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STUDY: RACISM RAMPANT IN U.K. BIZ

Black artists and executives are experiencing systemic racism in the U.K. music industry, according to the first Black Lives in Music study. 

Taken from surveys with more than 1.7k participants, the findings show that 88% of Black music professionals agree that there are barriers to advancement, while 63% of Black music creators and 73% of professionals have been subjected to racism. The study also reports that racial microaggressions have been experienced by 71% of Black artists and 80% of professionals.

There’s a racial pay gap, too: White music-industry professionals earned more than Black professionals for their work (pre-pandemic, £2,459 vs £1,964 per month), and white music creators earned more than Black creators for their work (£1,454 vs £1,155 per month).

Nearly four out of five Black women and 70% of Black men said they were dissatisfied by how the music industry supports Black professionals. Almost three quarters (74%) of creators are dissatisfied.

Anecdotal evidence throughout the study touch on repeated use of the N-word, jokes about skin color, persistent questioning about origin, support for white artists with “urban” appeal at the expense of Black artists, lack of representation at labels, pigeonholing and racial appropriation.

“The disparities Black creators and industry professionals face is rooted in tradition and systemic racism,” Charisse Beaumont, Chief Executive of Black Lives in Music, said. “The data clearly shows that change is needed across the entire music ecosystem, from grassroots education to record labels. I hope industry leaders read this report and hear the voice of those who spoke out. I hope this report invokes change in the way we do our music business, which has greatly profited from Black talent."

The BLIM Survey makes several recommendations to address these issues and emphasizes collaboration as key to addressing imbalances. The recommendations include: 

  • Transparency around the gender and ethnic pay gap
  • Training to increase diversity in middle and senior management in music organizations
  • Investment in grassroots music education
  • The creation of an anti-racism service to support creators and professionals, with a helpline available to Black creators and professionals who experience racism in the music industry, which would also provide referral and in-depth therapeutic support

 

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