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Tackling music’s diversity problem: IQ 92 out now

IQ 92, the latest issue of the new monthly digital IQ Magazine, bangs the drum for diversity in live, urging concert professionals to use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to build a more inclusive business with opportunities for all.

Three months on from Black Out Tuesday, our cover feature sees executives of colour talk about their determination to make sure diversity stays at the top of the agenda in the live music industry.

Leading figures including Metropolis Music’s Raye Cosbert, Echo Location boss Obi Asika, ICM agent Yves Pierre and Live Nation’s David Carrigan weigh in on where the industry is doing well – and where there is room for improvement – as well as practical steps every live music professional can take to effect change, both in their own lives and in wider corporate structures.

Elsewhere in the September issue of IQ is a guide to the Interactive Festival Forum (iFF), which begins this Wednesday (2 September). A temporary, virtual replacement for the International Festival Forum, the event will feature the most packed programme ever for a conference devoted to the festivals sector, with networking aspects invaluable for strengthening professional relationships ahead of the 2021 season.

Leading execs of colour weigh in on where the industry is doing well, and where there is room for improvement

Tickets to iFF will be available before, during and after the event, with video panel sessions recorded to allow absent delegates to catch up. Registration is available via the IFF website.

Plus, in the spirit of the post-Zoom world in which we find ourselves, the final feature profiles some of the best livestreaming platforms and services that are defying lockdown and social distancing restrictions to help artists connect with their fans.

As always, most content from the magazine – including the regular news analysis, comment, new agency signings and more – will appear online in some form in the next month.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now.


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LN named top workplace for LGBTQ equality

Live Nation Entertainment has been recognised as a top workplace for LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) foundation, the educational arm of the United States’ largest civil rights organisation.

HRC works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. For the second year running, Live Nation has earned the top score of 100 on the organisation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are accepted as full members of society at home, at work and in every community. Its equality index is the premier benchmarking tool for recognising companies that practise LGBTQ equality in the United States.

The CEI assesses equality across transgender benefits and wellness, domestic partner benefits, culture and engagement, corporate and employee policies, learning and development and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.

“Live music has a unique ability to connect and unite people from all different backgrounds, and we promote that same sense of community and belonging for our employees at Live Nation”

“Live music has a unique ability to connect and unite people from all different backgrounds, and we promote that same sense of community and belonging for our employees at Live Nation,” says Michael Rapino, president and chief executive of Live Nation Entertainment.

“We’re always striving to create a more inclusive and equitable culture, and are proud to be recognised by the Human Rights Campaign once again,” adds Rapino.

According to HRC president Chad Griffin, the companies that score best on the CEI are “not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the Unites States, they are applying these policies to their global operations.”

This has an impact on “millions of people beyond our shores,” states Griffin.

This recognition follows several third-party acknowledgments for Live Nation’s industry practices and workplace culture, from LinkedIn, Fast Company and Fortune.

Live Nation joins over 560 major US businesses to earn top marks on the equality index.

More information on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index and a free copy of the report can be found here.

 


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Merit: the real equality in live music

For some years now, there has been much discussion on the subject of gender equality in the live music industry, either on stage or off. In a perfect world – and in my personal imperfect one – equality applies to promotion and profit based on merit and merit alone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or whatever else.

Understandably, those discriminated against in the past want to catch up and prove that they are equal to the rest, developing careers based solely on professional and artistic qualities, for which I’d offer a standing ovation (no irony whatsoever). But sometimes, things go a bit too far.

Having heard criticism at various international festivals, especially Southside, that line-ups are short of female artists, my first thought was, what if there are just not enough female artists that:

Undeniably, a festival promoter should book whoever they want, based on the quality of the music and the performance, with no regards to gender, race, sexual orientation or whatever else: ie on merit and merit alone. No act making bad music should be booked just to address balance – they should be chosen based on their music and performance.

Merit and merit alone – isn’t that what equality is about?

Similarly, everyone working on the business side of the music industry should be in positions based on their abilities. The overwhelming majority of people working for me, both full-time and freelance, are women, and this is because I see them as better qualified and more organised for the specific jobs they do. Merit and merit alone – nothing more.

The 21st century is discarding most stereotypes and the discrimination of the last 1,000 years, and the witchhunt for balanced gender, race, sexual orientation and anything else just for the sake of it has to go, too. Companies should not be ashamed of, or apologise for, having too few female employees – they should not hire people that are not good enough to do the position they are trying to fill.

Festivals should not be ashamed of, or apologise for, not having enough female acts, but they should apologise for putting together a line-up of artists who make bad music and don’t perform well.

Merit and merit alone – in the end, isn’t that what equality is all about?

 


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