ERIC Mag logo grey.png

Posted on 01 June 2018 by Natasha moore

Despite being one of the most dynamic industries to have the privilege of being employed in, the music industry still has a long way to go in terms of change.

Let me explain my views with my 5 pointers below:

1. Close the gender pay gap

Some say because men have more confidence than women when asking for a pay rise or promotion that this has led to the salary difference between the genders? Could this really be the case, or is there more behind it? As reported by music business worldwide, women working at one of the three major labels in the UK earn over a third less than their male counterparts. Live nation is also in the firing line with a damning 88% difference between bonus payments between male and females.

Perhaps the wakeup call for change should've been the acknowledgment from McKinsey consultancy in 2015 with the managing partner noting that there is a 2 - 4 percent increase in profits for every 10% increase in gender diversity. Even though it should be morals which lessen the gap, ultimately money talks. Maybe it needs to talk a bit louder!

2. Stop exploiting entry level/ graduates  

Work experience, internships, entry level roles, all underpaid and difficult to gain. In my own experience I was quoted a salary of £14,000 p.a. for a marketing assistant role at a record label here in London. That will really go well towards my tent and sleeping bag as a modest normal flat would just about be out of the question. It seems to me like the industry as a whole knows just how popular it is, how desperate people are to get into the business and so companies can easily manipulate the working conditions to their favour. This has to stop whether you're part - time, full-time, permanent or temporary, you should be entitled to a  liveable wage, and not forced to maybe work several jobs simultaneously to 'follow your passion'. Equal wages should be mandatory but unfortunately appears at the discretion of some music name firms.

3. Put work ethic before contacts

Make it less about who you've got on speed dial and more about the dedication and work ethic. As I may have highlighted in one of my earlier posts, it is about who you know but should it really have to be that way? Relationships are important but what if I live in a small town, I don't have access to panels and networking as readily as my city counterparts, then what? You will get the most out of people when you allow them to feel fulfilled in their role, many passionate people I know have wanted to be in this industry for years and have had the door repeatedly closed in their face. All because the friend of a friend who sort of likes music got the job. I know life's not fair but couldn't we open our eyes to a larger talent pool every once in a while?   

4. Increase the number of women headlining acts

The named and shamed are seeming to get their act together but there still is a lot of room for improvement. In 2017 Reading and Leeds festivals shockingly had 57 :1 male to female performers reported by Crack in the Road. Not wanting to hold onto that statistic to share with the grandkids, the popular music extravaganza created a project called 'ReBalance' giving 36 female artists a week's studio time in order to create a bigger pool of potential performers when it comes to their booking line - ups. How do you feel about this? Is it something more festivals should consider or should this vetting-like system really need to exist specifically for female musicians?

5. Fair payment for the songwriter

Let's be honest, without the songwriter there would be no music. Yet despite having this credibility, the reflection in the payment of royalties to the songwriter (knight in shining armour of the music industry)  is anything but credible.

With a very recent report on how songwriters will now receive an increase in the royalty rates of their music being paid out by streaming services, the phrase 'better late than never' springs to mind.

If it's not streaming services putting the livelihood of the upcoming songwriter in jeopardy it's the label vs. publisher predicament. Historically record labels are able to negotiate better terms on what pay outs they will have to make to the artists, publishers etc as oppose to publishers. Who don't get to call the shots in the same way it can be suggested.

If we don't pay the songwriters fairly, then it may just turn into a hobby for the vast majority, so think of the 'I Will Always Love You' and the 'No Woman No Cry' tracks scribbled into the notepad under the bed of the 'should've could've would've' been songwriter.

Please let's not let this happen!!

Change is always difficult, the question is, is it too difficult?

We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts below, tweet us at @eric_festival or instagram us at @ericfestival!