Newsletter: Government misses the mark on Misogyny in Music response

26.04.2024.

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Misogyny in Music: Government misses the mark  

The Government’s response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s ‘Misogyny in Music’ report has been released with little uptake of the committee’s recommendations. The Committee drew attention to ongoing behavioural and pay-based discrimination against women working in the industry as demonstrated in oral evidence sessions held last year, where witnesses included LIVE Board member Charisse Beaumont. Many will have been disappointed, therefore, to see that the Committee’s proposed steps to tackle the underreporting of harassment and the vulnerability of a large self-employed workforce did not receive support from Government.

LIVE’s Head of Partnerships, Gaby Cartwright commented, “We share the Committee’s concern at the Government’s position. Whilst the Government does recognise that everyone should be able to work in the music industry without being subject to misogyny and discrimination, its decision not to act on the Committee’s recommendations indicates a failure to fully appreciate the severity of its assessment”. In turn, the WEC has called on the Government to reconsider its position ‘or risk falling short over the action needed to protect women in the music industry from harassment or discrimination’. LIVE will continue to work to ensure that our industry is a safe and inclusive place for women – especially those subject to intersecting hierarchies – to start and develop a career.

Building on the activity of LIVE Workforce, LIVE has established a specialist working group to consider the findings of the Committee and advocate for dedicated measures to protect those vulnerable to systematic discrimination.

EU Touring: more calls for reform

Following on from the Labour party’s commitment to seek better arrangements for touring in Europe, a key consultative body which enables the government to hear from those most affected by the operation of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has set out its own requests for reform. 
LIVE sits as a member of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) and, alongside UK Music, we have worked hard to ensure our concerns are reflected in the group’s output.  The latest Domestic Advisory Group report sets out proposals to ‘improve the implementation and functioning of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ including, as a priority, ‘the improvement of mobility including cultural visa waivers for artists and technical support staff’. Other recommendations which addressed the plight of touring artists under the current iteration of the TCA included the exemption of organisations transporting material carried under an ATA carnet from cabotage regulations; the uniform implementation of rules to avoid unexpected situations at borders; and the negotiation of youth mobility schemes for under-35s. LIVE will integrate this report into our lobbying and advocacy work continue to push for improved touring arrangements with renewed energy following recent improvements in A1 form processing.

Meanwhile, the wider calls for Government to act on this issue continue to mount, for example, through the European Movement’s ‘Face the Music’ petition. LIVE met with the team behind this campaign, which asks the Government to find a solution to the issues facing musicians and crews who want to tour Europe, to get the scoop. The petition has secured just under 29,000 signatures with a goal for 50,000: find out more here.

Helping hand for new promoters: PRS’ early career promoters fund

LIVE welcomes the PRS Foundation’s Early Career Promoters Fund, a much needed source of support for a much-overlooked element of our grassroots ecosystem. Supported by the Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Fund offers grants of up to £3,500 for those organising and programming a wide range of events, as well as for promoters’ training and networking opportunities. It’s an initiative which also addresses the underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities amongst the incoming promoter cohort, by allocating resources to a more diverse group of promoters, and encouraging the recipients of grants to support diverse artists and audiences in their work. 

With the grassroots facing a serious crisis – as the ongoing CMS Committee inquiry into grassroots music has made clear – this opportunity will provide a lifeline for many. LIVE hopes that its audience will share the details widely so that all who deserve such a lifeline have access to one – and anticipates the lift in the rest of the ecosystem that this investment will produce. More promoters putting on more shows will grow a healthier grassroots scene which can support a wider range of artists and venues, and develop a strong pipeline to sustain the industry for years to come. Find out more about the Fund here. 

LIVE Talks: another Menendez masterclass

Following on from a brilliant introductory session last year, Trans activist and educator Sashkia Menendez delivered another excellent workshop on Trans education and inclusion in the music industry at April’s LIVE Talks session.

Drawing on her personal experience as a Trans woman and music industry professional, Saskhia led us through Trans theory and gender criticism to introduce the structural barriers facing Trans people working or hoping to work in the music industry, from gender dysphoria to body dysmorphia to the struggle of achieving legal sex recognition. Saskhia’s work on the Trans charter – a statement of support for the Trans community and commitment to implementing Trans rights in the workplace which was launched in the session – offers a path forward to an industry which is more accepting of difference and gender nonconformity. 

We look forward to welcoming Saskhia back next year for part three of her Trans education series. Until then, catch up by watching parts one and two on our LIVE Talks archive

Music Exports: Government wants your feedback

LIVE’s Jon Collins and the Musicians’ Union’s Dave Webster, as Chair of LIVE Touring, have been leading the industry’s march for improved EU touring arrangements through a series of productive meetings with the Department of Business and Trade, and Music Export Academy sessions. Last week, LIVE and the MU met with officials to flesh out plans for the provision of more specialised guidance for musicians and support staff touring the EU – much needed considering the current state of confusion amongst both musicians and border staff. 

LIVE will continue to engage with the Department of Business and Trade and its Export Support Services in order to improve the guidance available for musicians. The Export Support Service, which is designed to provide export support for UK businesses, are keen to gather feedback on the quality and utility of the information currently provided by their online portal and advice service. We therefore encourage musicians, crew, and touring professionals to test out the service, consider its strengths and shortcomings, and direct this feedback to LIVE in order that we may pass it on to officials. 

Turn up and vote: JustVote24 and the industry raise the volume on voter ID

With local and mayoral elections next week and a general election on the horizon, there is another opportunity for live music to build on its proud history of encouraging people to vote. Rock the Vote is a high profile example from the United States music sector – an organisation founded by hip-hop execs in 1990 which mobilises the younger generation to make their voices heard. This year sees UK counterparts, JustVote24, building a strategy which draws on the platforms of artists and festivals to boost civic engagement. 2022’s voter identification legislation means that the younger generation in particular may be turned away from the polls this year in great numbers: JustVote24’s campaign calls on this demographic to apply for ID and register in time to participate. LIVE welcomes this important initiative and encourages anyone who wants to spread the message to get in touch so that we can facilitate collaboration.

Your Safety, Your Say: Black Lives in Music opens survey

Black Lives in Music is fielding respondents for its investigation into bullying and harassment in the music industry, in partnership with the Ivors Academy and Pirate Studios. LIVE welcomes this important and timely piece of research, whose focus on the communities subject to intersecting hierarchies will flesh out the evidence of ongoing, systematic poor treatment of women in workplaces presented by the recent Women and Equalities Committee’s report.  Equip changemakers with the tools to make progress by participating in the survey now.

Get the freelancer scoop at PLASA 

Catch Gaby, LIVE’s Head of Partnerships, at industry technology bonanza PLASA Focus Leeds (14-15 May): she’ll be hosting a discussion of our recent freelancer survey, ‘The Hidden Side of Freelancing’, along with our survey lead Richard Turrell (Handle Freelance Solutions) and event production specialist Paul Jones (Ethix Management). This session, supported by the Power of Events, promises some game-changing insights into what’s great for freelancers in our industry, where there are disconnects between both recruitment and employee satisfaction, and what we can do to make the most of our wonderful workforce. See you there at 12.15 on Tuesday, 14 May: details here.