"There needs to be a lot more females in the top tier": Annie Mac, Emily Eavis and more on why diversity and equality matter

In the new edition of Music Week, we asked top names in the biz – from Lyor Cohen, Dua Lipa and Nile Rodgers to Max Lousada  and JAE5 – one massive question: What’s the one change you would like to make to the music industry?

A host of issues were raised, from the importance of mental health to musicians’ rights and some much-needed areas to address in the live sector. But two subjects in particular were most frequently cited as in dire need of change: diversity and equality.

Here we round-up just some of the arguments put forward…

“Equality is still lacking. The thing I spoke about in my Music Week interview [in January] still stands: there needs to be a lot more females in the top tier, female managers, female record label owners. You get a lot of female agents and PR people, but I want to see females running and owning labels and publishing companies. When that starts that will make me feel like it’s getting a bit more even.”
Annie Mac (DJ/presenter, BBC Radio 1; founder, AMP) 

“Gender equality. We’re working on it every day. Every booking [Glastonbury] make is conscious; we’re trying to address the imbalance. We’ve got a way to go, there are areas of the festival that have 50/50 [gender representation], like The Park last year, but The Pyramid obviously isn’t and we’re working on it. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, there are a lot of old guys in the music industry; unfortunately it’s not been a topic which people have been conscious of. It’s not necessarily purposeful, it’s just that it hasn’t ever been top of the agenda like it is now. I keep saying to some of our older bookers who have been doing it for 30 years, ‘Come on guys, you need to engage with this’. It’s just a new idea for a lot of them. They say, ‘Oh, I’ve never really thought about that’.”
Emily Eavis (organiser, Glastonbury Festival)

“In terms of gender and ethnicity, that’s a big issue and the music industry has still got a long way to go on that front. I’ve been in the industry a long time, but it feels like it’s actually getting to a point now where it’s starting to be addressed, which is a good thing and I think we’ll play our part in that.”
Derek Allen (SVP, commercial, Warner Music UK)

“I think we all realise that [there is a need] culturally, morally and commercially in having more of a diverse workforce, both from a gender and race [perspective]. We want to have dynamic companies and I think we can all see that potentially some of the music companies have become quite stale. So it’s our collective responsibility to try and push that agenda.”
Max Lousada (CEO, recorded music, Warner Music Group and chairman/CEO, Warner Music UK)

“I always love to see more females in the industry, I feel like it is an industry that’s been dominated by men. And it would be nice to see more female artists.”
Dua Lipa

“The one thing I would change about the industry would be the accessibility for new talent to work in the industry. I started on the amazing intern programme at Sony in 2014 which is still running and the success I’ve been able to achieve from that opportunity has been invaluable. Reaching out to new talent, encompassing of people from different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and sexualities is only a positive for the industry, equipping new talent with real life skills for this business. Having a diverse team on a project reflective of the different audiences you are marketing to allows a special insight into the behaviour of consumers and therefore builds a more effective, valuable and authentic campaign. The root of that is accessibility, opening up the industry wider at junior levels to find people in different talent pools and empowering young execs already getting their foot in the door. We must be reflective of audiences and the artists. That is the one thing I am focussed on changing the industry for the better.”
Parris O’Loughlin-Hoste, (Urban Promotions Manager, Sony)

Subscribers can check out the piece in full by clicking here and here. Keep your eyes on musicweek.com throughout the week for more from the feature.

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