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New ad campaign calls for more diversity at music industry awards and conferences

By | Published on Wednesday 19 September 2018


A series of adverts will appear in the music industry trade press in the coming weeks calling for music business events – including conferences and award shows – to do a better job of ensuring that they feature and celebrate a diverse mix of music people.

The campaign was instigated after the nominations were published for this year’s Live UK Awards, in which the shortlists for a number of key categories – including agent, manager and independent promoter of the year – featured very few, if any, female nominees, despite there being hundreds of women working in these roles in the UK.

Organisers of the event subsequently acknowledged the “lamentable gender imbalance” in the shortlists, which are voted for by the readers of the Live UK magazine, and said that it would “work towards a more diverse result next year”.

Ensuring that anyone who might vote next year is definitely aware of the many, many, many women successfully pursuing careers as agents, managers and promoters, the #WomenInMusic ads being run this month feature or link to crowdsourced lists of some of the female agents, managers and promoters working in the UK industry today.

The ad campaign has been put together by Sammy Andrews, founder and CEO of Deviate Digital, who previously compiled a database of female music industry executives who were happy to speak at music conferences, part of the push in the UK industry to ensure such events have much more diverse line-ups. Both campaigns also seek to ensure conferences and awards do a better job of representing BAME and LGBT people working in music.

The print ads being placed by the campaign state: “We believe it is the responsibility of every music industry conference, awards show and every trade publication to truly reflect and celebrate the increasing diversity in our industry. Time and time again incredible women are left out of nominations, not to mention successful BAME and LGBT people, and it’s time this changed”.

It goes on: “We call on and offer our support to all music industry conferences and awards to ensure they have a diverse and representative selection process in the future. As a sign of appreciation, recognition, gratitude and respect we list here just some of the amazing UK managers, co-managers, agents and promoters working in our industry that could and should have been nominated for such awards and hope you will join us in celebrating them and recognising them and their achievements going forward”.

Those lists can also be accessed online here or by clicking on online versions of the ad, like the one featuring in today’s CMU Daily.

Commenting on this latest initiative, Andrews says: “I would first of all like to thank the hundreds of people that collectively made this possible. These ads were funded by a combination of my own money and crowdfunding, along with donated ad space, and every name here was crowdsourced when I put a call out to the industry to name some of the amazing women they work with. The response was incredible and I received over 800 messages and emails backing the initiative from major label MDs and CEOs to artists, managers and beyond”.

She adds: “Clearly this is an issue that many people believe needs addressing and, to some degree, I am delighted to say that this action has already worked as the awards in question have publicly pledged to do better next year. But I hope these ads will serve more widely as a reminder of just how many amazing women we have in the music business as well as a reminder of what transformative change can be achieved when people work together for the greater good”.