Autism, ADHD the music business and me: Andy Edwards on neurodiversity and industry inclusion

This article first appeared in Music Week.

Andy Edwards is a music business executive, director of research for UK Music and an artist advisor and consultant, clients include HMUK and two-time Grammy award winning producer, mixer and engineer Cameron Craig. 

Here, he writes about his experience of autism and ADHD, and calls on the music industry to be more inclusive and supportive of neurodiverse talent…

During the summer of 2019, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which, together with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dyslexia, dyscalculia and a number of other conditions, falls under the umbrella of neurodiversity. The term refers to the variation in cognitive functioning that can lead to differences in how individuals think and act.

Shortly after my diagnosis, Universal Music launched its Creative Differences handbook to help companies in the creative industries better understand neurodiversity and how to attract, retain and promote neurodiverse talent. I went public with my own ADHD experience. Almost two years on, it is worth reflecting on what happened next.

The initial reaction was incredible. Many people reached out to me directly to tell their own stories. A young woman still at university and only recently diagnosed wrote, “now I know I can have a career in the music business”. I choked up when I read that.

At least five people have since told me they sought their own ADHD diagnosis as a result of hearing my story. Some are open about their newly discovered condition, others, understandably, are not. A few of us have begun an informal chat group, we get together every so often over Zoom to share experiences and explore where this might go. More people are welcome to join.

There is a part 2 to my story. In December 2020, I was diagnosed with ASD or, to be more precise, High Functioning Autism (HFA), which is similar to what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Some people still refer to Asperger’s Syndrome even though it is no longer an official diagnostic term. The name thing is evolving and I find it a little confusing. What do I tell people? Do I have Asperger’s or am I autistic? Currently, I am flipping between the two. What is the difference, anyway?  

Classic autism can be very debilitating, often involving severe cognitive and verbal communication impairment. HFA/Asperger’s is a form of autism, under the autism spectrum. The symptoms are broadly the same as classic autism except that cognitive and communication skills are normal, meaning that someone with Asperger’s can think and speak as well as the next person. For this reason, many autistic people, particularly women, go undiagnosed.

Social skills can be a challenge, regardless of where someone sits on the spectrum. Misreading social cues such as facial expressions or sarcasm, avoiding eye contact or unintentionally interrupting someone are examples.

Repetitive behaviours are common. When it comes to clothes, I buy the same Diesel jeans and John Smedley roll neck sweaters over and over again. I had a thing for roll necks long before Steve Jobs made them cool. 

Another autistic trait is absorbing oneself in subjects that hold a strong interest and then sharing that interest in expansive detail with others. You have to remember that not everyone has the same level of interest or attention to detail. The screengrab on my iPhone reads “Less Is More”.

The overarching experience for anyone with autism is that engaging with the world around you is a challenge and many people may not get you in the way that you intend. With classic autism the symptoms are more obvious, but with Asperger’s, where the symptoms are more subtle and easy to mask, very often you are just branded as “weird”. 

For an environment such as the music business, admitting to being autistic carries a lot of risk. This is a world that places a premium on social charm and personal image; to be street smart, cool and popular. Autistic people can be all of these things, but in their own distinctive way, which may not be the norm.

My reason for writing this article was a growing realisation that autism is highly prevalent in music, that it carries significant stigma and is massively misunderstood when it need not be. Like other forms of neurodiversity, autism can be an enriching experience both for people with the condition and those around them. It takes an equal amount of understanding and appreciation on both sides to achieve that enriching experience. Saying things like “everyone is on the spectrum,” is not helpful, mostly because it is wrong. It also diminishes the lived experiences of those who meet the diagnostic criteria.

A common misconception is that people with autism are more likely to be good at science and maths rather than creative disciplines. Elon Musk declared he has Asperger’s on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and while it is a positive thing for a billionaire tech entrepreneur to say this, it did reinforce the “mad scientist” stereotype. The reality is that autism works just as well with a creative mind.

Dan Aykroyd is autistic and so is David Byrne, both of whom appeared on SNL long before Elon Musk. Many creative people including Daryl Hannah, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sara Gibbs, Ladyhawke, Courtney Love and Example are all autistic. Broadcaster Melanie Sykes has revealed her own late-in-life autism diagnosis with a story very similar to my own.

Creativity and autism can be a great match. Getting into a routine and delving deep into a subject that inspires you can help create great work. With an inquisitive mind, you keep pushing the boundaries whether that is writing a novel, directing a movie or making a record.

Autism can give you a rawness, a directness and an authenticity that can help you cut through. You say what other people might only dare think. I once told an iconic rock act, renowned for their perfectionist approach to production and mixing and who had categorically refused to release official bootlegs of their live shows, that “fans just want the recording straight from the mixing desk, warts and all.” 

After the meeting, my colleague joked about the band’s facial contortions as I made my point. Some years later at the press conference announcing their next stadium tour, one of the band told assembled journalists that for the first time every show on the tour would have a live bootleg recording, “straight from the mixing desk, warts and all”. Result.

Getting diagnosed has enabled me to make meaningful improvements to my working life in the music business. There are two take-outs to share about this: the first is improving your own self-awareness, the second is ensuring the world around you adjusts to meet your needs. 

Both of these things must happen because autistic people cannot do this on their own. If the music business is serious about being inclusive then it must do the work too. That is why initiatives such as Universal Music UK’s Creative Differences are so important.

“Creativity and autism can be a great match”

Andy Edwards

Self-awareness enables you to take more control of your own life. Your condition(s) do not define you; your values and purpose do that. Your condition(s) will, invariably, dictate how you do things but you can learn to understand and manage your own process and work with others in a way that flows with that. 

I decided against taking medication for my ADHD (usually Ritalin/ amphetamine type substances), but for many people medication is very helpful. Find what works for you. In my case, a combination of mindfulness, therapy, good diet and regular exercise produced a better version of me. Mindfulness and therapy have been essential ingredients in managing my autism and, crucially, how my autism and ADHD interact. I am more creative and impactful as a result.

Engaging with the world around me has meant being open about who I am and more explicit about what I need from those around me. The individual needs of neurodiverse people vary considerably, so that places more onus on the music industry being more flexible so that we can all do better. This includes challenging preconceptions.

The idea that autistic people are not sociable is simply not true. It just means those of us with autism may have a different process to socialising, which is more cognitive and less intuitive than a neurotypical person. That can mean, for example, consciously remembering not to interrupt someone else while they are talking. It also means neurotypical people appreciating that an autistic person can be incredibly anxious about being misunderstood – because that often happens – so listen and keep an open mind.

I have lived my whole life not knowing I had autism or ADHD and I had to learn through trial and error. Neither condition stopped me from speaking in public, moderating panels and managing a variety of relationships with artists, songwriters, producers and industry executives. An early diagnosis would have helped enormously, but that said my recent diagnoses have made a world of difference. 

Challenge your own preconceptions of what autism is and what autistic people can do. An autistic person can do anything a neurotypical person can do, they just have a different way of going about things. 

As an industry, we must accept each other for who we are and be more flexible and creative in our approach to working together. That means doing things a little differently and sometimes being accountable for mistakes made, but we are strength in numbers and we can all play a part.

ADHD The Music Business And Me

This article first appeared in Music Business Worldwide.

Today (January 17), Universal Music UK launches Creative Differences – an initiative, amongst other things, designed to help ensure that the brightest professional talent with dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, autism and other forms of neurocognitive variation are given a fair chance during company recruitment processes. Here, British music industry veteran, Andy Edwards (pictured), describes his own experiences in the music biz. Edwards, a long-term artist manager, was recently appointed Director of Research and Analysis for London-based umbrella trade org UK Music. He also continues to manage Grammy award winning producer and mixer Cameron Craig.


After spending over twenty-five years in the music business, it was quite a thing for me to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) last year. The psychiatrist told me, “You have had this your entire life.”

Having lived with ADHD for all that time without knowing made for a pretty emotional moment.

Getting diagnosed in the UK is a lengthy process and resources are severely limited. Over twelve months ago, I went to see my GP and was referred for a psychiatric assessment. After a lot of showbiz-style hustling, I managed to get an appointment in early June.

While waiting for my diagnosis, which followed a couple of months later, I read with great interest an article in the London Evening Standard, Universal Music CEO David Joseph: Why I’m standing up for difference.


David was speaking about neurodiversity, the umbrella term covering ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Universal Music is supporting significant work to better understand this issue. The music business as a whole should support this too.

It may appear self-evident that in an industry full of “eccentric” people that neurodiversity ought to be understood. But do we truly understand ourselves? How many times do we hear that an individual artist or executive is “difficult” without any qualification of what that actually means? A lot.

We do not, as an industry, understand neurodiversity as well as we should. For the same reason that, for an industry that is mentally and physically demanding, mental health and wellness have only become better understood in recent years. The stigma surrounding this issue is slowly subsiding, but there is a long way to go.

Neurodiversity is the next major social frontier that we in the music business must address. Together with BAME inclusion, gender equality, disability, LGBTQ rights and mental health, doing so will make our industry bigger, better and more effective.


I am still learning the nuances of mental health and neurodiversity and where these concepts differ and intersect. I can tell you that I do not suffer from depression per se, but I do think differently and sometimes I act differently too. D for “Disorder” is rather unhelpful; in reality, D is more about “Difference”.

The easiest way for me to explain ADHD is to share how it has impacted on me.

At school I could write imaginative stories in English classes, yet I would always struggle in exams, as I could not remember the passage I had just read. Maths was easier as I could figure out the logic in an exam, even if I was often bored in class.

It was no coincidence that during my early career in major labels I was referred to as the “numbers guy” (marketing strategy). I could handle the numbers, but I was just as interested in the narrative. Former colleagues from that time who stayed in touch eventually got to know the whole me. I worked really hard, but often tried too hard.

From an early age I assumed I was stupid, but, in fact, I am highly intelligent. I didn’t realize this until I took an IQ test a couple of years ago and scored extremely well.


When I shared this news with a friend of mine, a prominent music lawyer, they just rolled their eyes and said, “Of course you are highly intelligent! This I know!” But I didn’t. I was stunned and this was the light bulb moment that would lead me along the path towards seeking a diagnosis.

Unwittingly, high intelligence has helped mitigate the impact of my ADHD and helped me survive in what can be a very demanding arena.

People with ADHD can be inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive. But we can also be highly creative, hyper-focused (if properly motivated) and brilliant problem solvers. People with ADHD are not stupid, although sometimes we are made to feel that way.

Artists such as Will.I.Am, SZA, Solange Knowles and Justin Timberlake all have ADHD, but so do many executives including including Ari Emmanuel, co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor. Three times Tour de France winner Greg LeMond also has ADHD.


ADHD should not be a barrier to success. In fact, it can be a superpower. Problems occur where there is no diagnosis, so the person concerned does not understand their own potential. Or other people misunderstand and underestimate that person.

Ari Emmanuel’s father, a paediatrician, diagnosed him with ADHD and dyslexia at a young age. His supportive parents were able to confront his unsupportive teachers and, as Ari himself points out, his parents encouraged him to aim high regardless.

My greatest challenge has been not that I have had ADHD my whole life, but not knowing I had it and, crucially, not knowing how to manage it.

Over time I developed my own coping strategies and that process has accelerated over the past few years. For instance, in small group meetings or one-to-one conversations I can talk for England, but when speaking in public I am concise and impactful, even when speaking off the cuff. Accordingly, I try to make mental bullet points before speaking so that the words in my head are delivered with more power.


Greg LeMond was, like me, diagnosed later in life. We both unconsciously mitigated our ADHD through hard aerobic exercise – i.e. cycling really fast. I managed to navigate one company through a precarious financial position with the threat of litigation and insolvency to ensure its survival. ADHD enabled me to hyper-focus, but cycling to and from the office helped me to stay calm and keep on top of the detail.

ADHD can make me impulsive at times, but combined with boldness and sincerity this can work to my advantage. People know where they stand with me.

There have been challenges. During my career, I have been called “an oddball”, “a weirdo”, and told that I “talk like a computer.” Some kind friends advised me not to include that last line, but then other friends who have opened up to me about their own neurodiversity have validated that experience. Plenty of us are seen as “odd” or “weird” by some, because some folks out there, even in the music business, either just don’t get it or are just plain mean or both.

In fairness, these were isolated incidents. For the most part, industry colleagues have been supportive and professional. Neurodiverse or not, we should all support our colleagues and strive to achieve our individual and collective goals. Embracing neurodiverse people who think differently enables the music business adapt to a continually changing creative and commercial landscape.


It starts with awareness. 5% of people globally are estimated to have ADHD. Few are diagnosed. The USA is more progressive, but the UK is way behind.

There is now more awareness and school-aged children who do receive an early diagnosis have better life chances, but adults who grew up in the 70s, 80s and 90s have been missed. They are out there. They are in the music business. They may be called “difficult” or “weird”, over-compensating and not realizing their true greatness, or possibly even sidelined. Wasted talent. Yet there is an opportunity for the music business to take a lead and aim higher. Neurodiversity is deeply personal and hugely sensitive. It does not get talked about much, but we are at a tipping point.

Even if you are not neurodiverse yourself, this concerns you too. Understanding how neurodiverse colleagues, artists and business partners think and act should be just as important as addressing unconscious bias. It means that we all do better and achieve better outcomes both individually and collectively.

The music business has always been a tough, competitive arena that requires resilience and grit. Having a more refined social conscience does not change any of that. But there is room for being smarter and kinder and getting the very best out of people.

We are still a people business, right?

When They Go Low, We Go High: EU Copyright Directive

This article first appeared in Record of the Day, which you can read here.

The European Parliament’s decision not to immediately pass the new EU Copyright Directive in July was seen by many as a major setback. It was defeated by 318 to 278, a margin of 40 votes. This means the proposed legislation now moves forward to a full plenary debate and vote next Wednesday 12 September.

As the music industry faces this pivotal moment, it is worth reflecting how we got here and what we are now facing.

The creative industries as a whole have long argued that embryonic digital legislation passed in the mid 1990s is outdated and simply not fit for purpose. The legislative process is slow at the best of times. Meanwhile, the tech industry “moved fast and broke things,” incurring the wrath of creators whose livelihoods have been upended as a result.

The publication of the draft EU Copyright Directive in late 2016 was an achievement in itself. Not only did the draft legislation address copyright protection and safe harbour loopholes, it also contained provisions concerning fairness and transparency towards creators. Following further debate and lobbying, is even more of an achievement that the key elements of the draft directive remain mostly intact.

The Directive has not been without it’s critics, as is the case with any proposed legislation. Academics, libraries and dignitaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee have all put forth concerns. We in the music industry can acknowledge some concerns as understandable even if we believe they are unfounded.

What is not understandable are the thoroughly vile and dishonest tactics deployed during the course of this year, whose objective is to stop the legislation in its tracks at any cost. The scale of this activity reads like set pieces straight out of the Cambridge Analytica playbook.

Some in the music industry have questioned how we fight back given the vast funding involved and the sheer scale of this enterprise. But fight back we must and the actions of those we face only serve to give us greater strength.

As any Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster will tell you: use your opponents’ force against them. In this case, we should call out the deceitful actions from within the tech sector and elsewhere and those actions speak louder than any words.

  • The Financial Times reported some MEPs received death threats

  • MEPs were each bombarded with over 60,000 emails from bots

  • These emails contained identical content according to The Trichordist

  • The same blog named the domain name from which a large number of these emails originated and its link to a US Inc. entity.

  • The same tactics have been found on Twitter: multiple bot accounts promoting #SaveOurInternet and similar hashtags

  • This contrasts to real world protests that only drew a few hundred protestors combined across Europe. The bots did not show up.

These actions must also be viewed against the current backdrop where tech firms have been scrutinised for avoiding responsibility concerning:

  • Blatantly dishonest content

  • Content that incites hatred and violence

  • Little accountability in how such content is disseminated

  • Minimal transparency in how user data is abused in facilitating all this

Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are amongst those tech executives rebuked by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, for failing to take responsibility and failing to act in managing their own platforms. This is reflective of a broader failure that lies at the heart of a misguided and libertarian ideal, that somehow tech firms are exempt from laws and rules that govern the rest of the world.

The music industry and broader creative and media industries are made up of real people, filled with passion and blood pumping through their veins. They compose their own emails, speak to politicians and show up in person.

At the UK Music organized #LoveMusic busking event in London earlier today, artists, executives and even politicians turned out in support. Artists such as Brett Anderson, Ed Harcourt, Dave Rowntree, Madeleina Kay, Newton Faulkner and BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt. In addition a number of cross party British MPs who support the directive including Tom Watson, Nigel Evans and Kevin Brennan were amongst those in attendance.

One has to ask, if those opposing the EU Copyright Directive have such a compelling argument, why do they resort to such deceitful means? If we judge their actions, the arguments of those opposed to the directive hold no legitimacy and the European Parliament should vote in favour of the directive.

Andy Edwards, music manager and consultant
@andyedwardsbiz

Kendrick Lamar wins the Pulitzer Prize for Music

Andy Edwards explores what having a Pulitzer Prize winning rapper means for the music industry and the arts landscape as a whole.  This article first appeared in Record of the Day.

DAMN. Kendrick Lamar is the first non-classical or jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. The Pulitzer Prize was launched in 1917 and the first Pulitzer Prize for Music was awarded in 1943. Kendrick Lamar is the 67th recipient.

The Pulitzer is a name with overwhelming gravitas, commonly associated with American journalism, poetry and literature. The music category recognizes “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year.”

The award itself comes with little fanfare, no red carpet sizzle, but, rather, the recipient will forever be known as the “Pulitzer Prize winning author/journalist/ poet/ composer/ etc”. The attention heaped upon Pulitzer Prize winning rapper and songwriter Kendrick Lamar has been truly global. His award made headline news here in the UK, prompting widespread comment. The significance of this moment cannot be understated and had many layers relevant to all of us in the music industry and in a number of ways.

The significance for hip-hop and black music

As Jasmine Dotiwala pointed out on Sky News, in the early ‘90s the US government tried to shut down the likes of NWA, Ice T and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Twenty-five years later a 30-year-old rapper from Compton is being feted by the establishment, hopefully signaling a new level of acceptance.

It sets a significant marker for the music industry itself. The last black artist to win Album of the Year at the Grammys was Herbie Hancock in 2008. Lauryn Hill and OutKast have won Album of the Year in the past, but in recent years no black artist has won the accolade. At a time when black music has reached new artistic heights and cultural resonance coupled with poor female representation, The Recording Academy has been blasted for being out of touch.

DAMN was actually shortlisted for Best Album at this year’s Grammys, Lamar’s third nomination for the award. Childish Gambino and Jay-Z also made the shortlist but they all lost out to Bruno Mars. Beyoncé has made the shortlist three times, culminating with her greatest work yet, Lemonade, leaving her empty handed again last year prompting many to ask, what has the lady got to do to win Best Album?

In winning the Pulitzer Prize, Lamar has leapfrogged the Grammys in recognition. Perhaps this serves as a challenge to The Recording Academy to go further and do better as it considers options for 2019?

The significance for contemporary music

Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, have all won many plaudits over the years as authentic and significant American artists and storytellers, but none have won a Pulitzer Prize for Music. The overwhelming majority of recipients are classical. In recent years, a handful of jazz artists have won the award, first Wynton Marsalis in 1997, then Ornette Coleman in 2007 and Henry Threadgill in 2016. These gentlemen are masters of their art, but it took them years to reach that level of acceptance by the American arts establishment.

Only last week, the debate surrounding Arts Council funding in the UK contrasting the attitudes afforded to opera and classical at the expense of other genres, illustrates how far contemporary music still has to go in winning over the arts establishment in the UK. Kendrick Lamar’s achievement is significant not only for hip-hop, or for black music, but for contemporary music as a whole. It challenges the arts establishment around the world to fully embrace the cultural significance of contemporary music.

Arts Council England could learn a great deal from the Pulitzer’s and the process behind them. Kendrick Lamar’s award was the result of not only diverse and inclusive voices, but also diverse and inclusive process, thought and debate.

As David Hajdu, one of the jurors and also a writer for The Nation, explained in the New York Times, “some pieces of classical music that drew upon hip-hop as a resource, that led us to put on the table the fact that this sphere of work – rap music – has value on its own terms and not just as a resource for use in a field that is more broadly recognized by the institutional establishment as serious or legitimate.

The tone and conduct of the debate brought together jurors from a range of artistic backgrounds, including those more traditional, to this unanimous outcome.

Be unashamedly artistic

In the streaming age, play counts are the new heavy rotation. Play counts have become an obsession. The challenge of introducing new artists to the market and making an impact is one the industry continues to grapple with. Once that artist finds an audience and begins to grow, however, the only limitations are the artist’s own ambition and hard work.

As the man himself, explained: “you have to listen to it over and over and over again to fully understand the direction and the message that I put in there; the execution of it. And I want you to do that. I wanna challenge the way you think and the way you take your music.”

We could be clever and conclude that Kendrick Lamar is taking a counter intuitive approach to music making in the streaming age, but really he is just being a true artist: thought provoking and provocative. He is putting out his music on his terms and he wants you to listen to it on his terms. Streaming included.

This Pulitzer success, coupled with DAMN’s commercial success signals very clearly that the album, as a format and a concept, is not going away. Moreover, whenever anyone says “could {insert classic album} be made today?” Stylistics aside, the answer is a resounding yes.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

What this award also recognizes is a journalistic quality to Kendrick Lamar’s work that documents contemporary African American life. YouTube and social media have exposed long-held injustices affecting the black community to broader white audiences and almost every form of artistic expression has harnessed this moment.

Black creators are succeeding in every creative field around the world, be it movies such as Get Out and Black Panther, television comedies such as Issa Rae’s Insecure and Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum in the UK. In non-fiction, Reni Eddo-Lodge has produced a global best seller that began with a frustration at that typically (white) British trait of brushing uncomfortable truths (race) under the carpet. Pulling it all together is a renewed focus on Africa not only as a source of inspiration, but also a source of creative talent. This dynamic has not gone unnoticed by Midem organisers who will be exploring African markets such as Nigeria, Ivory Coast and the Congo in Cannes this year.

A political thread connects all of these creators and across all continents, albeit from many different viewpoints and experiences. It also serves as a reminder to all recording artists and the industry that supports them, that in challenging times a political message has artistic resonance with a mainstream audience.

There is a generation of executives too young to remember the civil rights movement and Vietnam War that produced such a rich body of music in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Instead, that generation was brought up to think of politics in music as being aligned to “Red Wedge” or “New Labour” or some form of party political affiliation. Understandably, this resulted in cynicism and disengagement, whereas millennial artists and audiences display idealism reminiscent of their grandparent’s generation.

The politics of 2018 cuts across party boundaries and country borders. Even in this past week, the Windrush debacle in the UK has prompted a global outcry and it was revealed that Grenfell was entirely preventable. Politics fuelled Stormzy’s electrifying BRITS performance. Politics has taken Beyoncé to new creative heights. Politics is not something for artists to be wary of, nor their managers nor their A&Rs for that matter.

A political narrative can fuel any artist from any background and any genre of music. As a former artist and current music executive said to me only last week, “grime and hip-hop are cutting through because those artists have something to say, other genres have to look to themselves and do better,” (he was once in a guitar band).

Kendrick Lamar has raised the bar not just for hip-hop but all contemporary music. Pulitzer Prize winner. DAMN.

Tweet Andy Edwards your thoughts to @andyedwardsbiz

Arts Council England v the Music Business

Andy Edwards explores the facts and figures behind the Arts Council v Music Business debate.  This article first appeared in Record of the Day.

The role of the Arts Council is once again in the headlines. This week, leading figures representing the music industry locked horns with senior opera figures over Arts Council funding.

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher branded Arts Council England (ACE) “too posh for pop”, pointing out that 62% of ACE’s National Portfolio goes to opera and a further 23% goes to classical music. In contrast, only 8% goes to popular music and 7% to other genres (including jazz, folk, etc).

Hitting back in The Daily Telegraph, Michael Volpe General Director of Holland Park Opera, responded “I’ve been hearing the word ‘posh’ in relation to opera for 30 years. Very few people in opera are posh – certainly not the performers”, although Volpe conceded in the same piece “Opera companies get a lot of money, perhaps more than they ought to, and that’s an ongoing argument.”

ACE has £1.45 billion of public funds and £860 million National Lottery funds to distribute over the next four years. Of the £368 million allocated to music, opera will receive £229 million, classical £85 million and pop £27 million.

The debate is especially timely because ACE has initiated a public conversation to help inform its strategy for the next 10 years. Given the music industry is only just returning to growth having suffered 15 years of decline, a lot is at stake. A barrier to that discussion is a fundamental misunderstanding between both sides.

Some might argue the opera world, and the arts establishment as a whole, seem to look down on the music industry or, perhaps, hold the view that it is less deserving. Many in the music industry consider opera an irrelevance and an extravagance.

The reality is the music industry is vastly more complex, diverse and challenging than is often understood. It is also a reality that opera is accessible through multi-tiered ticket pricing and many opera companies are addressing their own diversity issues.

What are the key issues? How can both sides better understand one another and what does a satisfactory outcome look like?

THE FUNDING IMBALANCE

Not only is there a huge imbalance towards opera, but there is also a disproportionate amount awarded to the Royal Opera House in London specifically. During 2016 alone, the ROH received £28 million in Arts Council funding, which represents 20% of the ROH’s total income for that year. The remainder is made up of box office receipts, commercial income and other fundraising. This includes various charitable trusts and corporate backers such as Goldman Sachs.

By way of comparison, UK Sport fulfils a similar function to the Arts Council and also relies on a combination of public money and lottery funding. It is worth noting the spread of investment across the Olympic disciplines is much more even. Of the £265 million earmarked for the Tokyo Olympic cycle, rowing receives the most with £32 million, followed by athletics (£27m), sailing (£26m), cycling (£26) and swimming (£22m). Although medals success and underlying costs are a factor, the distribution of funds is far more even when compared to arts funding for music. Equestrian was further down the list with £15m, but imagine the uproar if Equestrian took 60% of available funding at the expense of other medal winning sports.

It is hard to see how the imbalance between opera, classical and other forms of music can be justified. Moreover, if funding were to be taken away from opera and distributed more broadly, how detrimental would that be? Supposing ACE funding for the Royal Opera House is cut in half, that would represent a 10% cut in its overall income. Can the ROH be challenged to go without or make up that funding elsewhere?

MOMENTUM MUSIC FUND – A CASE FOR GRANT FUNDING

In 2013, Arts Council England supported the launch of the Momentum Music Fund, administered by the PRS Foundation. Momentum was aimed at artists existing outside the major label system, unsigned or signed to an independent, and who could demonstrable a case for £5-15,000 worth of funding to give their careers tangible momentum at a crucial point.

The scheme has been a great success. Over 270 artists have been supported by Momentum and for every £1 invested £7.46 has been generated. Recipients are truly diverse covering a broad spread of genres with a strong BAME representation, making up 49% of grantees.

Over 3,800 artists have applied for Momentum funding since its inception. Five years after its launch demand and impact has never been greater. The recently published outline of Government’s creative industries sector deal, which encourages partnerships between government and industry, mentions the Momentum Fund as an example of good practice.

The frustration is that despite this clear proof of concept, including the quality and diversity of the artists supported and the match funding & income it has leveraged there appears to be little appetite from the Arts Council to continue its involvement in such schemes.

ATTITUDES TO INVESTMENT NEED TO CHANGE

A key challenge is how the music industry is perceived and how it perceives itself.

Culturally, a disproportionate level of attention is afforded to a tiny minority of major artists earning vast sums at the expense of the majority who do not. This contributes to long held assumptions within the arts establishment, government and the wider public that all paths through the music industry are paved with gold. They are not.

Within the industry itself, there has been a tradition of self-reliance. Labels and publishers, especially, pride themselves on their investment in new music. This is very true, but that investment only comes at a certain stage. Leading up to that point, artists and their managers typically funded themselves. Prior to the launch of Momentum, grant type funding for artists was very rarely considered as an option.

Attitudes are very different when it comes to sport. Even world-class athletes such as Mo Farah continue to receive grant funding from Sport UK. In Farah’s case, this is despite considerable endorsement income and a personal net worth rumoured to be £4 million. Grant type funding in sport began in the late 90s. Twenty years later, Great Britain can look back on Olympic glory over the past three Olympic cycles in Beijing, London and Rio across a range of sports. This was no coincidence.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Leading up to the publication of the government’s Industrial Strategy (Creative Industries Sector Deal) earlier this year, there was much debate about funding. Early funding gaps were evident across the creative sector and especially so in music.

For a new artist, releasing music has never been easier: the major streaming platforms are readily accessible to any artist. The principle sources of investment remain labels and publishers although other self-release options such as Seed EIS are available. What has changed is the time it takes to reach that level. A new artist may take several years funding their own releases and live shows during that time. Few new artists have the means to do this, especially those from less affluent backgrounds. This has created very real roadblocks in the talent pipeline as the industry has shifted from CD to download to streaming.

There is a clear deficiency in investment at the seed/ angel level. Unlike the tech world, there are very few mechanisms providing a return to the early stage investor while safeguarding the artist. An artist’s business structure, especially at an early stage, can be fluid and may not have all IP and activities sitting in one entity. Very few new artists could be considered “investment ready” in a traditional sense.

This is why grant funding is so important. It does not require equity stakes or convertible loans. It is simple and when targeted correctly, as Momentum has proven, can be highly effective. Grant funding can play a central role in growing a sustainable talent pipeline that fits the streaming age that is now upon us and ensure the industry picks more winners.

The disproportionate level of Arts Council funds devoted to opera does not seem fair or sustainable and it would seem this is recognized even within the world of opera. Meanwhile, the music industry has proven that grant funding can provide a significant boost to more popular genres and sustain a diverse pipeline of creative talent that works in tandem with existing commercial models. Making the numbers work is a bigger question, but there would seem to be a clear imperative to develop a fairer and more balanced approach to Arts Council funding for music.

When it comes to racism, British “tolerance” is not good enough

During a recent episode of The Pledge, writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch raised the issue of closet racism. Her sceptical fellow (white) panelists, responded with a variety of set piece rebuttals including “I don’t see colour,” the eye popping “if its well intentioned it is not racism” and the most frequently used British rebuttal of all: Britain is the most “tolerant” nation in the world.

Afua took issue with the word “tolerant” and so do I. How often do we hear, in the context of discussing racism in the UK, “but we are the most tolerant nation in the world”? The rebuttal is passed around so freely but never challenged or understood. What do we mean when we say we are “tolerant”?

One can argue that on a personal level, just because someone is tolerated does not mean that person is accepted. It certainly does not mean that person will be treated equally. Think about what it means to say:

I tolerate you” >> “I accept you” >> “You are my equal

How do those words sound to you? Now think about that on a broader level. Think of where Britain is in our history. Think about the recently published government statistics that lay bare the extent of structural racism in this country: education, job prospects and criminal justice that illustrates very clearly people of colour are disadvantaged at every stage.

Tolerance may place Britain ahead of many other nations. The British are certainly not intolerant, but we tend not to display much emotion be it positive or negative, which begs the question, are we really that tolerant?   We can be polite, of course, but surely all this is just a starting point? It is a very British thing to sweep those things we do not wish to discuss under the carpet. I fear we do so with our racism.

Accordingly, structural racism and unconscious bias are rarely understood on a mainstream level, yet this is where the greatest challenges lie. Similarly, dog whistle racism often goes unchecked and unchallenged. The impetus for Afua Hirsch’s Pledge discussion was the overt racist comments from the girlfriend of the leader of UKIP, a political party that attracts mainstream media coverage despite the obvious dog whistle racism amongst its members.

The British often perceive America to be far more racist than Britain, because its racism is more overt, be it the actions of its police departments or the current occupant of the White House. Yet America is demonstratively more progressive in many respects, leaving Britain way behind.

In academia, Harvard University admits far more people of colour relative to America’s demographic make-up than either Oxford or Cambridge in the UK. Moreover, Harvard achieved this without compromising academic excellence disproving the notion that “affirmative action” meant lowering the bar. It does not. As David Lammy points out, Oxford and Cambridge could do the same, but have consistently failed to do so.

Whenever racism is discussed in the British media, and on television specifically, the format is typically:

EITHER one black person making the case to two, three, for or more white people all of whom hold an opposing view. Occasionally, there might be a white ally. Instinctively the ally may well be on the side of the black person discussing structural racism, yet very often the ally tries to be the peacemaker in what is often a heated discussion, hoping to defuse any unpleasantness with another set piece such as “but we have come a long way”.

OR the researchers manage to find several black and south asian participants who, conveniently and in the interests of good television, hold opposing views. This may be authentic insofar as a sixty year old dark skinned black man who lived through extreme overt racism in the seventies and eighties will have a different perspective to a mixed raced woman in her twenties grappling with unconscious bias, othering and dog whistle racism today. Such formats over simplify the arguments almost always without time to fully understand the nuances around these varying positions. A recent episode of BBC Big Questions is a case in point.

In contrast, American television news and talk shows will often utilize two or three black commentators speaking on a panel about race (or indeed more general subjects), be they pundits such as Angela Rye and Bakari Sellers or presenters such as Don Lemon, Van Jones or Joy Reid. British television is way behind. When Republican commentator Cory Lewandowski made racially charged remarks about President Obama during the 2016 presidential election, he was very firmly put in his place by more than one of his fellow panelists.

For such a “tolerant” nation, we British seem to be remarkably slow in addressing structural racism, unconscious bias and dogwhistle racism. Yet, seemingly “intolerant” America is way ahead of us. The uncomfortable truth is Britain still has a lot work to do.

Tolerating is OK. Britain can do that.   But we are not “OK Britain” we are Great Britain and we can do much better than OK. That means continually improving ourselves as a nation to ensure all our citizens, regardless of background, feel not just tolerated, but accepted and equal and to feel truly British and not merely Brit(ish).

 

For a more complete and beautifully written account of why we British should do far more than merely tolerate, BRIT(ish) by Afua Hirsch is an essential read.

 

Moderating at MIDEM

Here’s some footage of a panel I moderated at MIDEM on transparent rights management systems.

 

Copyright Summit – Building Transparent Rights Management Systems – Midem 2017

The recent months have seen the confirmation of a strong will from the music community to build comprehensive, transparent and simplified systems to manage music rights globally. This session will highlight who are the main players involved, what are the different initiatives launched and their models, as well as what we can expect from these developments in the future.
• Antony Bebawi, EVP Digital & Society Relations Europe, Sony/ATV (UK)
• Amos Biegun, Managing Director & Global Head of Rights & Royalties, Vistex (UK)
• Panos Panay, Co-Founder, OMI & Founding Managing Director, BerkleeICE (USA)
• Jean-Noël Tronc, CEO, SACEM (France)
• Lucie Caswell, CEO, Featured Artist Coalition (UK)
• Moderator: Andy Edwards, Board Director, Music Managers Forum (UK)

The UK Music Industry Tried To Agree A ‘Transparency Code’ For Streaming Royalties. It Collapsed – Here’s Why

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This article first appeared in Music Business Worldwide and details a project I have led for the past eighteen months.  Time to pass the baton now, but politicians are looking very seriously at this issue.  The matter was debated in the House of Commons today.  No complaints about anyone involved – including the major labels – but perhaps government can help move this forward.

In August 2015, I wrote an article for Music Business Worldwide entitled Transparently Obvious: The Music Business Has To Change. The article was based on my experience in artist management and as a director of the UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF). It came in the wake of Berklee College of Music’s Rethink Music report, which caused quite a stir at the time.

The transparency agenda has been a response to the secretive culture surrounding the commercial deals between rights owners and digital services. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were blamed for the opacity in accounting to artists and writers.

There was a feeling amongst creator organizations and the MMF specifically that a transparency code of practice could solve many of these issues. Jo Dipple and Andy Heath, CEO and Chairman of UK Music, agreed this was worth attempting within the UK Music community. The intention was simple but also extremely ambitious.

“THERE WAS A FEELING AMONGST CREATOR ORGANIZATIONS AND THE MMF SPECIFICALLY THAT A TRANSPARENCY CODE OF PRACTICE COULD SOLVE MANY OF [THE UK INDUSTRY’S] ISSUES. JO DIPPLE AND ANDY HEATH, CEO AND CHAIRMAN OF UK MUSIC, AGREED THIS WAS WORTH ATTEMPTING.”

Simple insofar as the code would be a non-legally binding plain English document detailing a general statement of intent. It was extremely ambitious insofar as it sought to unite the entire recorded music industry around a single position on transparency.

The entire recorded music industry being: music publishers, songwriters, major labels, indie labels, featured artists, musicians, producers, managers and collection societies. A varied bunch of constituencies: each with their own requirements and views and then differing views again within each of those constituencies.

Most of the ten organizations represented on the UK Music board had in turn at least 10-15 members on each of their respective boards. In the case of the majors, the document had to be signed off not only by the UK company but also each major’s global HQ. There were a lot of lawyers involved. This was not an n+y level of complexity, or even nxcomplexity; it was ny complexity and then some.

All this for a code of practice I intended being as simple as possible: the first draft was 268 words and the final draft was 562 words. There were a lot of drafts.

Steve Jobs once said “simple can be harder than complex”. He was not wrong.


After almost eighteen months and an awful lot of calls, coffee meets, confidential chats and boardroom debates the project finally came to an end when it became clear that it would be impossible to reach a consensus at this time.

Despite the fact we did not get the document across the line, a great many positives emerged that are worth sharing. For me it was always about the process and not the outcome. The process was hugely beneficial on a number of levels:


THE PURPOSE:

Codes of practice tend not to be legally binding, but they do have legal weight. For this reason the code benefited from a great deal of legal scrutiny.

There were three basic principles: Transparency, Clarity and Alignment of Interests. That meant: be open about the terms on which you do business with those to whom you account (e.g. your artist or writer roster); be clear in how you manage and present information relating to those deals; and act in the spirit that whatever is good for you as a rights owner should be good for your roster, i.e. share the total value of the deal proportionately with your roster.

“THE MESSAGE TO RIGHTS OWNERS WAS: STRIKE DEALS WITH DIGITAL SERVICES HOW YOU SEE FIT AND AGREE PERCENTAGES OR REVENUE SHARES WITH YOUR ROSTER THAT YOU FEEL ARE APPROPRIATE TO THE SITUATION.”

The message to rights owners was: strike deals with digital services how you see fit and agree percentages or revenue shares with your roster that you feel are appropriate to the situation. The code is not there to interfere on specific commercial terms, but abide by the spirit of the code in how you conduct business.

The message to creator groups was: define precisely what you are asking for. Transparency does not mean sharing everything with everyone, points of clarity should be reasonable and alignment of interests should be in reference to the commercial deals from which you are a direct beneficiary (e.g. Spotify, Deezer, etc).


THE PROCESS:

Neutrality was essential. From the outset I insisted on being “neutral broker”. That meant metaphorically removing my MMF hat for the purposes of leading the project. It took a bit of adjustment from all involved, not least my MMF board colleagues, who were incredibly gracious in letting me get on with it as a collective project.

Having established that principle, I was sure to abide by it. Label executives could be incredibly helpful and creator representatives unrealistic at times. I had no hesitation in saying so and vise versa. It was about demonstrating fairness.

Reference points played a part in establishing the code. The WIN Declaration, first established by Alison Wenham in 2014 was one such point of reference. This dealt with establishing similar principles within the independent label community. It was quite a challenge for Alison to pull off. The challenge within the UK Music community was even greater insofar as it meant achieving consensus not only with independents, but also with major labels, music publishers, collection societies and all the various creator groups.

“ATTITUDES WERE INITIALLY VERY ENTRENCHED ON BOTH SIDES.”

Community and teamwork were essential elements. I led the project, but it was not about me. It was always about the community. On the creator side that meant building a coalition between managers (MMF), songwriters (BASCA), featured artists (FAC), musicians (MU) and record producers (MPG). It meant making sure the right people were in the loop at the right time. For instance, in meeting with PRS and MPA, Vick Bain from BASCA was present and her voice took priority over mine.

Listening is the most essential element of any dialogue. Attitudes were initially very entrenched on both sides. It was a question of getting under the surface of the sound bites and the headlines that had played out in the trade press. It was about identifying the underlying concerns.

As the document evolved those concerns were addressed. Many on the creator side felt the document became very watered down, but the underlying principles of the code remained intact. I urged everyone to be realistic and focus on the direction of travel, albeit acknowledging different organizations and companies move at different speeds.


THE OUTCOME 

We almost made it. The final version of the code was at a point where it could be considered by the respective boards of each member of UK Music. In the case of the BPI, whose major members were discussing the code with me directly, the major labels were considering the code at a global level.

The outcome was that all three major labels declined to officially support the code of practice. This is where the project ground to a halt.

In fairness to the major labels, there were some reservations elsewhere. For instance, a similar debate was in progress within some music publishers. My personal view is the support of the majors was essential in bringing all sides of the industry together.

The objections voiced about the code (not just from the labels) could be broadly summarised as follows:

  • Firstly, there was a feeling amongst some executives that transparency was purely a matter between themselves and their respective rosters.
  • Secondly, some felt they already complied with the code of practice (the final draft), so they felt there was nothing to gain. All the majors had announced varying improvements in transparency during the period the code was in discussion.
  • Thirdly, in light of the draft EU Copyright Directive published in September 2016, which contains transparency provisions, some executives felt overtaken by events, although from a UK perspective, post-BREXIT these provisions may not be adapted or enforceable.

Finally, there was concern surrounding a further aspect to the draft EU Directive on contract adjustment, whereby creators could renegotiate “unfair” contracts with labels and publishers. Some executives felt the code conflated this issue with that of transparency or could be interpreted as such.

I fundamentally disagree with this position. The code of practice merely seeks to “align interests” between creators and rights owners, it is not there to determine what is or is not a “fair” contract. Rights owners are strongly opposed to contract adjustment.


THE WAY FORWARD

Irrespective of what happens next, the process has been worthwhile. Even without a specific agreement, the respective sides of the industry better understand one another. Progress has been made. Rights owners have made, to varying degrees, public commitments on transparency even if creator groups want them to go further.

I can say categorically those major rights owner executives who did engage did so positively and constructively. Inevitably they were mostly lawyers, but they offered solutions rather than problems. I have nothing but praise for their efforts.

On the creator side, the code helped stimulate a more collaborative approach. Writers, artists, producers, musicians and their managers have more in common than not, so it makes sense for them to work together. This benefits rights owners, who sometimes find it difficult to accommodate varied points of view on the creator side.

So what next?

The voluntary code of practice on search engines signed by Google and Bing over the past week demonstrates very clearly what can be achieved. Government, tech and creative industries all support it, but it took years to reach an agreement.

“A CODE OF PRACTICE, IN PART, PROMOTES BEST PRACTICE WITHIN THE INDUSTRY BUT IT ALSO SENDS A POSITIVE MESSAGE TO GOVERNMENT AND THE WIDER WORLD.”

My comment to rights owners is this: think not just in terms of the relationship with your own rosters, but how to raise the bar for everyone. A code of practice, in part, promotes best practice within the industry but it also sends a positive message to government and the wider world.

My comment to creator groups is this: be specific in your requests and avoid inflammatory statements. Rights owners get very nervous when demands appear too open ended. In fairness, creator representatives have responded positively to that message and, in some cases, they have been way ahead of me.

To all sides of the industry my comment is this: keep believing in the process and keep engaging. By all means be joined up, but please avoid conflating issues. Transparency and remuneration can be dealt with separately, if further definition is required then find that definition. Avoid the long grass.

We are all fiercely creative and competitive, but we should learn to be more collaborative. In a world where technological, social and political forces increasingly impact on our world, we need to be more aligned that ever before.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. These are interesting times.

We must work smarter and more efficiently: Transparency, Clarity, Alignment of Interests are outcomes that must prevail one way or another.

Diversity In The Music Industry

Diversity Part 2: Following Andy Edwards’ first diversity piece for RotD, he follows-up with the actions taken since and how everyone can get involved

This article first appeared in the Record of the Day weekly magazine, but can also be viewed online here.

One of the central talking points during 2016 has been the issue of diversity.

In a broader social context #BlackLivesMatter rose in prominence, while BREXIT and the American presidential campaigns have ignited racial tensions. The Rio Olympics celebrated sporting talent across racial and gender boundaries, although prejudices and barriers were all too apparent.

Islamophobia is a continuing issue across Europe and the USA, highlighted by the ‘burkini’ debate in France over the summer. That debate also raises broader questions concerning the rights of women and their freedom to dress how they please without fear of harassment irrespective of religion.

Workplace diversity is a hot topic. Financial services, media, arts, tech and even the public sector have all attracted scrutiny. Baroness McGregor-Smith will be publishing a report on workplace diversity in the UK shortly.

Within the music industry UK Music CEO Jo Dipple has made diversity a priority, giving that organisation’s full support to Keith Harris’ efforts to set up an industry-wide UK Music Diversity Taskforce. This was well in advance of the #BritsSoWhite and 30 Under 30 debates. Keith is now running that campaign with UK Music’s Director of Operations Ele Hill.

BPI Chairman Ged Doherty is another industry leader who has made diversity a priority by hiring Ayesha Hazarika to drive its own diversity efforts and to work collaboratively across the industry. Ayesha is a former EMI executive with political experience that includes drafting the landmark Equality Act 2010.

uk_music_diversity_survey_2016

My first move was writing an article for Record Of The Day in March. This was a small contribution, but what followed were some useful insights worth sharing with those considering lending their support for the first time.

Get Involved (Even If You Are A White Man)

Diversity affects all of us and we can all benefit. It has been noted that companies with a more ethnically diverse workforce are 35% more likely to be profitable than non-ethnically diverse companies. This makes sense as local demographics change and the world becomes more connected. To remain competitive, companies must reflect their consumers.

Even those of us (predominantly white people) who are passionately anti-racist sometimes fear getting involved. We fear saying the wrong thing and either offending or patronising the people we hope to support. No one wants to fall into the trap of whitesplaining, as Matt Damon did last year, for which he later apologised.

Writing the RotD article was daunting. Thankfully the feedback from respected friends and colleagues within the Black and Asian community was overwhelmingly positive. That gave me the confidence to get more involved.

There are some great examples of supporting a cause that is not necessarily your own in a positive and respectful manner.

MTV produced an article about 9 ways white people can use white privilege for good gives useful pointers for discussing race from the perspective of a white person. The examples are very US-orientated, but the UK has the same underlying issues. There are plenty more examples on YouTube.

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In tackling gender inequality from a male perspective, Barack Obama’s article This Is What A Feminist Looks Like for Glamour magazine earlier this year is a useful reference point. Men can be feminists too, including the President of the United States of America. Men can also avoid mansplaining. Even in 2016 highly accomplished women, including NASA astronauts and Olympic athletes, have had to endure ignorant comments from lesser qualified men.

A bit of encouragement and cajoling always helps. Speaking at the inaugural UK Music Diversity Summit in July, Oona King delivered what can only be described as a master class in bringing people together.

Aside from her political career, she has huge experience in achieving better workplace diversity, previously as Head of Diversity at Channel 4, now in a global role at YouTube. Summing up this sentiment with great warmth and quite a bit of irony, Oona declared:

I love white men [long and slightly playful pause], I especially love white men who come to diversity meetings, because when I see that I know that real change is possible.”

As a friend pointed out to me: “Oona is ironically acknowledging the status quo and white, male privilege. She acknowledged white males who use their privilege for good, being agents of change regardless of skin tone”.

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It is not about me, or people like me. We should not be centre stage. But we can be in the room and lend our support. Listen and learn and go from there.

But you are not reading a diversity piece to hear about white guys …

The broader context of diversity … what do we mean by diversity?

“Diversity” is turning into a buzzword. There has been a great deal of focus race and ethnicity this year. The concept of workplace diversity, however, is much broader and also includes: disabilities, religious and political beliefs, gender, education, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation and geographic location amongst other factors.

Diversity also goes hand in hand with “Inclusion”. It is one thing to have a diverse workforce, but if that diverse workforce does not feel like it has a voice and is included in decision-making and collaboration, then we all fail.

Diversity and Inclusion expert Charlotte Sweeney has written extensively on the subject, including co-writing a book called Diversity and Inclusive Leadership.

Understanding The Numbers

The UK Music workplace diversity questionnaire has generated a very high response from across all sectors of the industry. This is very encouraging. The next step is to analyze the data and publish the results.

A number of organizations and industries have conducted similar exercises in recent years. Many workplaces face challenges in balancing diversity, although the specifics vary from one workplace to another.

For instance, Facebook is predominately white (55%) and male (68%). Asian employees are well represented (38%), but Black (2%), Hispanic (4%) and female (22%) employees are not. The Facebook figures are broadly reflective of the tech sector as a whole.

Last year Facebook demonstrated its senior leadership hires comprised: 9% Black, 5% Hispanic and 29% female. The company also breaks out technical and non-technical figures. Job role is an important factor in the tech sector, as technical roles are even less diverse.

Through transparency, action and annual reporting to monitor outcomes Facebook is demonstrating progress, albeit slow progress. The company is not immune to criticism but when accepted graciously solutions can be found.

Not only do other industries and organisations consider the overall position, they examine the nuances whether that is job role, seniority and how that pattern changes year-on-year.

UK Music shall be publishing the results of its survey very shortly. This will be fascinating. Irrespective of what picture the numbers paint, it is incumbent on all of us to understand those numbers, take action and monitor progress.

Diversity is very firmly on everyone’s agenda this year and it is not going away. This is a great opportunity for the music industry to demonstrate leadership through its own commitment to transparency, insight, action and results. If music can cross boundaries, so can the industry that supports it.

Contact Andy Edwards via twitter here: @andyedwardsbiz