'Normal is outdated': Ammo Talwar calls for change as UK Music launches fourth Diversity Survey

'Normal is outdated': Ammo Talwar calls for change as UK Music launches fourth Diversity Survey

UK Music Diversity Taskforce chair Ammo Talwar has called on the music business to support its Diversity Survey, which returned last month.

In a new opinion piece for Music Week, Talwar highlights the changes in the overall industry landscape between the present day and 2016, when the survey was first launched. However, he stresses the need for more support across the business.

Among the findings of last year's edition was the revelation that people who identified as Black or Black British represented 12.6% of the workforce at Entry Level, but only 6.4% at Senior Level, while those who identified as White accounted for 65.4% at Entry Level and 80.1% at Senior Level.

"We are all diverse in some way, which is why we need everyone to contribute," Talwar writes. "We need to hear your voices. It’s not just a box ticking exercise."

Read Ammo Talwar's piece in full below:

UK Music launched its Workforce Diversity Survey back in 2016, driven by its newly formed Diversity Taskforce, led by the formidable Keith Harris.

They say the past is another country; certainly, those were different days. There was no pandemic, no Partygate and no Genshin Impact. Instead, there was the EU referendum, the US elections and Pokémon Go. We lost David Bowie and Prince and have since found the likes of Bugzy Malone and Dua Lipa. 

The focus around diversity in the music industry had been on the performers themselves; this new survey was our first opportunity to really connect with the thousands of people working behind the scenes.

UK Music now has six years of data measuring the music industry's workforce diversity. But what good is it doing us?


The Ten-Point Plan a considered, cohesive approach to strategic action launched in 2020 was only possible by analysis of data trends revealed by the survey. With UK Music's members (including AIM, BPI, FAC, Ivors Academy, MMF, MPA, MPG, Musicians’ Union, PPL and PRS For Music) all behind it, we are helping to shape a newer, better, more equitable and ultimately stronger music industry.

2020 was also the year the pandemic hit and George Floyd was murdered; pausing the industry for Black Out Tuesday and socially distancing us throughout lockdown. Change was and is in the air.

How do I know? As well as being the chair of the Diversity Taskforce, I’m CEO of PUNCH in Birmingham. I see the challenges and changes for equity, diversity and inclusion in my hometown. Artists like Mist, Lady Leshurr, Jaykae and Millionz have amplified the city's contemporary voice, moving the dial so youngsters like Sipho and Indigo Marshall can be heard more easily. Peaky Blinders has brought our swaggering street life to a global audience, pushing aside anyone who had always been ashamed of Brum's history as a working class melting pot. It's also the home to the new and cool creative spaces being shaped by our industry ones to watch, such as Meta’s Sade Omojowo and rising A&R Muna Ruumi.

However, we now need to ensurethat the Ten-Point Plan commitment is consistent and spread throughout the industry – from businesses in live, recorded, publishing, to representatives like managers, lawyers and accountants. We also need this to be the case across the whole of the UK, so we are dare I say the word levelling up.

We are helping to shape a newer, better, more equitable and ultimately stronger music industry

As 2022 rolls on, we almost won Eurovision, ABBA are back, and Knucks is on the verge of stardom and we’ve launched the fourth UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey. 

The survey means we’ll have seven years’ worth of data measuring the music industry workforce diversity. Tracking this information is vital because the more data we collect the clearer patterns emerge and the greater understanding we have of the make-up of the industry  more importantly it shows us where to put energy and resources.

This is why we need everyone to get behind this campaign. We are all diverse in some way, which is why we need everyone to contribute. We need to hear your voices. It’s not just a box ticking exercise – we want to gather qualitative data that gives people a chance to share their stories and lived experiences.

By delving deeper into our industry to gain a greater understanding of the experiences, we will be able to build a better knowledge of the needs of our workforce and how we can make it more inclusive for all, especially those with protected characteristics and from low socioeconomic backgrounds.  

This survey data will help inform the work of the UK Music Diversity Taskforce and UK Music, who will produce a report on the findings of the survey.

Let’s not let the lessons we learned since 2016 about building a better music industry for everyone be sidelined, especially now that life for many has returned to ‘normal’.  Normal is outdated. We want something different. Help us do this by filling out the UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey.

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