The Recording Academy and the Color of Change organization on Thursday announced the release of their jointly created Roadmap to #ChangeMusic, designed to foster greater racial equality and justice in the music industry, with a particular emphasis on Black artists and workers.
The effort is an expansion of Change Hollywood, the initiative formed in collaboration between Color of Change and actor Michael B. Jordan.
Among the steps, the roadmap challenges businesses within the music industry to:
• Fund anti-racism training and “independent racial justice workplace and organizational audits” and commit to adopt specific recommendations produced by them.
• Establish transparency in information regarding staff diversity and equality or anti-racism measures and advocate for transparency across the industry.
• Establish “proactive” policies regarding the recruitment and retention of “Black people at all levels including specifically, women and LGBTQIA+ Black people,” and increase the number of Black people at the leadership level.
• “Critically examine the treatment of Black artists” and thoroughly examine past deals for inequities or bad faith.
• Increase the amount of Black industry-related services and projects providers.
The roadmap also calls on employers to provide paid time off for elections or for participation in civic and social advocacy, commit financial and reputational resources to causes like voter rights and registration, and become involved in local, state and national issues affecting the music industry.
In addition, the roadmap asks that the industry align with movements opposing police violence and systemic racism.
See the official #ChangeMusic website here. Read the letter announcing the roadmap below:
Tracing the history of American music reveals a fundamental reality about representation in the music industry: Black contributions to the industry have been and continue to be undervalued.
Black creatives and professionals’ rich contributions have undeniably shaped the music industry into what it is today. They have created styles of music, the culture, the trends, and the success of this business — yet too often are left unheralded and excluded from the rooms in which the most important decisions are made. To honor and amplify Black people’s past, present, and future contributions, the music industry must tear down the barriers to full participation and equitable treatment. This moment offers an unparalleled opportunity to change patterns of exclusion and degradation and take action toward progress. #ChangeMusic is our first step.
The #ChangeMusic Roadmap is a Color Of Change initiative in partnership with the Recording Academy that provides a call to action across the industry so that every individual involved, regardless of status, can make a difference. Whether it’s demanding change or acting as a decision maker, we can all work together to move the music industry towards racial justice. Developing a sustainable roadmap is crucial to that pursuit.
This work expands on the #ChangeHollywood Initiative, a collaboration between Color Of Change and Michael B. Jordan that provides concrete steps that individuals and organizations in Hollywood can take to move the industry toward racial justice. Following this model, #ChangeMusic supports autonomous progress within the music industry. Together these efforts have the power to shape our culture and the ways people think about race in our country as a whole.
1. Statement of Purpose:
* To work to increase the number of Black people and other underrepresented groups in key roles in
the Academy, our affiliates and across the broader industry (i.e. voting members, musicians,
producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals). This requires efforts that will
not only increase greater equity through diversity and inclusion but will also ensure representation
of Black people and people of color in decision making positions. By doing so, we shift the culture of
the industry at large.
* To ensure greater equity by increasing representation of Black people and other underrepresented
groups in critical roles throughout the broader music industry. Achieving this goal first requires a
commitment to full transparency, which begins with data outlining the number of Black people and
people of color in crucial roles to determine where there is underrepresentation. Further, this
greater transparency must include an intersectional analysis of data that takes into account gender,
sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and age where possible to effectively address true
diversity and inclusion.
*To identify and dismantle systemic barriers to representation and equitable treatment of Black
people and other under-represented groups across the industry. This too requires a commitment to
transparency and self-examination by those who currently hold power in the industry to identify the
key shortcomings in the industry’s treatment of Black people.
* Racial Justice is defined here to mean dismantling and replacing every norm, system, structure, rule,
assumption and idea that enables racial discrimination, promotes the idea that white people are
superior and nonwhite people are inferior, results in the denial of freedom and care for people of
color, or prevents the self-determination and self-realization of people of color.
* Diversity is defined here to mean the range of human differences and presence of people with a
wide range of identities and backgrounds that should be engaged and included to achieve business
* Equity is defined to mean recognizing the advantages and barriers that require the need for
differentiated strategies to bring people to parity and to achieve equitable outcomes.
* Inclusion is defined to mean a collaborative, supportive and respectful environment that increases
the participation and ongoing engagement of people from diverse backgrounds in the culture,
business practices and processes.
3. Closing the Gap Roadmap
1. INVEST IN BLACK TALENT + CAREERS:
a. Adopt this roadmap as an industry wide tool to assess and commit to real diversity and
inclusion. Promote it wherever you have influence.
b. Fund anti-racist trainings and fund independent racial justice workplace and organizational
c. Commit to adopting specific recommendations from trainings and audits, such as pay
equity and other anti-racist workplace policies and practices, and promote them across the
industry in general.
d. Disclose information about staff diversity as well as reporting on equity and anti-racist
workplace measures. Advocate for disclosure across all the organizations with which you are
associated or have influence.
e. Establish proactive recruitment, support, retention and training measures for Black people
at all levels including specifically, women and LGBTQIA+ Black people.
f. Critically examine the treatment of Black artists. Revisit legacy contracts for any inequities
or anomalies. Question whether the deal terms offered are equitable for the Black creator,
and whether the attorney representing the creator is offering truly independent advice.
g. Increase the number of Black people in leadership in your organization: board members,
voting members, executives and senior leaders. True diversity must include increasing the
number of people with executive decision making ability, budgeting and hiring authority, as
well as authority throughout the production or management process regarding the hiring of
consultants and vendors.
h. Increase the number of Black vendors, contractors and crew for industry-related services
and projects, especially for industry sectors that have traditionally excluded Black
people.Tailor and implement inclusion riders for industry-related events and projects
2. COMMIT TO TRANSPARENT REPORTING OF BLACK REPRESENTATION:
a. Conduct a third-party and public facing diversity audit that represents all levels of staff
(board, leadership, managers, non-managerial employees, vendors, contractors, and crew).
b. Annually report pay disparities as it relates to race and gender. If discrepancies are found,
build a comprehensive plan to build towards pay equity.
c. Generate a report at least twice a year of funds allocated internally and externally for DEI
d. Examine contracts and ensure a transparent and fair royalty distribution plan for artists.
3. ALIGN + PARTNER WITH THE BLACK COMMUNITY:
a. Contract with Black-owned and Black-led businesses, and maintain a roster of local Black
b. Partner with brands that are in alignment with anti-racist social justice values and invested
in supporting Black communities.
c. Commit to supporting programs and community initiatives that elevate, support and
empower Black communities.
4. PROMOTE CIVIC ADVOCACY + PARTICIPATION:
a. Give employees paid time off for participating in national elections and encourage civic
advocacy and participation.
b. Commit financial and social capital to thwart inequity in the civic process including
non-partisan organizations advocating for voting rights and voter registration and educating on the legislative process.
c. Elevate policy issues on local, state and federal levels that affect the industry at large and
provide action steps.
5.INVEST IN BLACK SAFETY:
a. Align with and support the current calls around reexamining the role of police in Black
communities and addressing structural issues in the criminal justice system.
b. When possible, hire independent security firms for security at events and on sets. Assess
relationships with police unions.
c. Where you can use your voice, work to adopt transformative changes in the criminal justice
system, and to shift investments to Black communities