Australia’s Music Industry Launches Review Into Sexual Harm, Discrimination

Time’s up for bad behavior in Australia’s music community.

Announced Thursday (Dec. 9), a national, first-of-its-kind review will investigate sexual harm, sexual harassment, and systemic discrimination in the contemporary music industry.

Consultants Alexandra Shehadie and Sam Turner will helm the national Music Industry Review, which will span six months, incorporating a series of focus groups, one-on-one interviews, an on-line survey, and a confidential online written submission process beginning in February 2022.

From it, a report will be delivered in June 2022 with findings and recommendations for reform at its conclusion.

That final report will identify key issues and outline a pathway for positive and sustainable change through a series of high impact recommendations and actions, all of which will be “designed to ensure the music industry has a safe, respectful and inclusive culture,” reads a mission statement.

Explore

See latest videos, charts and news

The examination will be an open invitation to those who work in the music industry to share their stories, from artists to artist management, agents, crew, venues, production, labels, publishing, promoters, studios, trade and peak organizations, freelancers and more.

“It will be the first time the lived experiences of our people are front and center of a cultural change process,” reads a statement. An opportunity “for people to share their stories, have their voices heard, and propose ideas on how the industry can be a safer, more inclusive and respectful workplace.”

The Review, to be auspiced by music industry charity Support Act, was unveiled with support from lobby bodies APRA AMCOS, ARIA, PPCA and Australia Council, and has a total target budget of A$400,000, for which the group is still fundraising.

Those industry bodies all welcomed today’s announcement. “Together,” says APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, “we can do what our industry has not been able to do before: identify the drivers and risk factors that are making our industry unsafe and develop a framework for action to address harassment, discrimination and sexual harm.”

The project took its first steps six months ago at a gathering of industry members in Sydney, from which a working group was formed. The meeting was convened by ARIA and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd.

“The music industry is special, it is full of inspiring, creative and passionate people working hard and doing what they love, but it is still a workplace,” comments Herd on the launch of the Review. “No one should be subjected to bullying, sexual harassment or sexual assault while at work. I strongly support this ambitious and ground-breaking industry-wide review, and call on industry businesses, organizations, and individuals to make any contribution they can to the review’s decentralized and independent funding approach.”

Australia’s music industry, so distant from the rest of world, is finally facing its #MeToo moment, with companies and leaders across the sector sending the message in 2021 that offensive behavior will no longer be tolerated.

In recent months, the domestic arms of Sony Music and Universal Music launched investigations into their own corporate cultures, and several high-profile professionals have been sacked, following investigations. 

The #MeToo movement cranked up a gear when, in early October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired Facing the Music: The Sony Music Scandal, a 47-minute documentary which lifted the lid on the “culture of fear, harassment and bullying” in a workplace Denis Handlin led for 37 years. Handlin was ousted from Sony Music in June.

Just this week, Mushroom Group cut ties with The Harbour Agency following complaints about historical management behavior and workplace culture at the booking agency.

For more information and updates on the review, visit musicindustryreview.com.au.

Start typing and press Enter to search