News 13 October 2021

Black Lives In Music Survey Reveals Systemic Racism In UK Music Industry

13 October 2021

The largest survey of Black musicians and music industry professionals has highlighted the “disturbing experiences of systemic and institutionalised racism” in the UK Music Industry.

The survey was conducted with Opinium Research and focused on the experiences of Black musicians and professionals in the industry.

Among the findings is that most people who took part have experienced direct or indirect acts of racism working in the music industry. The survey also found Black artists are granted less studio than White artists, and that Black artists are refused event performance opportunities and told to change the type of music they make.

One of the key findings is that 86% of Black music creators agree there are barriers to progression. This number rises to 89% for Black women and 91% for Black creators who are disabled.

The survey also revealed that 88% of Black music professionals agree there are barriers to progression, with 73% experiencing direct/indirect racism and 80% experiencing racial microaggressions.

43% of Black women music creators said they felt the need to change their appearance because of their race/ethnicity. Around the same percentage of Black women (42%) have said their mental wellbeing has worsened since starting their music careers.

Charisse Beaumont, Chief Executive of Black Lives In Music, said such findings highlight “racist cultures and behaviours” in the UK music industry.

“This is a first of its kind report which holds a mirror up to the UK music industry showing what it actually looks like,” Beaumont said. “The disparities Black creators and industry professionals are faced with is rooted in traditionalism and systemic racism.

“The report highlights racist culture and behaviours in the workplace, financial barriers and lack of investment in Black music creators, and industry professionals unable to reach their career goals. The report also spotlights Black women being the most disadvantaged across all areas of the music industry and how all of these factors affect the mental health of Black creators and industry professionals. This is data, you cannot ignore it.

She added: “I hope industry leaders read this report and hear the voice of those who spoke out. I hope this report evokes change in the way we do our music business which has greatly profited from Black talent.”

To read the findings of the survey in full, click here.