Help Musicians have announced the March arrival of a new helpline that will be aimed at supporting those experiencing bullying and harassment in the UK music.
A number of musicians have spoken out in recent years highlighting their own personal experiences of bullying and harassment and the Musicians’ Union has received hundreds of reports to its SafeSpace service.
Help Musicians hope that the new service, available to musicians and all working within the wider music industry, will provide emotional support, guidance on how to raise and resolve the issues being experienced, and advice on rights and avenues for formal action where issues cannot be resolved by other means.
In addition, it is hoped that the helpline will provide anonymous data to shed more light on the issues being experienced and help to bring about positive change across the music industry.
The helpline will be fully anonymous and provided by an independent third-party organisation with a depth of experience running similar services across the UK. The service will work alongside the MU’s SafeSpace service which remains open.
James Ainscough, chief executive, said: 'Bullying and harassment is an industry-wide challenge that requires a collaborative response. The creation of the helpline is a vital first step but this is only one part of the solution, and we look forward to seeing industry-wide standards and culture change that eventually leads to our service becoming redundant.'
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: 'Bullying and harassment have no place in society, and it is pleasing to see this fantastic new resource being made available to those who work in our world class music industry. I have heard first hand the experiences of those who have been subjected to bullying and harassment and I am committed to continuing to work with the industry to tackle the issue.'
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive, UK Music said: 'For the vast majority, the music industry is a safe, welcoming and creative environment. However, this is not always the case which is why we must all work together to urgently address bullying and harassment. Help Musicians’ new helpline is an excellent and hugely welcome addition to the work that is already under way to tackle these challenges and will become an invaluable resource. The music industry must take a united approach and keep working to bring about lasting change to ensure every workplace is a truly welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.'
Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize said: 'The BPI welcomes the launch of this new HM helpline as a place where anyone from any part of the industry can receive help, advice and support if they experience bullying and harassment or believe they are being discriminated against - particularly freelancers and creative talent that do not have recourse to such resources provided by their employer. We are committed to making the music industry a place where everyone feels welcome, respected and supported and this is an important step on actions being taken across the sector to achieving that goal.'
Naomi Pohl, deputy general secretary, Musicians’ Union, said: 'This new service is extremely welcome, and we look forward to working alongside the team at Help Musicians in supporting survivors and measuring progress in the industry. We will continue to support and advise anyone working in the music industry who approaches us through our SafeSpace service, and we will not stop campaigning to make workplaces safer for everyone, especially freelancers who often lack formal channels to raise complaints.'
M Magazine spoke to Naomi Pohl about SafeSpace as part of its 2021 End of Year edition.