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Black Music Action Coalition Releases 2021 Report Card On Diversity Commitments By Dozens Of Music Companies

The report card looks at dozens of music companies in streaming, live music, labels and more with how they have followed through on statements over the past year.
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The Black Music Action Coalition has released a report card to see if the music business has followed up on its promises made in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests in the summer of 2020. The BMAC is a body of more than 200 Black artists, managers, attorneys and allies formed in June 2020 to ensure that promises for change weren’t just conversations for a month or a Summer, but that sustainable action followed.

One significant hurdle for them was the opacity that exists in the music business. Anyone who tries to understand contracts or the streaming system knows that it is this way to protect entrenched interests. BMAC sent a brief survey to more than 60 executives at over 20 companies. Five replies came back, three from the same corporate system. There was an additional reply that asked to stay anonymous and off-record.

Despite that, BMAC looked at various music companies and their commitments made last summer and gave them a grade on several key indicators. Did they follow through on promises made last summer; do they have black executives and are they reflective of the artists they work with; did the company’s initial statements match their connection and commitment to black culture and what changes have they made to their company cultures?

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It then graded dozens of music companies like Recording Academy, Tidal, Spotify, Sony Music, Apple Music, Live Nation and Atlantic Records.

Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, and Bandcamp all received Satisfactory Grades. Apple Music got a Needing Improvement grade, while Pandora got Unsatisfactory for trading “on its familiarity with Black and Latino listeners and their impact on culture.”

The major labels got a mix of Bs and Cs for their grades across the four categories. The financial commitments of the majors were investigated by Vice and only a fraction of the money pledged was donated so far.

Live music was not graded well, with Live Nation listed as satisfactory, but UTA, ICM, CAA & WME all listed as Needs Improvement and Paradigm and AEG as Unsatisfactory.

Read the full report here, which includes more detailed looks at the companies and their commitments. We will see if this spurs these companies to get better at their commitments. 

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