BRISBANE, Australia — A united Australian music industry has apologized to the many women and men who’ve been subjected to abuse in the workplace, details of which are exposed in a damning new report.
Following a months-long consultation process, Raising Their Voices, a review into sexual harm, harassment, and systemic discrimination across the contemporary music industry, was made publicly available Thursday (Sept. 1) for the first time.
It makes for uncomfortable reading.
Based on the contributions of 1,600 victims, witnesses and advocates, the document paints a picture of widespread sexual harassment, sexual harm and bullying, with the vast majority of those incidents going unreported.
Among the key report figures, 55% of respondents experienced some form of workplace sexual harassment and sexual harm in their career; 76% experienced bullying at work during their careers; and 78% experienced some form of everyday sexism during their time working in the industry.
The perpetrators are rarely punished. In the past five years, only 3% of survey participants made a formal report for sexual harassment and 6% did so for bullying.
Today the Music Industry Review into Sexual Harm, Sexual Harassment and Systemic Discrimination report, Raising Their Voices, was released.
Our statement, along with links to the full report – is on the Music Industry Review website: https://t.co/LDp8nwLB16
— APRA AMCOS (@APRAAMCOS) September 1, 2022
Many of those who experienced or saw harm stayed silence out of fear for their careers and future opportunities, as well as the impact on their mental and physical wellbeing, the review’s authors note, and due to a perceived lack of accountability for perpetrators.
“The music industry should come together and commit to act in a concerted, determined and resolute way to effectively address sexual harm, sexual harassment, bullying and systemic discrimination,” reads the report. “This is a watershed moment for the industry.”
ARIA and PPCA acknowledge the findings released today by the Music Industry Review into Sexual Harm, Sexual Harassment and Systemic Discrimination in the report, Raising Their Voices.https://t.co/7J4uk69cL4
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) August 31, 2022
The review is seen as the first step in what many hope will become real and lasting change.
“It has taken a lot of sacrifice and energy from survivors to establish awareness but it can’t stop there,” notes Deena Lynch, artist and temporary working group member. “We now require commitment to change and action.”
As the industry digests the report, attention turns to 17 recommendations which, if implemented, should help bring about that change and action.
They include the creation of a Contemporary Music Industry Cultural Reform Council, which should be established as a matter of “priority” within the next 3-6 months. The Council would have several functions, and deadlines attached to it.
Within three months of its launch, a Code of Conduct should be presented, to “prevent harmful behavior including sexual harm, sexual harassment, bullying and systemic discrimination,” and by six months of launch, an independent specialist safe space should be created within the industry.
“The task now is to follow through with implementing the recommendations right across the industry,” explains Alexandra Shehadie from MAPN Consulting, who led the review.
One of those recommendations, a “statement of acknowledgement” from the music industry, was immediately actioned.
Today, the Music Industry Review is publishing “Raising Their Voices”, a report presenting the findings of an independent review into sexual harm, sexual harassment, and systemic discrimination in the Australian contemporary music industry. https://t.co/9O7xuriLGw pic.twitter.com/vUX13hMY5R
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) September 1, 2022
Scores of music industry bodies, including ARIA, APRA AMCOS, the three music majors and leading independent company Mushroom Group, are signatories to an apology.
“As leaders in the Australian contemporary music industry, we accept the distressing findings of the Review. We acknowledge the harm documented by the Review, and we are sorry,” reads the open letter.
“This Review has been a vital process of listening and truth telling. We thank all the participants for their courage in speaking out, in bravely re-living their experiences, and engaging in this critical report. We acknowledge the impact of these behaviors on the lives of victim survivors from our industry.”
Several industry bodies, including APRA AMCOS and ARIA issued separate apologies.
“We are committed to working through the recommendations of the report, doing the necessary work and being accountable, to ensure our industry workplaces are safe, inclusive, and respectful,” the apology continues. “Our work has already started, and it will not stop until we have a culture that is safe for all.”
Commissioned by the national music industry, the review was announced in late 2021 as a first-of-its-kind forum to have voices heard, and for ideas to be shared on how the industry can be a “safer, more inclusive and respectful workplace.”
The project took its first steps at a gathering of industry members in Sydney, from which a working group was formed. That meeting followed a series of scandals that rocked the music industry, and resulted in several high-profile executives removed, and investigations triggered at two of the three majors.
Read the document at musicindustryreview.com.au.