UK Music’s ten-point plan to boost diversity

UK Music diversity report 2020

National industry association UK Music has published a detailed report showing notable improvements in diversity across the music industry but says there is still a long way to go.

The UK Music Diversity Report was informed by the 2020 Workforce Diversity Survey. This is a continuation of a monitoring project that UK Music launched in 2016 to track progress in diversity and inclusion in the UK’s music industry.

The results for the last year are encouraging:

  • Representation of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities between the ages of 16 and 24 is up over four percent since 2018 at 30.6 percent
  • The proportion of women has increased from 45.3 percent in 2016 to 49.6 percent this year
  • The number of Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities at entry-level rising from 23.2 percent to 34.6 percent in two years

However, the number of women in the 45-64 age group dropped from 38.7 percent to 35 percent in the last two years and although Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities at executive level rose two percent to 19.9 percent in two years, that is still below the national population balance.

The improvements are heartening, but UK Music says there are still major steps to take and so it is launching a ten-point plan to address remaining issues. The points are:

  • Urban classification is to be replaced in all reports and communications, either by genre such as Soul or Rap. UK Music members will commit to support those who wish to use the term ‘black music’. Members are to stop using the acronym BAME and instead use Black, Asian or ethnic minority background rather than acronym
  • UK Music members will compile a database of persons accountable & responsible for diversity across organisation
  • UK Music members will commit and spend an allocated amount of their annual recruitment budget to ensure a diverse candidate pool
  • UK Music members will allocate a certain amount of their annual training budget to a 12-month diversity Continuing Professional Development / training programme to ensure fair career opportunities for all
  • UK Music members will allocate budget and implement a programme to increase diverse representation in middle and senior management
  • UK Music members will help UK Music implement better transparency around gender and ethnic pay gaps and move towards lower reporting rate of 50+ employees
  • Each UK Music member will identify a socially engaged organisation whose work relates to gender or race whom they can invest in on a long-term basis
  • Each UK Music member will develop diversity policies and internally set diversity targets for core staff. Targets will be published & reported to UK Music and updated annually in order to assess progress. Member bodies will promote diversity and inclusion to partners and stakeholders, ensuring industry standards are met
  • UK Music members will amplify their work with the UK Music Diversity Taskforce to increase the response rate and ultimately the data collected in the Biennial UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey with both their own employees and membership. The aim is to have 80% of core staff respond to the next survey
  • Each UK Music member will work towards increasing diversity on its executive bodies and boards, aiming for 30% diverse (race) and 50% (gender). Progress towards these goals is to be reported to UK Music as part of annual progress audit

The Ten-Point Plan was devised following widespread consultation by members of the UK Music Taskforce, led by its chair Ammo Talware MBE and Deputy Chair Paulette Long OBE, with stakeholders right across the music industry, as well as an analysis of the survey data.  A series of focus groups were also held to gauge opinion. In total, a record 3,670 people took part in the survey this year.

Ammo Talwar commented, ‘Against a backdrop of global change the Diversity Taskforce has been carefully listening, challenging and working behind the scenes to help shape a transformational and game-changing Ten-Point Plan.

‘This plan is data driven, evidence based with metrics and lived experience. It’s the accumulation of nine months’ work across the whole music industry to support yet hold the industry to account.

‘No tokenistic statements, no short-term wins but a truly collaborative long term plan that reboots the sector and ensures diversity is front and centre of all major decisions.’

The new UK Music Chief Executive, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin added, ‘This report consists of a frank and candid analysis of the current situation our industry faces, and a bold and ambitious Ten-Point Plan for how to achieve the positive change we all want to see. It’s relevant not just to the music industry, but to organisations everywhere.

‘If our music industry is to tell the story of modern-day Britain, then it needs to look like modern-day Britain too. This ground-breaking report is an important step towards achieving that.’

A leading campaigner for inclusivity and diversity in music, Matt Griffiths, Chief Executive at Youth Music, welcomed the finding but said there was no room for complacency.

‘It’s certainly promising to see but, more work is needed to smash barriers and ensure the industry is truly inclusive.

‘As we enter a new and uncharted era following significant world events, there’s a real opportunity to use everything 2020 has thrown at us to build a fairer and more diverse music industry that works for everyone. Because at the moment, we’re still not there.

‘Music is a force for inclusion and the industry has, time and time again, reinvented itself for the better. By working together now, collectively, we can create the change that’s needed and ensure the very best future for the UK’s beloved music scene.’

The Vice Chair of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, Paulette Long MBE, agreed. ‘It’s good to see industry organisations review and reset imbalances on their boards, but I am still wary of ‘knee-jerk’ reactions and want to task industry gatekeepers to look towards making long-lasting systemic changes. Let us resolve never to turn back.’


The complete report can be downloaded here.

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