Feb 1, 2024 4 min read

Seat At The Table report on diversity in industry organisations showcases "a powerful signal of the progress and change"

The latest ‘Seat At The Table’ report has been published by Women In CTRL, tracking diversity within the UK music industry’s trade organisations - 52% of board members at those organisations are now women

Seat At The Table report on diversity in industry organisations showcases "a powerful signal of the progress and change"
Front row L-R: Eve Horne (Executive Director, MPG), Ruth Barlow (Chair of AIM), Jo Twist (CEO, BPI), Naomi Pohl (General Secretary, MU), MJ Olaore (COO, BPI), Christine Geissmar (COO, PPL)2nd Row L-R: YolanDa Brown OBE DL (Chair, BPI), Suzanne Hughes (Chief People Officer, PRS), Nina Radejewski (Head of Membership, AIM), Mika Sellens (Executive Director, MPG), Kate Reilly (Chief of Membership & People Office, PPL), Jackie Davidson MBE (PPL Board), Annabella Coldrick (CEO, MMF), Eunice Obianagha (Head of Diversity, UK Music), AndI Hopgood (Vice Chair, MU), Sophie Jones (Chief Strategy Officer, BPI)Back Row L-R: Natalie Wade (Director of Music Industry, PPL), Janeace Thompson (Director of Talent, Culture and Experience ,PRS), Paul Bonham (Director, MMF), Roxanne De Bastion (FAC Board, Artist), Kelli-Leigh (Artist/ FAC Board), Billie Morton Riley (Membership, FAC), Nadia Khan (Founder & CEO, Women in CTRL), Jess Kangalee (Community, Women in CTRL)

Women now make up 52% of board members at the music industry organisations that are part of UK Music, which is an increase from 32% in 2020. This is confirmed in the latest 'Seat At The Table' report produced by Women In CTRL, which has been tracking and championing diversity within the UK music sector’s trade bodies for a number of years. 

“Surpassing the 50% representation milestone in the boardroom is a powerful signal of the progress and change resulting from the music industry's recent commitments to inclusivity and diversity", says Women In CTRL Founder Nadia Khan. "It demonstrates that concerted efforts lead to tangible change, and I'm proud of the progress we've collectively achieved".

The report tracks the boards and senior leadership teams at industry organisations AIM, BPI, FAC, Ivors Academy, MMF, MPA, MPG and MU, as well as collecting societies PPL and PRS. Given these organisations represent the interests of people working across the music industry, it’s important they involve a diverse mix of people at board level, so that a wide range of experiences are considered and voices heard when decisions are made. 

All the UK Music organisations have been working in recent years to boost diversity at the top. Things like the ‘Seat At The Table’ report put a real focus on those efforts. 

Currently, the AIM board has the most women, at 71%. And more than half of the UK Music bodies have boards made up of 50% or more women or non-binary people. Meanwhile, 45% of the organisations have a female CEO, up from 20% in 2021 and 2020. The boards are then headed up by a Chair, 27% of which are women, up from 9% in 2021 and 0% in 2020. 

The report also reviews how many women from a global majority background are involved in running the trade bodies, that being defined as "individuals falling under the following categories: black, Asian, mixed/dual heritage or other ethnic groups". 16% of board members - and 18% of Chairs - across the organisations are women from a global majority background. In terms of board membership, that is an increase from 3% in 2020 and 7% in 2021. 

Many of the women involved in running the trade organisations - both as board members and in senior executive positions - are interviewed in the report about their experiences, the trends they have seen in recent years, and the challenges that remain. 

That includes Paulette Long, Chair of the Music Publishers Association. “Navigating the industry can sometimes feel quite daunting”, she says. “The ‘Seat At The Table’ initiative was especially relevant for me because it looked at the intersection of gender and race, noting that being a black woman meant you were often overlooked. Now, with conversations that are no longer defensive and closed off, but rather more open and receptive I can see we are on the way to reaching a genuine turning point”.

“My personal approach to being a part of this change has always been to just keep moving”, she goes on. “To keep putting one foot in front of the other, be persistent, consistent, and kind. Then, when you look back, you’ll be surprised how far you’ve come. Once you reach the top table, make it count, and keep your eye on the ball so that we don’t slip back”.

There is also an interview with Naomi Pohl, who became the first woman to be elected General Secretary of the Musicians' Union in 2022. “When I was elected General Secretary, I was supported by many musicians who haven't felt represented by the union in the past”, she says. “I promised change and I am determined to deliver that change”.

“We acknowledge that we are not where we want to be in terms of diversity on our committees or in the MU's senior management”, she goes on. “We are working to ensure that the MU’s Executive Committee reflects the growing diversity of our membership, for example, and we plan to change our rules to ensure that can happen. I’ll be working with our underrepresented members to ensure that our election processes are equitable and free from barriers. The MU is here for all musicians and we must represent them equally”. 

On the motivation behind the 'Seat At The Table' study, Khan continues: "Through this report, we wanted to celebrate the industry leaders and organisations that have been instrumental in driving this progress, spotlighting inspiring women leaders as well as celebrating male advocates who play a vital role in this progress".

"However, our work is far from over", she adds. "The call to action in this report echoes loudly – succession planning remains pivotal for our industry's sustained success. Fostering inclusivity at the leadership level not only safeguards progress but also lays the foundation for a future that authentically mirrors the rich diversity of the music industry". 

You can download the full report at the link below 👇

Seat at the Table 2024 Report - Women in CTRL
DOWNLOAD the 2024 report NOW Click here
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