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CMU@TGE Previews: Building a more diverse music industry

By | Published on Thursday 12 May 2016

What has the music industry ever done for you?

We are now a mere week away from this year’s edition of new music festival The Great Escape which, once again, will feature the CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conference at the heart of its convention programme. Each day in the CMU Daily, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke is previewing the sessions we will present this year – currently those appearing in the strand ‘What Has The Music Industry Ever Done For You?’

Diversity in the music industry, or a lack thereof, has been quite the talking point this last year, as it should be. Though I am still nervous about organising a ‘diversity panel’, not wanting to accidentally stage one of those sessions where everyone angrily agrees there should be more diversity and then goes home thinking they’ve achieved something.

Addressing the diversity problem needs practical solutions – outreach initiatives, better internships, better recruitment processes, high profile ambassadors, and possibly even redefining what certain music job titles represent.

For the last eight years I have been involved in a diversity initiative in the PR industry that is proactively enabling more ethnic diversity in that sector. What I have learned is that achieving a more diverse workforce requires three things: for everyone to stop talking about diversity and actually do something; an acceptance that positive discrimination is sometimes a necessary evil; and for someone to write a cheque.

The good news is that there are a number of initiatives in the music industry practically addressing the sector’s diversity problem, and we’ll be putting the spotlight on some of them as part of our people strand at CMU Insights @ The Great Escape.

Kieron Faller from CI will discuss how he has evolved his company’s recruitment strategy, demonstrating how all music companies can recruit in a way that assures more diversity. Then Katia Isakoff will discuss the Women Produce Music initiative, exploring how our perceptions of what a record producer is can affect who decides to pursue a career in music production. And finally songwriter Carla Marie Williams will discuss her brilliant Girls I Rate programme.

The aim is to both inspire and inform, and present practical ways in which everyone can help foster a more diverse music business.

‘Building a more diverse music industry’ takes place at 10.45am on Friday 20 May as part of the strand ‘What has the music industry ever done for you?’ You can get in with a delegates pass or conference ticket.