Study finds ethnic diversity in music industry has dropped since 2020

The number of women working in the industry has grown in that time, however, rising from 49.6 per cent to 52.9 per cent

A new study into diversity has revealed a decrease in the number of BAME people working within the music industry since 2020.

UK Music shared the results of the study today, reporting that overall, just over one fifth (21.04 per cent) of individuals working in the music industry identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic, down from 22.3 per cent two years ago. Entry-level positions also saw a fall from 34.6 per cent to 23.6 per cent, and from 19.9 per cent to 18.3 per cent at a senior level.

The report suggests that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the figures, particularly attributed to cuts made following its economic impact.

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“Our 2022 survey shows how those from Black, Asian and other diverse communities have been hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19,” UK Music Diversity Taskforce chair Ammo Talwar said in a statement.

“The drop in the percentage of employees in several sectors of the industry is further evidence of why we must not take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to driving positive changes on diversity and inclusion as swiftly as we can.”

The number of women working in the industry has grown in that time, however, rising from 49.6 per cent to 52.9 per cent. The study also found that 14.9 per cent of the industry reported having a disability, up from 12.2 per cent in 2020, adding that this could be due to a rise in people with disabilities working in music or that “a greater number of individuals are [now] comfortable disclosing their condition”.

Despite the uptick, two-thirds of those who reported having a disability said they felt they had to compromise their health for work.

Metal fan in wheelchair is crowdsurfed at Bloodstock Festival 2018. CREDIT: Getty Images

In response to the findings, the UK Music diversity report has set out a plan to enact change, offering five key focus points: people, policy, partnerships, purchase and progress. The plans follow on from the 2020 report’s 10-step plan.

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Recommendations include developing a safe and inclusive culture for music industry staff, increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups, and publishing data on pay gaps between specific cohorts.

“Boosting inclusion is mission-critical to the future success of our sector,” said Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music chief executive.

“Whether it’s businesses and organisations who need the broadest range of talent to draw on, or individuals who want to forge a successful career in our industry regardless of their background, it’s in all our interests to make sure the music industry is genuinely open and accessible to all.”

In September, The Recording Academy committed to increasing its diversity with the induction of almost 2,000 new members, according to the organisation’s president and CEO.

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