Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight

Music has always transcended the barriers of culture, language, and prejudice, serving as a transformative force in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). WIN’s overarching commitment in this field is to amplify the initiatives of our members worldwide, which continuously champion these values.

Awards, programs, guidelines, policies and charters are developed and adopted by WIN members around the world, serving as tools for implementing tangible change. From promoting gender equality and embracing diversity to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and combating racism, independents are at the forefront of progressive movements.

Below is a roundup of our members’ work in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and some great flagship initiatives they have created or support: projects that are making a positive difference in the music sector and can serve as inspiration for others.

General strategies

IMPALA (Europe) count on a task force implementing their work in this area, including the Diversity and Inclusion Chartersurveying members and offering them training, setting out the business case for EDI, as well as practical tips for businesses and associations. IMPALA’s latest EDI annual report gives an overview on their progress.

Next to their own many great initiatives (see more below), AIM (UK) is part of UK Music, the collective voice of the UK’s music industry, and as such supports a wide range EDI initiatives including the Diversity Taskforce, biannual Workforce Survey, Ten-Point Plan and Five Ps Action Plan, as well as masterclass series.

CIMA (Canada) have published an Equity Statement against community violence and commitment to equity and inclusion. They also host a very extensive resource section on their website on a range of equity topics.

PMI (Italy) promote the Carta della Diversità & Inclusione (Diversity and Inclusion Charter), a program made up of 6 objectives aimed at fostering a culture oriented towards reducing inequalities and promoting talents in their diversity.

Gender

The Women in Music Mentor program is a training program aimed at empowering women in the Australian music industry. Created by AIR (Australia), it is designed to enable women to navigate their career and leadership pathways and develop skills.

ROMMDA is a collaborative space addressing gender disparities in Chile’s music sector with several partners, including IMICHILE (Chile), and over a thousand members spanning over 20 countries. Their Compromiso Morado initiative supports organizations committed to tackling gender imbalances.

MEWEM Europa implements and manages mentoring programs for women in the music industry in Europe. It promotes access to management positions, entrepreneurship and skills among young women. Project founders include FÉLIN (France) and VUT (Germany).

The Amplify Apprenticeship Scheme, launched by AIM in partnership with Women in CTRL, aims to boost diversity and inclusion in the UK independent music sector. Successful applicants fill Label Assistant roles and collaborate with A&R teams to spotlight and nurture women and non-binary talent on rosters.

Launched by AIM Ireland (Ireland) with a pilot event ‘Empowering Women in Music’, In The Round is a roundtable format, which aims to spotlight and amplify the voices of independent music industry professionals with a dedicated focus on diversity and inclusion.

Keychange is a global network and movement working towards reaching full gender equality. It offers a career development program, a gender balance pledge and a manifesto. Supporters include FÉLIN (France), VUT (Germany), IMNZ (New Zealand), AMAEI (Portugal), AIM (UK) and A2IM (USA).

Merlin Engage mentorship program pairs executive-level mentors with the next generation of talent, creating a unique environment for growth, learning, and empowerment. It is developed by Merlin, the independents’ digital music licensing partner.

Anti-racism

Breaking Down Racial Barriers was initiated as a roundtable series on anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry where CIMA served as a facilitator. The findings have been compiled into the BDRB Report Volumes 1 and 450 music companies have signed the BDRB Declaration.

The Black Independent Music Accelerator (BIMA) is a fellowship initiative created by A2IM (USA) with the intention of fighting for social and economic justice within the music industry by amplifying independent, Black-owned music businesses.

POWER UP supports Black music creators and industry professionals, addressing anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the UK music sector. It is co-founded by PRS Foundation and AIM‘s Director of Business Development & Partnerships, Ben Wynter, and managed in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition.

Health & Disability

Artist Pro is a paying benefit program offered by A2IM. It consists of a healthcare plan like Affordable Care Act options with slightly more favorable pricing. Artists who pay a $99 yearly fee have access to benefits including health plans, pet protection, life insurance, vision and dental coverage.

The Mental Health Webinar Series, hosted by CIMA, features six insightful sessions covering stress management, burnout prevention, dismantling anti-Black racism, boundary setting, conflict resolution, and time management.

AIM provide a set of resources on various topics including LGBTQ+ mental health support, musician’s mental health, approaching disability as successful employer and funding advice for disabled musicians. They also work closely with Attitude is Everything, an organization which connects disabled people with the live industries to improve access to music events.

Awards

IMPALA’s Changemaker Award puts the spotlight on projects which champion work on EDI and have an impact on the independent music sector in terms of making change happen and inspiring others to take action. Prizewinners include POWER UP and Women in CTRL.

The Music Week Women in Music Awards, in association with AIM and UK Music, is an annual celebration of the great careers of women and female-identifying people in the music business.

The Felix Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year is an annual award presented as part of the Félix Awards to honor music by First Nations and Inuit musicians in Quebec, created in 2019 by ADISQ.