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News June 15, 2018

New academic research to investigate level of harassment in Australian, NZ, music industries

New academic research to investigate level of harassment in Australian, NZ, music industries

New research is being conducted to determine the level of harassment in the Australian and New Zealand music industries.

The Music Industry Harassment Research report is being conducted by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) PhD candidate Jeff Crabtree.

He says that despite the publicity and moves within the music industry to step up to the plate, there is still no independent academic research to measure the extent of the problem and provide the credible basis for informed decision making and policy making.

Previously, 400 people in the local music industry have complained of harassment, and Tina Arena earlier this week stated on ABC-TV there should be a royal commission on the problem.

Says Crabtree: “The music business is wonderful and amazing and yet somehow still functions like the wild west.

“After 30 years of involvement in the industry, I felt like I just had to do something.”

Crabtree, in fact, had started work on the project before the #metoo movement kicked off a global phenomenon.

He is asking for input from people in all sectors of the music industry in both countries.

“We are careful to protect everyone who participates. We make it impossible for anyone to trace back and identify who said what,” he says. 

“What people have experienced is hurtful and distressing, so they need safety to do that, but getting this stuff on the record is what we all need to make real change.

“Governments have to act on hard scientific data.”

To participate in the survey, go to www.musicharassmentresearch.org.

You can also register for a confidential interview that will help build an in-depth picture of how things are.

A BBC documentary which screened in December 2017 found that sexual abuse and harassment is “endemic” in the music industry, with “dangerous men” abusing their power.

Many of them fitted the abuse pattern: younger women entering the industry and unable to know how to react when older men began to mentally and physically abuse them, and threatening to destroy their careers.

Many admitted they began to have suicidal thoughts.

One young singer who started in the industry at the age of 16 and who had been harassed called herself “one of the lucky ones”.

She explained, “I know girls who’ve been raped, and it’s always a man in power and a girl on the rise who needs as much support as possible, whose career hasn’t started yet.

“I know that there are men who are getting away with it. They are given this untouchable power.”

A new UK campaign to stop sexual harassment, assault and discrimination was called Stop2018.

At this year’s South By Southwest, a panel called Sexual Misconduct in the Music Industry admitted that #metoo had not effectively hit the music industry as yet.

It was also agreed that while the music industry had certainly called out major executives, it didn’t have the sort of Harvey Weinstein figure to galvanize mass action.

Andrea Domanick, an editor of Noisey which published an article on the experiences of a wide number of women in the music sector, posed the question to the audience, “Where does sexual liberation and expression end and where does misconduct begin?”

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