Industry: How the music industry is working to curb workplace harassment

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Industry: How the music industry is working to curb workplace harassment


Live Performance Australia, the peak association of a sector which on last count generated $1.43 billion revenue and 18.78 million in attendance, has released a draft Industry Code of Practice for consultation with its members and the broader Australian live performance industry.

LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson says the draft code would be particularly helpful for small to medium-sized companies which may need extra support in strengthening or improving their in-house policies and capabilities. “A best practice industry-wide approach is important given the mobility of our workforce and the differences among our members in respect of company resources and scale,” Richardson says.

Many music and arts associations have introduced ways to deal with complaints and incidents, but the LPA’s code intends for long-term change to the culture altogether. “Each and every member of our industry must be aware of their legal responsibilities and their duty of care to their employees and have policies, procedures, education and training in place to deal with these issues,” Richardson continues.

Coming up is a roadshow to ensure all members know what their responsibilities (legal and moral) are, an industry roundtable on dealing with challenges, and decisive ways for music associations to better train their executives and staff.

Meanwhile, the Association of Artist Managers in Australia has updated its Code of Conduct to include a clause on sexual harassment. It tells its 220 members “to not engage in any acts of sexual harassment including unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.”

There have been examples of a booking agent sacked from his company for inappropriate texts to a newcomer to the industry, The ABC revealed a group of DJs and workers in the Australian EDM scene who had a Facebook page called Tracks And Snatch which shared mixes (tracks) and sexually degrading photos of women (snatch).

In the past, the live performance and music industries have been a free-for-all and largely unregulated, where its admittedly sexual and egotistical nature has been allowed to run free as an excuse for all kinds of behaviour. The music industry, in particular, has always attracted people who live outside society’s norms and codes, one reason why the music has been so compelling.

There’s more that can be done. Last weekend, a large group of high profile Hollywood actors, directors and producers launched the #AskMoreOfHim. It asked other men in the entertainment business to join the conversation, become allies in the movement for equality, and “stand for women’s rights and end sexual harassment and violence against women” by making a pledge to hold themselves and others accountable. In the wake of the activities of the #MeToo movement and local #meNOmore open letter for the industry on taking responsibility for its actions, #AskMoreOfHim is certainly something that needs a home in Australia.