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IMPALA encourages independent businesses to help it assess music sector diversity across Europe

By | Published on Wednesday 2 June 2021


A year on from Blackout Tuesday, the pan-European organisation for the independent music community, IMPALA, has urged independent music businesses to fill out a special survey that will help both the organisation and the community to get a better picture of the sector’s diversity across Europe. Meanwhile, the UK’s Association Of Independent Music has published an audit of its own record in terms of “equity, diversity and inclusion”, summarising relevant initiatives and achievements from the last twelve months, and summarising its policies and future objectives.

Blackout Tuesday, of course, was a response within the music community to the murder, by a police officer, of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020. As Floyd’s death sparked outrage and a new round of Black Lives Matter protests across the world, music companies and organisations paused their operations for 24 hours as part of an initiative instigated by US music industry execs Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang.

Although different companies and organisations approached Blackout Tuesday in different ways, people were encouraged to disconnect from digital channels and reflect on what active steps the music community could take to address prejudice and inequities, both within the music industry itself and beyond.

In their original call to action ahead of 1 Jun 2020, Thomas and Agyemang wrote: “The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry that has profited predominantly from black art. Our mission is to hold the industry at large – including major corporations and their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and success of black people – accountable. To that end it is the obligation of these entities to protect and empower the black communities that have made them disproportionally wealthy in ways that are measurable and transparent”.

An assortment of new industry initiatives were launched in the wake of Blackout Tuesday, each of which set out to tackle prejudice and inequities in one way or another, although everyone knows that there is as yet much more to be done. However, achieving progress does, in part, require better understanding the specific challenges in each part of the industry, and sharing ideas and experience across the community.

Hence IMPALA’s diversity and inclusion survey. It said this morning: “For the first anniversary of Blackout Tuesday, IMPALA has called on independent businesses to help build a picture of the sector’s diversity across Europe and map best practices for the future. With Europe made up of so many different countries, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and one of IMPALA’s early commitments was to map and exchange best practices across the whole of Europe. With IMPALA’s membership making up 30 countries already, this mapping exercise is essential”.

IMPALA also offers independent music companies other resources to help them become more inclusive businesses, including offering diversity training courses, the next of which will take place on 28 Sep. The organisation has also summarised its own work on diversity and inclusivity over the last year, and its objectives for the year ahed.

In its Equity, Diversity And Inclusion Audit, AIM benchmarks its progress in relation to diversity objectives set out by various other organisations it is allied to or supports, including IMPALA, UK Music, the Black Music Coalition and the PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative.

Commenting on the audit, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico says: “AIM must work towards embodied solidarity with the people and causes we feel are under-represented in our industry and society. We have done some good work to date, but there is much more to achieve. We are fully committed and energised to build on the foundations now in place to help be a positive agent of change for a better, fairer and more inclusive music sector”.