3 Dec 2020

New report details widespread gender inequality in the New Zealand music industry

From RNZ Music, 6:00 am on 3 December 2020

Massey University researchers have today released a report detailing widespread gender discrimination in the Aotearoa music community, in the first report of its kind in New Zealand.

The Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report is based on a survey undertaken in 2019, which saw more than 1200 responses from New Zealand’s music community.

Gender emerged as a key factor when it came to opportunities, barriers, and experiences of discrimination.

More than two-thirds of women (70 percent) in the music community reported experiencing bias, disadvantage or discrimination based on their gender – seven times the rate of men (10 percent).

Women reported being undervalued, overlooked, and patronised by their peers.

Almost half of women (45 percent) reported that their safety in places where music is made and/or performed was a barrier to their success, over twice the rate of men (20 percent).

There were instances of sexual harassment, sexual coercion and assault, unwanted physical advances, and inappropriate comments pertaining to appearance.

Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report

Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report Photo: Supplied

A lack of gender diversity in live performance/festival and concert line-ups was regularly mentioned by respondents, and women reported instances of being turned down because an event had already fulfilled its ‘quota’.

In late November, APRA announced the formation of SoundCheck Aotearoa, a group of industry bodies committed to bringing change in the music industry.

Members include Recorded Music NZ, the NZ Music Commission, NZ on Air, Te Māngai Paho and more.

The group is currently forming its steering committee and leadership group and has announced its first project is an initiative to help prevent sexual harm in the music community, and provide support for those who have experienced it.

SoundCheck has appointed a specialist in the area of sexual harm prevention for guidance and support, and its first priority is to support those who have experienced sexual harm. If you or someone you know needs help or support, please see below for a list of contacts and services available.

The Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report was developed by Associate Professor Dr Oli Wilson and Senior Lecturer Dr Catherine Hoad from Te Rewa o Punga School of Music and Creative Media Production of the College of Creative Arts, in partnership with APRA AMCOS New Zealand.

Survey respondents were spread around New Zealand, and represented a variety of age groups, ethnicities, sexualities, genders, and time spent in the industry, as well as working across different areas of the industry (songwriters, performers, composers, producers, educators, label managers, audio engineers, retailers, students, mentors, administrators, and more).

Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report

Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report Photo: Supplied

The report specifically looks at the responses of over 600 New Zealand songwriter members of APRA AMCOS (the member organisation representing songwriters and composers in Australasia), which provides a robust census for statistical stratification.

The survey collected quantitative and qualitative data with two key aims – to find out more detailed demographic information about the music community and to find out more about the challenges they’re facing, in a confidential and anonymous manner.

The survey results identified areas for future research to gain a deeper understanding of what’s happening, why, and where to act. These areas include discrimination based on factors such as ethnicity, age, disability, and sexuality.

Dr Catherine Hoad says her motivation to do this research stemmed from her role as a senior lecturer in the Bachelor of Commercial Music programme.

“As music educators, we’re training students who will form the future workforce of the music industry in Aotearoa,” Dr Hoad says, “We want to do our part to contribute to an industry environment that is safe and welcoming not only for our graduates, but everyone in the sector.”

Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report

Amplify Aotearoa: NZ Music Community Diversity Survey report Photo: Supplied

Dr Oli Wilson says the College of Creative Arts has strong ties with the music industry and they are looking forward to working with industry members on how to address the issues.

“The results from our research are concerning, yet we are heartened by the way industry has acknowledged these findings and are taking them seriously,” Dr Wilson says, “Aotearoa music’s strength is in its diversity, and it’s important that we continue to support industry towards making our sector fairer for everyone.”

Head of NZ Operations at APRA AMCOS Anthony Healey says “The research shows that we have much to do when it comes to caring for and nurturing the people in our industry.

“Clearly there are genuine barriers to success, particularly for women and this must change. While some of these issues were already suspected, we now have robust evidence.

“The issues highlighted by the statistics are not acceptable. They demand action and thankfully this report gives us greater insight into the areas that need to be targeted as a priority.

“As a first step forward we are pleased to be part of SoundCheck Aotearoa, and keen to fast track this work, particularly pertaining to safety and conduct.”

Where to go for help or information about sexual harm:

MusicHelps Wellbeing Service: Call 0508 MUSICHELPS

HELP: Call 24/7 (Auckland) 0800 623 1700, (Wellington) 04 801 6655

Safe To Talk:  Call 0800 044 334 | Text 4334 | Email support@safetotalk.nz 

Rape Crisis: Call 0800 88 33 00

NZ Police: Call 105

Aviva: Canterbury Sexual Violence Crisis Service - Call (03) 377 5402 / 0800 284 82669

Tu Wahine: Kaupapa Māori Sexual Violence Crisis Service – Call 09 838 8700   

Korowai Tumanako: Kaupapa Māori Survivor and Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service – Email: korowai@korowaitumanako.org  

Te Puna Oranga: Kaupapa Māori Sexual Violence Crisis Service – Call 0800 222 042 | Email: info@tepunaoranga.co.nz    

Male Survivors Aotearoa: Support for the well-being of male survivors of sexual abuse  

Shama:  National Sexual Harm Support Service for ethnic communities – Call (07) 843 3810 | Text 022 135 9545 

Human Rights Commission: Call 0800 496 877

Employment Relations Authority: Call 0800 209020