UK trade bodies sign up to Keychange gender equality pledge

UK trade bodies sign up to Keychange gender equality pledge

UK trade bodies have signed the Keychange gender equality pledge towards achieving 50% board representation of women and under-represented genders. 

The organisations are: PRS for Music, The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the Ivors Academy, FAC, AIM, MMF, the Musicians' Union and the Music Publishers Association (MPA). This commitment follows the Women In CTRL report on music trade bodies, which further highlighted the lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the industry.  

Andrea C Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, said: “PRS for Music is proud to sign the Keychange pledge in a positive step towards rebalancing the scales of gender equality on our Members’ Council. As an organisation, we look to reflect the broad diversity of our members at every level, and we are committed to investing in meaningful and long lasting change through the PRS Foundation and their impactful talent development programmes. We welcome all new signatories of the pledge, alongside the new ambassadors who will help to spread word of the vital work that Keychange achieves across the global music industry.”

Over 350 organisations and companies have now signed the Keychange pledge since its launch in 2017. 

Twenty-five new UK signatories include ATC Live, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Girls I Rate, Gorwelion Horizons, Boudica, Bido Lito!, BLOC+, Runway Artists, Future Yard, Last Night From Glasgow, Score Draw Music, Off The Record, Baltic Creative, Generator, Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA), Sound City Ipswich, Suffering Fools Records, Uproar Ensemble and Brighter Sound. AIM, the Ivors Academy and the MU have all previously made pledges for gender equality in their work.  

Alex Bruford, partner, ATC, said: “Despite all the challenges that 2020 has brought, at ATC Live we are determined to remain focused on doing what we can to achieve equality and diversity in our industry. As part of this process we are signing up to the Keychange initiative and will work towards ensuring new additions to our roster and staff include 50% women and underrepresented genders. Every year the important conversation around the balance of festival bills and equality on our stages and across our industry resurfaces. We understand that the festivals can’t book the acts if the agents don’t represent them, so we are committing to playing our part in the process of achieving real change.”

Furthermore, in collaboration with lead UK partner Sound City, venues from Liverpool are committing to change, including new 350-capacity venue Future Yard. The venue was founded to instigate positive change in the industry and leverage music as a force for good within the local community.

Recognising that women and underrepresented groups will be disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, PRS Foundation have extended their pledge so that 60% of all music creator grantees will be women, mixed gender groups and gender minority music creators by 2022.  

Joe Frankland, CEO, PRS Foundation, said: “PRS Foundation welcomes the urgent action being taken by the above organisations and companies and urges the rest of the music industry and wider cultural sector to follow their lead to ensure that recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic helps us to build back better. We are presented with a unique opportunity to reset and to ensure that exciting diverse talent and executives from all backgrounds can thrive in the music sector. Rest assured, Keychange will play a big role in pushing for a more inclusive international music industry.”

Keychange has also announced three new ambassadors: songwriter and founder of Girls I Rate, Carla Marie Williams, electronic musician Planningtorock and founding Keychange project manager Jess Partridge.

Carla Marie Williams said it was important to “bridge the gap between the UK and Caribbean diaspora”.

“I’m happy to be an ambassador of Keychange pushing to increase our visibility across the music and creative industries,” she added.

Planningtorock said: “Achieving gender equality in music is so important and what’s also important is how intersectional that equality is. As a queer, non binary artist I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to be a part of Keychange and work together.” 

As campaigners for gender equality in music, Keychange invests in emerging talent with a yearly participation programme, while continuing to encourage festivals, conferences and a growing range of music organisations and institutions to sign a pledge to include at least 50% women and under-represented genders in their programming, staffing and beyond by 2022.

The current list spans 40 countries and over 350 organisations such as the BBC Proms, the Barbican, Blue Dot Festival, Wide Days, Cheltenham Festivals, the Southbank Centre, Focus Wales and more.

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