prioritises both humanity and the planet, providing a guiding framework to a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable industry,” said a statement.

The Keychange Manifesto embodies core values including advocating for better working conditions, care, education, intersectional representation and safer spaces. 

Looking ahead, the manifesto outlines a 10-point call to action aimed at legislators, policy makers and all sectors of the music industry, including live events, recording, publishing, sync and broadcasting. 

What originally started as an idea for increasing gender-diversity in the music industry has now become a large movement striving for change and equity within the music ecosystem

Christina Hazboun

“From creating safer spaces to tackling the gender pay gap, promoting intersectional representation, and advocating for education and awareness, these recommendations underscore the urgent need for collective action,” stated the organisation. “By implementing the politics of care, conducting research, and prioritising inclusive language and communication, we can shape a future where all voices are heard and valued.”  

Christina Hazboun, Keychange project manager at PRS Foundation, said: “What originally started as an idea for increasing gender-diversity in the music industry has now become a large movement of women and gender-diverse artists and innovators striving for change and equity within the music ecosystem. We are now really pleased to share the culmination of our activities and work from the past five years via two key documents: Manifesto 2.0 and the Impact Evaluation Report. We hope that both of them will serve the wider music community to achieve a more diverse, inclusive and equitable music industry for all and that the learnings that we acquired are shared with everyone who would like to find out more about how we ran this project.” 

Helen Slidna, founder and managing director at Tallinn Music Week, said: ‘‘We had realised that gender equity can only be tackled at a broader international initiative. And Keychange was exactly that.”

Alexandra Archetti Stølen, festival director/CEO at Oslo World, said: “For Oslo World, working for the greatest possible diversity, whether we are talking about gender, genre or origin, is at the heart of the festival. Our job is in many ways to level out this landscape, and in that way expand what both the audience and artists think is possible. In the long run, increased diversity on stage and off stage is an investment in a larger, more varied audience, workforce and in a larger supply of interesting artists. Through the Keychange project Oslo World has been highly engaged, both in our own work, but also in meeting with several partners, in systematically transforming the future of the music industry. 

“Oslo World has had a crucial role in developing the strong ambitions of Keychange 2.0 where the aim has been to apply several forms of representation – both gender, sexuality and place of origin and a stronger emphasis on a large scale underrepresented voices. Our engagement in Keychange has been very fruitful and also a great reminder that we still have a long way to go before our industry is equal. We are very excited to embark on the next phase of a potential Keychange 3.0 in the future.” 

African-Parisian artist Poundo described the positive impact of the talent programme: “I feel like Keychange really takes care in trying to get to know the artists or the innovators and find people that really believe in the project, but also want to make a change in the industry. Right now, I'm talking with South Africa, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, and even the US, because they saw me at [that] festival. Now I have a label, a new booking agent, a publisher and a distributor that I'm going to sign with right now.

“Keychange has helped me answer questions and meet people that were part of the programme that were specialised in publishing and distribution. So it's all that system that helped, in a way, my development.”

The Keychange Impact Evaluation Report and Manifesto 2.0 will be available for download starting Friday, April 5, 2024, following Tallinn Music Week in Estonia.


For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to receive our daily Morning Briefing newsletter

subscribe link free-trial link

follow us...