Elton John stars at UK’s Artist & Manager Awards
Elton John and David Furnish were honoured at the 2021 Artist & Manager Awards (AMAs), which attracted more than 700 artists, managers and music industry professionals to Bloomsbury Big Top in London.
The duo made a final-hour appearance to collect the Artist & Manager Partnership Award at last night’s ceremony, which was organised by the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF).
Rina Sawayama, who was also named 2021’s Breakthrough Artist, presented Elton and David with the accolade at the first in-person AMAs since 2019. Other artists recognised on the night included Little Simz (Artist of the Year), Mogwai (Pioneer) and Bicep, who shared their award for Innovation with their management team at This Is Music.
Coming together again with friends and colleagues feels like such a hugely positive and symbolic step forward
“Coming together again with friends and colleagues feels such a hugely positive and symbolic step forward,” said MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick and Featured Artists Coalition CEO David Martin. “Tonight’s Awards was about celebrating music, talent, innovation and camaraderie across the artist and management community – whether that’s individuals at the start of their careers, survivors and legends, or those still standing after decades.”
September Management’s Amy Morgan was crowned Manager of the Year for her work with Glass Animals and Metallic Inc’s Grace Ladoja MBE received the Entrepreneur Award in recognition of her bridge-building between music scenes in the UK and Nigeria. In addition, Kayleigh Thorpe of Little Runaway Management was revealed as the 2021 Breakthrough Manager for her work with Gerry Cinnamon.
The Black Music Coalition were named Industry Champions, while Karma Artists picked up the award for Writer/Producer Manager, and YMU Music Group were presented with the Team Achievement Award in recognition of their groundbreaking inclusion initiatives, including a Mental Health and Well-Being programme for clients and staff.
Presented by Capital FM’s Roman Kemp, the event featured live performances from Wes Nelson & Hardy Caprio, The Anchoress and Lucy McWilliams.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
MMF appoints new five-person board for 2021
The UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) has appointed its board for 2021, with members reelecting the association’s vice-chair, Kwame Kwaten (Ferocious Talent), and electing four new members.
As part of its annual general meeting yesterday (1 July), the MMF welcomed Adenike Durosaro (Big Drum Entertainment), Ross Patel (Whole Entertainment Group), Sandy Dworniak (This Much Talent/Twisted Talent) and Karl Nielson (William Orbit, Maeve) as board members, with Adam Tudhope (Everybody’s Management), Lisa Ward (Red Light Management), Ric Salmon (ATC Management) and Rachael Bee (ILuvLive).
At the AGM, MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick revealed that the association has increased its membership from 700 in 2019 to more than 1,200 today. She puts the the dramatic increase to successes in outreach, training and campaigning, including new initiatives such as Unite (the MMF’s forum to discuss race, anti-racism and injustice, run in collaboration with The Zoo XYZ), emergency funding programme ReBuild, which has provided nearly £500,000 of support to managers’ businesses to survive the pandemic, and the continued development of Accelerator, the grants and education programme for music managers.
The MMF’s membership, she said, is now 38% female or non-binary/gender non-confirming and 29 black, Asian or minority-ethnic.
Seven new associate partnerships were also announced at the AGM: livestreaming platform Moment House, funding platform beatBread, NFT marketplaces Bondly and Serenade, revenue share platform Shout4, advertising platform Feed and royalty firm CWorks. These companies join the MMF’s 44 existing associate members, including Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, TikTok and Songtrust.
Coldrick also gave an update on the MMF’s advocacy work, including #LetTheMusicMove, the campaign to end post-Brexit restrictions around European touring which now has the backing of more than 1,000 artists.
“It’s been a ludicrously tough 12 months and throughout the MMF has rallied to support the management community with initiatives like ReBuild, Unite and Accelerator, extensive virtual learning sessions and tireless campaigning and advocacy work. I’ve no doubt it’s why we’ve seen such a huge and rapid increase in our membership,” she says. “Music management can be an isolating and highly pressurised way of making a living, and I’m proud of the way the MMF continues to be an organisation where knowledge is shared and everyone is welcome.”
“As board members, the contribution made by Adam Tudhope, Lisa Ward, Ric Salmon and Rachael Bee has been immense, and I’d like to thank them sincerely for their generosity and input over many years of service,” comments MMF chair Craig.
“Alongside my redoubtable vice-chair, Kwame Kwaten, I would also like to welcome our four new board members Nike, Ross, Sandy and Karl. Their expertise and experience will be vital as we strive to ensure the MMF makes ongoing progress to represent all in our community.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
MMF updates guide to mental health
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has published a new expanded version of the MMF Guide to Mental Health 2021 – a free online resource tailored specifically to the wellbeing concerns of modern-day managers.
Stress management, imposter syndrome, anxiety and depression, alcoholism and drug dependency, and healthy boundaries are among the issues addressed in the guide, which also includes a full directory of professional support services and signposting to further reading and detailed expertise.
The updated version, which is being discussed today at music industry conference The Great Escape, is co-authored with Sam Parker of specialist music mental health consultants Parker Consulting and co-founder of Music Support.
MMF Chair and Biffy Clyro manager Paul Craig has penned the introduction and chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK David Joseph has written the guide’s closing words.
“Managers often experience extreme stress which has only recently been properly recognised”
“I’m really proud that the MMF continues to recognise the importance of mental health support for music managers and artists,” says MMF chair and Biffy Clyro manager, Paul Craig.
“Through initiatives like this updated guide and our revised Code of Practice we continue to be part of a vital industry-wide conversation. Managers and artists often experience extreme stress, with a myriad of highs and lows, which has only recently been properly recognised and which the pandemic has exacerbated and placed immense focus on. The more we talk openly and candidly about these pressures, the better the safeguarding and guidance everyone will be able to provide in the coming years.”
Sam Parker, co-author of the MMF Mental Health Guide, says: “Music has the power to educate, to break down cultural, social and economic barriers, to influence politics and promote cultural appreciation. As an audience member at a live show it can make you dance, sing and share a common experience with those around you that will be remembered forever. It enriches the human experience.
“What better job could there be than to facilitate this? But sometimes the level of intensity can take its toll. This updated guide takes some of those challenges and presents solutions, which I hope will allow artist managers to successfully support the work and careers of their artists without sacrificing their own health and well-being in the process. All whilst performing a job that is truly unique. I look forward to discussing the nature of this relationship and the guide at the Great Escape today.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
UK orgs react to new PRS tariff for small live streams
Key organisations from the UK’s music industry have criticised PRS for Music for its new “ill-conceived” licence for small-scale livestreamed gigs, following last year’s backlash about the proposed tariff for larger livestreamed events.
The UK performance rights organisation has today launched a new licensing portal for music creators, venues and promoters wanting to stage livestream small-scale events, which will impose a flat fee equating to a minimum 9% tariff on events generating less than £500.
The blanket rate for a show that generates less than £250 is £22.50, and £45 for an event that generates between £250 and £500.
The move follows the last year’s proposal that larger livestream events should be subject to a tariff of between 8% and 17% of gross revenues, compared to 4.2% charged at normal in-person live shows.
This prompted Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) to send a joint letter – countersigned by more than 50 artist managers – to PRS for Music CEO Andrea Martin last month urging her to reconsider the move.
“[PRS] need to commit to a full and transparent industry-wide consultation before issuing invoices to cash-strapped artists”
PRS says it will not be actively pursuing licences for livestreamed events that took place prior to the launch of the new portal, which would have qualified for the fixed fee licence.
Commenting on the new licence for small-scale livestreamed concerts, David Martin, CEO at FAC, and Annabella Coldrick, chief executive at MMF, say: “All of us want songwriters and composers to be paid fairly and efficiently for the use of their work, but this is not the way to go about it. Once again, we would urge PRS for Music to stop acting unilaterally.
“They need to urgently listen to the growing concerns of artists and their representatives during the pandemic, implement a waiver for performer-writers to opt-out of such fees, and commit to a full and transparent industry-wide consultation before issuing invoices to cash-strapped artists.”
“Unilaterally announcing ill-conceived new tariffs in a crisis is not such a discussion”
Mark Davyd, CEO at Music Venue Trust, added: “The live music industry, including grassroots music venues, artists and promoters, is in crisis mode and pulling together. The team at MVT have been in regular correspondence with PRS for Music throughout this crisis on how we can work together to ensure everyone emerges from this crisis and we can get back to work. At no time during those conversations has anybody suggested that a new tariff for streaming would be created. We have not been consulted on this, advised of it, or even notified of it prior to a press release being issued.
“The principal beneficiaries of paid streaming during this crisis have been artists. The beneficiaries of charitable streaming, online broadcasts by artists to raise money for causes, have included venues, crew, artists, and the wider community, including healthcare workers, food banks and homeless charities.
“It is unclear from this press statement whether PRS for Music wishes to clampdown on artists paying themselves or on artists supporting charities, but we would strongly suggest that neither should have been advanced to the stage of an announcement of a Tariff without understanding the most basic economics of what streaming is actually doing during this crisis.
“We remain available to discuss the realities of streaming during this crisis with PRS for Music if they wish to have an informed discussion on it. Unilaterally announcing ill-conceived new tariffs in a crisis is not such a discussion.”
“[PRS] is continuing to work to agree a range of licensing options for larger events, including a proposed discount”
Andrea Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, says: “We recognise the importance of providing simple licensing solutions wherever possible and the licensing portal for small-scale online events is an example of this. We are continuing to work hard to agree a range of licensing options for providers of larger events, including a proposed discounted rate during the pandemic.
“This is a part of the market which has seen exponential growth and is itself constantly evolving, meeting the expectations for worldwide blanket licences is alone no small feat, but we are committed to finding solutions which ensure members can be paid fairly when their works are performed.”
John Truelove, writer director, PRS Members’ Council, says: “Composers and songwriters have faced monumental challenges this past year. So, the huge surge in the online live concert market beyond anyone’s expectations, is positive news all round. It is great that so many artists are performing online concerts to stay connected with fans, to earn a living, and to promote new releases.
“Anyone wanting to hold small online ticketed gigs can now get a PRS licence in a simple and straightforward way. This will create even more opportunities for artists, musicians and writers to thrive together while ensuring that songwriters and composers are being properly paid when their music is performed.”
PRS is proposing to apply temporary discounted rates on livestream licensing for bigger events until the live sector can reopen – though these are yet to be determined.
Managers, artists slam proposed UK livestream tariff
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) have written to PRS for Music, the UK performance rights organisation, to protest a proposed new tariff for livestreamed concerts, which the associations criticise as “unworkable” and punitive to artists.
The MMF/FAC letter, which can be read in full here, is countersigned by more than 50 artist managers, including representatives for Dua Lipa, Biffy Clyro, Liam Gallagher, Bicep, Fontaines DC, Gorillaz and Yungblud, as well as a group of FAC member artists and songwriters.
The proposed tariff for live streams, described by PRS as a “temporary experimental and non-precedential rate structure”, has been devised without any consultation with industry. It would see a fee of up to 17% of gross ticket sales levied on livestreamed events, and would apply retrospectively to events which have already happened.
Even for the smallest events (those grossing under £50,000), the tariff would be 8% – double the 4% generally charged on a physical concert under the existing tariff ‘LP’.
The proposed tariff, particularly at the top royalty rate, compares unfavourably to the rates charged in several other European countries: The Netherlands’ Buma, for example, has a 7% tariff for live streams, while Germany’s Gema licenses live streams under its existing VR-OD 10 tariff, which is charged at a flat rate up to a maximum of €1,200. (By contrast, 17% of £450,000 is £76,500.)
“A starting rate 8%, rising to 17%, will make livestreaming unviable, for [all] artists”
The letter, addressed to PRS for Music chief executive Andrea Martin, says that while the associations accept that songwriters must be compensated fairly for use of their work in live streams, the 8–17% rate will make livestreaming – a format which has “presented artists with one of their few opportunities to perform and connect with their fans” this year – financially “unviable, for both the smallest emerging artists and the biggest superstar acts”.
“The larger, most-successful events involve significant production costs, and have provided a lifeline to crew and other industry workers,” write MMF’s Annabella Coldrick and FAC’s David Martin. “At the other end of the scale, livestreaming has been increasingly important for emerging artists and those operating in niche genres. For the sake of all artists, songwriters and the wider industry, it is crucial that this new format is allowed to grow and thrive.
“Charging artists up to four times the live [LP] rate strangles, rather than nurtures, this innovation. For some of the smaller artists who have just covered their costs livestreaming, it will be impossible to find this additional money retrospectively.”
According to the MMF and FAC, PRS has so far declined to enter into consultation about the proposed tariff, and it’s for this reason the bodies are making their position public. Additionally, they are inviting more managers and artists to add their signatures to the letter to demand a “full and transparent consultation”.
“The proposed online live concert pilot licence scheme is still evolving”
This consultation, the letter concludes, “should also aim to provide certainty that PRS actually holds a mandate to license livestreaming events on a global basis.
“Until that process is concluded, we are working on the basis that the current live tariff is the applicable rate to these ticketed events.”
Responding, a PRS for Music spokesperson says: “PRS For Music members, alongside many others across our sector, have been very badly impacted by the shutdown of live music this year. We welcome the many initiatives to move live concerts online and PRS For Music has designed an online live concert licence, which will allow the necessary rights to be licensed.
“The proposed pilot licence scheme is still evolving. As conversations with our partners are active and ongoing, it would not be right for us to provide further detail or comment at this stage while we await their assessment and feedback.
“Of course, our primary role is to protect our members’ rights and to ensure they are paid fairly for their work, which is more important than ever now. We hope that these conversation will progress quickly.”
UK live industry cautiously welcomes £1.57bn aid
British live music industry leaders have said they stand ready to work closely with government on the details of its £1.57 billion culture rescue fund, but cautioned that the whole live music ecosystem must be protected.
The financial aid package of emergency grants and loans must also be complemented by an exemption in VAT for the sector, a government-backed insurance scheme for shows and a conditional date for reopening, they say.
Sunday’s announcement about the support package followed the hugely successful #LetTheMusicPlay day, which saw 1,500 artists write directly to culture secretary Oliver Dowden and tens of millions of fans posting online about the importance of live music, a £4.5bn sector that employs 210,000 people.
The campaign, coordinated by members of the UK Live Music Group and Concert Promoters’ Association (CPA), with additional support from UK Music, trended at No1 globally on Twitter and attracted media coverage around the world.
“Thousands of artists, venues, festivals, managers, agents, promoters and production crew came together for #LetTheMusicPlay, and we must ensure that all of them receive the support that they so desperately need,” says Phil Bowdery, chair of the CPA.
“We stand ready to work closely with the government to ensure that this world-class industry survives”
“We stand ready to work closely with the government to ensure that this world-class industry survives.”
Live music was one of the first industries to close as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and concerts are not expected to return in full force until well into 2021. According to member research compiled by live music associations over the six month period between October 2020 and March 2021, the operating costs of the broader live music sector will be £298.8million. This figure is in addition to the £47m required by grassroots music venues, called for by Music Venue Trust.
“The government’s £1.57bn package for the arts is welcome, but we lack detail of how funding will be allocated for music,” comments Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum. “The thousands who work and perform in our sector desperately require comprehensive support if their jobs and livelihoods are to be sustained.”
Kilimanjaro Live MD Stuart Galbraith, co-chair of the CPA, adds: “We are ready to work on the details of the scheme, and our other requests – a VAT exemption for the sector, a government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead, and a timeline for safe reopening without social distancing – at the government’s convenience.
“We look forward to this ongoing discussion shortly.”
Managers peg October as earliest return for live
The latest IQ Focus session saw a line-up of international artist managers discuss the timeline for reopening, potential changes to artists’ contracts post-Covid-19 and monetisation of live streams.
The session, presented in partnership with the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and hosted by MMF chair Paul Craig, featured Kaiya Milan (Off Balance Group/The Sorority House & Co.), Marc Thomas (Red Light Management/Go Artist Management), Meg Symsyk (eOne Management/MMF Canada) and Per Kviman (Versity Music/MMF Sweden/EMMA).
Thomas compared the constant cancelling and rescheduling of shows in recent weeks to “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic”, adding that he has been “targeting markets” such as Australia and certain parts of the US, which are likely “to get back to live more quickly”.
Thomas said he has accepted two offers for artists to play in the US in October – the earliest dates he’s looking at – including at “a leading festival”. A caveat in the contract allows the team to reassess 28 days out, in case there is a second spike.
Artists will also need to weigh up whether to take the hit of losing a couple of weeks in quarantine in order to do four weeks of solid touring in countries such as Australia, he said, highlighting the obstacles of a post-coronavirus world.
“I’m not optimistic that these things are going to run smoothly”
“I’m not optimistic that these things are going to run smoothly,” said Milan, referring to events scheduled for the autumn. Managers have been receiving offers with clauses allowing the promoter to cancel at any point, she said, which works out ok for “more established artists” but is a big risk for lesser known acts.
“I’m in a space where I know anything can happen.”
Versity Music manager Kviman agreed that things remain too uncertain for now, saying he is not putting new tours out until September 2021 as “people aren’t ready to buy tickets at this point”. Tours that had already sold lots of tickets prior to the Covid-19 crisis are being rescheduled for May 2021.
Craig asked whether any new opportunities had come out of the crisis for managers and artists, with panellists agreeing that livestreaming had presented a variety of options, if not always significant from a financial point of view.
Symsyk said live streams had, in general, worked more effectively for electronic or hip-hop acts. Bands have tended to face more technical difficulties and have often not been satisfied with the quality of streams. “[For bands, livestreaming] has worked ok for charity events, but hasn’t been worth it from a financial point of view”, she said.
Thomas, who works predominantly with electronic acts, said he has “leant into livestreaming a lot”. One act sold $15,000 in merchandise while playing in a virtual edition of Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival festival.
“You can’t ask fans to pay for a ticket as a live stream doesn’t replace the experience of going to a festival, but you can sell off the back of it”
“You can’t ask fans to pay for a ticket as a live stream doesn’t replace the experience of going to a festival,” he said, “but you can sell off the back of it.”
Milan said there was more opportunity for grassroots artists to make money from paid live streams as audiences want to support them. “Livestreaming is the way people can see to help out and get something in return at the moment”, she said, which “works for a certain level of artist”.
Although the grassroots sector is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus shutdown, Symsyk noted that the current situation is giving “a window of opportunity to focus on local talent” in Canada.
Turning to when live does return, Thomas stressed the need for “everyone to have a bit more give”.
“The reality is, in this situation, everyone needs to win, and I don’t win by getting the agent to squeeze the promoter so hard he has to pay me half the fee if the show cancels […] and he loses a load of money.
“We need everyone in this system for the system to function.”
Thomas said he accepted, to a certain extent, Live Nation’s recently expressed intention to adjust artists guarantees down for shows in the future.
“We need everyone in this system for the system to function”
“Promoters are the most exposed out of everybody and they’re not going to put these big guarantees out anymore,” he said, “it’s going to go on the backend.” This kind of “give and take” will be essential from all sides when rebuilding the business.
From a practical point of view, we can expect to see social distancing and other measures in place for a while as “not doing anything is not an option, however unpalatable the measures may be”, said Craig.
Outdoor shows seem to be a much better option than indoor shows, and a lot more scalable too in terms of keeping to distancing rules, said Thomas. Targeting the right age range is also important, as “kids think they’re invincible”.
For Milan, the deciding factor is whether people felt ready to go back into social situations as, “if they are, they will do whatever they have to” to get back to gigs or festivals, no matter how inconvenient the measures are.
Craig agreed, pointing out that we have all become accustomed to things that would have seemed unthinkable six months ago.
“If people want to go to a show, they will do whatever is necessary to go.”
Music managers step up for next IQ Focus
The next in the weekly series of IQ Focus virtual panel discussions features an international line-up of music managers, who will discuss the unique challenges the Covid-19 crisis has posed for their side of the business.
The session, IQ Focus & The MMF: Managing the Crisis, will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 18 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.
With the bulk of artists dependent on live music revenue and audience connection, the Covid-19 crisis has decimated livelihoods.
But what does it mean for their managers? The individuals thrown into salvaging campaigns, rescheduling tours, interpreting contractual changes and navigating the most uncertain of futures. How are their own businesses faring? And what do they see as the challenges – and hopefully opportunities – ahead for the live sector, in what we are all optimistically calling the “new normal”.
Drawing on expert global perspectives, and from managers working across multiple genres, Thursday’s session will be moderated by MMF Chair Paul Craig (Nostromo Management) and feature Kaiya Milan (Off Balance Group/The Sorority House & Co.), Marc Thomas (Red Light Management/Go Artist Management), Meg Symsyk (eOne Management/MMF Canada) and Per Kviman (Versity Music/MMF Sweden/EMMA).
Black music executives set out standards for industry
A collective of Black music executives in the UK has sent a letter to heads of companies including Live Nation, Universal Music Group and Spotify, laying out five “immediate calls to action” to tackle structural and systematic racism within the music industry.
The letter builds on Black Out Tuesday last week, which saw the global music business down tools in solidarity with anti-racism protestors in the US and in order to reflect on what steps need to be taken to address racism in the industry and wider society.
Following on from the demonstration, which was promoted through the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, executives from Metropolis Music, the Music Managers Forum (MMF), Ministry of Sound, Sony Music, UMG, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, and more, have come together under the #TheShowMustBePausedUK initiative and newly formed Black Music Coalition to call for immediate changes at the UK’s biggest live and recorded music companies.
“The music industry has long been a microcosm for [racial] injustices and they continue to play out within the companies you lead”
Directed to “chairman, CEOs presidents and music industry leaders”, the letter calls on companies to implement mandatory anti-racism/unconscious bias training; commit money each year to Black organisations, educational projects and charities in the UK; implement career development for Black staff to ensure greater representation at senior management level; replace the term “urban music” with “Black music”; and establish a dedicated equality and diversity task force.
“It is a widely shared belief that the music industry has long been a microcosm for these injustices and they continue to play out within the companies you lead, companies which we are a part of,” reads the letter.
“Your public statements of support throughout the recent times were impassioned and we appreciated them, but we now want to drive forward tangible changes, giving power to that show of support.
“We expect that these long overdue steps will be implemented in a comprehensive manner to translate your empathy into a legacy of lasting change and we look forward to working with you to ensure that this happens.”
The letter can be read in full below, along with a list of signatories:
Dear Chairmen, CEOs, Presidents and Music Industry Leaders,
The past few weeks and months have been filled with visceral and overwhelming emotions of frustration, grief and sadness following the violent and untimely deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in America and what the circumstances of their deaths repeated to us about the position of Black people, the value of Black lives and livelihood and of the pervasive stain of racism in our society.
As the Black community mourned, many of us working in this and other industries tried to adopt our usual coping mechanism of suppressing our trauma caused from witnessing the disregard for Black life, but this time was different, we found and find ourselves unable to do so.
For far too long, the global Black community have faced racial injustice, inequality and disenfranchisement across all aspects of society and here in the UK, is no different.
As Black British people, we know of and have seen members of our community overpoliced, brutally treated and die at the hands of institutionally racist police forces and recount for example the deaths of Sarah Reed, Rashan Charles, Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg and many more. Simply put, the UK is not innocent.
Further, we are all facing an unprecedented global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus yet still, it is Black and Brown members of society who are being disproportionately affected e.g. Public Health England COVID19: Review of Disparities in risks and outcomes study shows that Black males in the UK are 4.2 times more likely to die from a Covid- 19 related death than white males. Throughout this public health crisis, racism also continues to rear its head; we witnessed a blatant indifference to Black lives most recently, in the case of Black front-line key worker Belly Mujinga, who was made to work in a public facing position despite her bosses being aware she had underlying health conditions, consequently died from Coronavirus having been assaulted by a white male. The investigation into her case was swiftly closed by the police and only reopened following immense public pressure and a peaceful protest in London.
The music industry has long profited from the rich and varied culture of Black people
These situations illustrate the ways structural and systemic racism creates poor outcomes for Black people and the Black community at large.
The music industry has long profited from the rich and varied culture of Black people for many generations but overall, we feel it has failed to acknowledge the structural and systematic racism affecting the very same Black community and so effectively, enjoying the rhythm and ignoring the blues. We feel that as an industry, we cannot continue to benefit and profit, whilst continuing to ignore the issues of the community we benefit and profit so much from, issues which affect far too many of our artists in one way or another.
In the US, Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas launched #TheShowMustBePaused initiative and their mission was clear – to give us all a moment; a moment to pause, to exhale and find some solace. Here in the UK, the message resonated with many of us Black executives and as a result we launched #TheShowMustBePausedUK, coming together to discuss what permanent change we needed to bring about within our beloved industry.
Coming together and talking about the events outlined herein and our shared experiences, caused us to relive the many instances of injustice, racist comments and marginalisation across our lives including in our experiences within this industry. It is a widely shared belief that the music industry has long been a microcosm for these injustices and they continue to play out within the companies you lead, companies which we are a part of. As a result of the passionate and thought-provoking conversations over the last week; the consensus is clear – the time for change is NOW.
The consensus is clear – the time for change is NOW
As the leaders across the UK industry, who stood in solidarity with us for #BlackOutTuesday, publicly declaring your support and commitment to change, here are our immediate calls to action:
- Mandatory Anti-Racism/Unconscious Bias training across each respective company for all non-Black members of staff, led by Black Educators in the field and complimentary counselling and holistic services made available for Black members of staff with immediate effect.
- For each company to commit a specified annual budget to financially support Black organisations, educational projects and charities across the UK e.g. The Black Curriculum.
- Career development implemented for Black staff across all business areas including long standing consultants in order to develop the next generation of leaders. To address, challenge and change the lack of Black staff at Senior Management level and no Black female President/Chairwomen across the industry.
- Following statements from major labels and management companies, the term “Urban music” is to be removed from your company verbiage and replaced with “Black Music”.
- Establish a dedicated internal task force to review, and with the remit to drive and challenge both the Equality and Diversity aims within your business structure, and the advancement of Black executives across your business including equal pay, mentorship and career progression.
Your public statements of support throughout the recent times were impassioned and we appreciated them, but we now want to drive forward tangible changes, giving power to that show of support.
We expect that these long overdue steps will be implemented in a comprehensive manner to translate your empathy into a legacy of lasting change and we look forward to working with you to ensure that this happens.
The Black Music Coalition, The Show Must Be Paused UK, and on behalf of Black executives from Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, BMG, Live Nation UK, Spotify and MMF.
Music Managers Forum partners with TikTok
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has announced an associate partnership with viral short-form video app TikTok.
TikTok – which has been downloaded more than two billion times globally – has been playing an increasingly important role in artist campaigns of late, helping music makers and their teams connect with audiences during the Covid-19 lockdown, including through its TikTok Live Sessions (which follow on from a starring role at this year’s Brit Awards).
Notable music 2020 successes on the platform include include Young T and Bugsey’s #dontrushchallenge (2K Management), Robyn’s #onmyown (DEF Management), Years & Years’ #breathechallenge (YMU Group) and Little Mix’s #BUSStayHome (Modest! Management).
The MMF’s associate programme enables artist-focussed music services to build direct relationships with the association’s network of more than 850 UK-based managers.
Activities already planned under the associate partnership with the MMF include access to best-practice resources on TikTok for MMF members, virtual training sessions co-hosted by TikTok and leading UK managers, and an in-person event in London, likely to be in autumn 2020.
“TikTok’s impact has been truly phenomenal”
Annabella Coldrick, MMF CEO, says: “Watching artists and music makers pick up and experiment with new technologies is always fascinating, but TikTok’s impact has been truly phenomenal. The MMF is delighted to have them onboard as an associate, particularly at such a challenging time, and I believe this partnership will deliver deep and lasting value to our membership and the talent they represent.”
“TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy to our users, and artists and their music have been a central part of this creative process since the app launched,” adds Paul Hourican, UK head of music operations for TikTok.
“We’re looking forward to working with the MMF to help managers make the most of our platform and connect artists with TikTok’s global audience, expanding the ways in which they can continue to creatively engage with fans, create lasting connections and drive success in all areas of their work.”
Read IQ’s November 2019 Q&A with TikTok’s head of music partnerships Europe, Farhad Zand, on how live businesses can utilise the platform here.