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Warner and Live Nation top the gender pay gap list in music

By | Published on Thursday 5 April 2018

Warner Music

Warner Music and Live Nation have the UK music industry’s worst gender pay gaps, new figures reveal. On average, both companies pay female employees almost half what they pay men.

New regulations announced by the UK government last year now require all companies with more than 250 employees (in their UK subsidiaries in the case of global firms) to report the pay disparity between genders among their UK-based workforces.

The mean hourly rate for women working at Warner Music UK – ie measuring the average hourly rate across the entire organisation – is 49% lower than for men. At Live Nation UK it is 46%. Put in perspective, the BBC said earlier this year that its 10.7% gender pay gap was something it needed to “resolve swiftly”.

Both music companies say that their respective high gender pay gaps are in part down to having fewer women in leadership roles – something they say they are committed to addressing. Measuring the median rate – ie ranking all employees from the highest paid to the lowest paid, and taking the hourly wage of the person in the middle – the disparity drops to 21% for Warner and 31% for Live Nation. The national average is 18.4%.

In her report for the company, Warner Music’s EVP Human Resources Masha Osherova said: “Rectifying this trend is an urgent priority. We continue to look forensically across our entire company, from many different perspectives, to activate the right diversity and inclusion strategies and to ensure mindful action is happening every day. Meaningful and sustained change will take time, serious investment and consistent focus. We’re committed to making the right changes and working towards closing this gap”.

Live Nation’s one page report lists four examples of initiatives it is already adopting in order to close its gap. It could perhaps look at another of its own companies, the Academy Music Group, which is faring better. Although its mean rate is 24% less for women than men, its median rate is 1%.

The live giant’s main rival, AEG, reported a 43.3% mean rate in favour of men, although the company says in its report that it is “confident that women and men are paid equally for doing equivalent jobs across the company”.

The reports also look at how many women earn bonuses compared to men, and how much those bonuses are worth. In the case of both Warner and Live Nation, similar numbers of men and women do earn bonuses, although women are getting as much as 88% less than men at Live Nation and 82% at Warner.

Of the other major labels, Sony Music comes out best with a still not very good mean rate of 22.7% and bonuses 45% lower for women. At Universal, women are paid on average 29.8% less than men, with 49.2% lower bonuses.

The UK’s collecting societies PRS For Music and PPL both come out with very different gender pay gaps. At PRS For Music, women were found to earn 17.2% less than men, with bonuses 68.8% lower. Meanwhile, at PPL, the gap is 6.6%, with bonuses 36.5% lower. Measured at the median rate, PPL was found to be paying women 4.3% more than men, making it the only music company we could find with a pay gap in favour of women at any metric.

Here are the published reports from each of the companies we looked at:

Music Rights

Kobalt Music Group – 19.7%
PPL – 6.6%
PRS For Music – 17.2%
Sony Music – 22.7%
Universal Music – 29.8%
Warner Music – 49%

Live Music

Academy Music Group – 24%
AEG – 43%
DHP Family – 13.7%
Live Nation – 46%
SMG – 12%

Distribution & Retail

Amazon – 6.1%
HMV – 11.9%
Proper Music Distribution – 29%

Music Media Owners

Bauer Media – 13.6%
BBC – 10.7%
BBC Worldwide – 18.9%
Global Radio – 34.5%
Future Publishing – 4.3%
Time Inc – 16%

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