Workforce diversity in the British music industry

UK Music, today, publishes the results of the first pan-industry workforce diversity survey of the music industry focusing on gender and ethnicity.

UK Music Diversity survey logo

UK Music is the umbrella body representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, from songwriters and composers to artists and musicians, studio producers, music managers, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and the live music sector.

UK Music’s workforce diversity survey was launched in July 2016 by the UK Music Diversity Taskforce, chaired by Keith Harris, in order to gain a snapshot of diversity within the workplace across the many music businesses in the UK. The aim is to put down a baseline to find out the current picture and to enable future progress to be tracked.

This inaugural diversity survey took data from almost 3,000 staff from major and independent record labels, music publishers, managers, producers, royalty-collection societies and the live music industry. To coincide with the survey’s launch in July, UK Music hosted a diversity summit at PPL’s offices in London with key figures from the industry to discuss issues and challenges.

The survey found BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) representation in the workforce is 15.6%, which is higher than the figure for the UK population as a whole (12.8%). The study finds that two thirds of music industry workers are based in London where BAME people make up around 30.3% of the workforce.

Among new starters in the music industry, those who have worked for under a year, 27.5% are BAME which suggests the work being done to encourage diversity at this level is having a positive effect.

The proportion of BAME staff in senior positions decreases by age. The survey finds 23.7% of BAME workers aged 25-34 are in senior roles, while between the ages of 35 and 44 the figure is 11.7% and from 45 to 64, this figures sits at 7.6%.

Regarding gender, the overall split of men to women (53.6% to 45.3%) in the music industry shows women are slightly underrepresented in comparison with the UK population (49.3% to 50.7%). However, between the ages of 25 and 34, women account for 54.5% of the workforce which looks more positive for younger women in the industry. This number drops to 41.4% in the 35 to 44 age range and to 32.7% between 45 and 64.

The UK Music Taskforce has now successfully collected the data, measured and analysed the figures.  The mission is to work with industry bodies and music employers to ensure that our workforce is as demonstrably diverse as the music we create and export.  Every member of UK Music is putting a high priority on increasing diversity at all levels.

Individual organisations are undertaking their own work at entry level by ensuring there is stronger BAME representation through apprenticeships and paid internships.

For mid to senior management level positions, work is ongoing with leading industry recruiters to encourage greater BAME representation by widening the talent pool to bring more breadth to shortlists for roles. Efforts are also being made to increase diversity at board level.

By repeating this workforce survey on an annual basis, the UK Music Diversity Taskforce will be able to map out progress and endeavour to improve opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds to forge a career within the industry.

In tandem, the BPI, the body which represents the recorded music industry and a member organisation of UK Music, is taking its own steps to better represent diversity by broadening the membership of its BRITS voting panel to include more representatives who are women and BAME.


It seems that we have reached a moment where the need to improve the diversity of our industry is being matched by a desire by all the interested parties to put initiatives in place that will make a significant difference. I am optimistic that over the coming few years we will see a significant improvement.

Keith Harris OBE, chairman of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce

This survey gives us the first real insight into diversity across all businesses in the music industry. The history of British music is one of merging multiple genres from numerous cultures into unique sounds. Diversity has allowed our industry to sustain a global reputation for the UK. Nurturing and bolstering workforce diversity adds strength to this country’s astonishing musical output. The two go hand in hand.

Jo Dipple, UK Music chief executive

Britain's world-renowned music industry has the power to help break down the diversity barriers that still exist. I've said before that I make no apology for holding the creative industries to a higher standard than most, and the UK Music survey will help inform the ongoing work to make sure the UK's music industry reflects the full diversity of UK society today.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital & Culture

Talent may be everywhere, but it’s not always matched by opportunity for all, irrespective of background. Although there’s good work being done, including our recent changes to the BRITs Voting Academy, now is the time to accelerate this process and understand where any issues still exist if we are to attract the very brightest and best – especially at this time of global opportunity – to position the music business as Britain’s international calling card.

Ged Doherty, BPI chairman

Notes to editors:

The survey was conducted from July to September with 2,975 responses.

Further information:

Anthony Barnes, UK Music director of communications 0203 713 8452, 07834 864794

About UK Music:

The members of UK Music are: AIM, BASCA, BPI, FAC, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music and the Live Music Group.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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