subscribe: Posts | Comments

Music sector reports on discrimination


ISM, Incorporated Society of Musicians, survery, sexism, interim report, discrimination, music sector, troubling resultsCalls for a change in the culture across the whole sector.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the UK’s professional body for musicians, released an interim report recently setting out its findings regarding discrimination and inappropriate behaviour in the music sector.

Founded in 1882, the ISM champions the importance of music and protect the rights of those working in music with a range of services, campaigns, support and practical advice. An independent, non-profit-making organisation, it supports almost 8,500 members from all branches of the profession and work across all genres and disciplines.

In the wake of recent revelations regarding inappropriate behaviour in many different settings, concerns were raised in the music sector about incidents of discrimination including sexual harassment.

So on 2 November 2017, ISM launched a survey which asked musicians to offer their suggestions as to how it can improve the culture and conditions in which all musicians work, and to share their personal experiences on a completely anonymous basis.

This interim report, ‘Dignity at a work: A survey of discrimination in the music sector’, an analysis of the data received through the responses to that survey, has now been published.

The results are shocking.

For example: 59.61 per cent of the respondents stated that they had experienced discrimination, including sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour, in the course of their work as a professional musician.

71.71 per cent of these respondents identified as female, 17.10 per cent as male, 0.66 per cent as transgender and 10.53 per cent did not disclose their gender.

The interim report sets out a series of recommendations and calls on the music sector to work together to tackle the issues which have been highlighted in the ISM’s survey.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM, said: “The ISM is committed to working on a collaborative basis to improve the workplace for musicians and to secure change on a long-term basis.

“In the wake of recent revelations regarding inappropriate behaviour in many different settings, concerns have been raised in the music sector about incidents of discrimination including sexual harassment.

“The results of this survey have revealed a pattern of discriminatory behaviour in a broad range of workplaces.

“What is particularly troubling is the extent of sexual harassment within the music sector: almost 65 per cent of respondents who had experienced discrimination reported that they had been subject to sexual harassment.

“72 per cent of these respondents who answered regarding their employment status were self-employed.

“77 per cent of these respondents did not report their experiences, with fear of losing work far outweighing any other reason for not doing so.

“This fear was not limited to just sexual harassment but a common theme across all types of discriminations as the survey results highlight.

“The ISM is calling for a change in the culture across the whole of the music sector, starting in educational settings, from schools up to and including music colleges.

“There needs to be absolute clarity as to what is acceptable behaviour as well as the structures to support musicians in their work so that they can report their concerns without fear of retribution or judgement.

“To ensure that all musicians understand what their rights and duties are there needs to be comprehensive training and education.

“And we believe that all the above needs to be underpinned by a sector wide code which is recognised by all who work in the music sector.

“We do not underestimate the gravity of the problem which the ISM survey has uncovered and the extent of the work which needs to be done.

“We do however believe that by working together, the music sector can tackle these grave issues and make the workplace a place where musicians can work without experiencing discrimination of any kind.’

To view or download the report, ‘Dignity at work: a survey of discrimination in the music sector’, click here.

The survey is still open if you wish to take part: click here.

All ISM members have access to confidential advice from experienced in-house employment lawyers by contacting the ISM legal team at legal[at] or by contacting our 24-hour advice line on 01275 376 038. The ISM also runs a counselling helpline on 0800 042 0136.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *