News December 21, 2018

UK music biz study shows greater diversity as further Brexit backlash looms

Staff Writer
UK music biz study shows greater diversity as further Brexit backlash looms

The UK music industry had much to celebrate after a new study through trade umbrella group UK Music showed it was growing in diversity.

Its key findings were:

  • BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) representation in the UK music industry was up from 15.6% in 2016 to 17.8% in 2018
  • Proportion of women in the music industry rose from 45.3% in 2016 to 49.1% in 2018
  • BAME representation among young workers (aged 16 to 24) rose from 20.2% in 2016 to 25.9% in 2018
  • Percentage of young women (aged 16 to 24) in the industry was up from 54.6% in 2016 to 65.3% in 2018
  • BAME representation rose among interns and apprentices from 24.4% in 2016 to 35.2% in 2018
  • BAME representation increased among senior managers from 11.4% in 2016 to 18.8% in 2018

Data was collected from 3,000 artists, songwriters, composers, musicians, studio producers, music managers, and reps from music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing and live music.

There was more work to be done, UK Music admitted, noting that there is a lower representation of females aged 35 and above compared to younger age groups.

BAME representation among workers aged 45 to 65 increased from 10% to 11.4% of the workforce.

But the figure is still below the 12.8% BAME total representation for the UK population as a whole.

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said that while the British scene was doing well in terms of sales, “I want us to be equally proud of our diversity as an industry.

“Just imagine how much more successful our industry could be in the future, if we could only deepen the well from which we draw our talent?”

You can view the full report here.

Dugher had another problem to contend with.

He dismissed a post-Brexit White Paper from the government to limit immigration, which he warned could “pull the rug from under Britain’s world-leading music industry”.

One proposal was that there be a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 (AU$53,406) for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas.

Dugher said retaliation from the European Union could mean red tape and extra costs for British talent that needed to cross EU borders.

“The UK music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the economy, with live music alone contributing around £1 billion,” he pointed out.

“As we’ve made repeatedly clear, a crude salaries and skills approach to freedom to work post-Brexit just doesn’t work for so many artists and musicians.

“We risk limiting the ability for European musicians to play in our world-leading festivals, venues and studios.

“If this approach is reciprocated by the EU and there is no visa waiver in place, we risk making it very hard, if not impossible, for so many UK artists to tour in EU.

“This is how they build an audience and frankly make any kind of living from music.”

Earlier this year, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) also warned that a “strong” agreement with the EU is needed to ensure that Britain’s exit would not adversely impact the finances of music imports.

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