BMG UK boss Alistair Norbury on the company's diversity plans

BMG UK boss Alistair Norbury on the company's diversity plans

Record companies have responded to the Black Out Tuesday initiative and industry campaigns with a renewed focus on diversity.

The majors have established global funds, while organisations including the Grammys have dropped the use of the term ‘urban’. 

Universal Music UK CEO and chairman David Joseph has told Music Week that “nothing is off the table” as the company works on driving its diversity agenda.

Here, Alistair Norbury, president, repertoire & marketing at BMG UK, opens up about their plans…

What will be the approach and initiatives to diversity going forward? 

“This past two weeks have been a wake-up call for everyone. Like many companies we have had diversity initiatives in place for some time. We have passionate champions for diversity. We believe in diversity. But something like this comes along and you look at the reality. And you have to say, ‘We have got to do more’.”

Are there any immediate measures in place in the UK?

“The key thing is to go beyond the slogans and social media posts and deliver real change. We have committed to practical outcomes all to be delivered in 30 days, including a wholesale review of all historic contracts with black artists.” 

The key thing is to go beyond the slogans and social media posts and deliver real change

Alistair Norbury

What achievements and progress in this area can you build on?

“We are proud of the work we have done on diversity from doubling the number of women in VP positions in the past year to our annual celebration of Black History Month, but we need to escalate and we will.”

How is the UK roster in terms of diversity and is this something that's under review, particularly in terms of race and female representation?

“Musically we have one of the most diverse rosters in. the industry – from KSI, Run The Jewels and Rejjie Snow, Kamille and Jones to Kylie, DMA’s and Aled Jones & Russell Watson in recordings to Mabel, FKA Twigs, Richard Hawley and Roger Waters in publishing. Whether by genre or colour of skin, our roster covers all bases. Music is music.”

The term 'urban' has come under scrutiny, is this something you are looking at?

“We don’t have a specific ‘urban’ department at BMG. The same marketing team works on music across all genres. We have never really used the term. The important thing is to give all music the respect it deserves.”

To read our full report on diversity plans in the industry, subscribers can click here.

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