In this recap of the A2IM's recent Indie Week music conference, Amy Hanna looks at the event's focus on inclusivity and representation, as reflected in the conference's panels discussing gender inequality and the music industry's involvement in the #MeToo movement.
By Amy Hanna, 6/8 Music Production/Radio Promotions Coordinator the the 6/8 Music Blog
At an international-scale music conference like A2IM’s Indie Week, there are usually set expectations of exactly what will go on. All of us in the music industry, especially in the indie sector, want to stay sharp, stay knowledgeable, and, if at all possible, be one step ahead of our peers. Music conferences serve to teach us more about the industry in which we work, and offer us opportunities to network with other music organizations looking to reach similar goals. With panels that featured wide-spanning and pertinent topics like brand development, streaming strategy, and even artificial intelligence, and with opportunities to network one-on-one with renowned music companies and organizations from across the world (like Spotify and Soundexchange, for example), this year’s Indie Week conference hosted by A2IM held no shortage of opportunities to learn and connect.
However, what struck a chord with us at 6/8 Music the most was the conference’s focus on inclusivity. From A2IM’s inclusion of equal gender representation in speakers, to offering panels that cover topics from gender representation in the workplace to sexual assault resources for music industry professionals, it’s clear that A2IM are talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to gender representation.
A highlight panel was the “#MeToo, So What’s Next?” panel, moderated by Women In Music President Jessica Sobhraj. The panelists included JD Samson (artist/performer/producer in Le Tigre and Men, activist, teacher at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), Yolo Akili Robinson (Executive Director and Founder of the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective), Molly Neuman (Global Head of Business Development at Songtrust), and Shakari “Trakgirl” Boles (Founder of 7% Series, producer/songwriter). Sobhraj noted (completely correctly) that this panel was the most diverse across the entire conference, which was stunning and meaningful to see, given the difficult subject matter at hand. Each panelist was knowledgable and sensitive about the topic of sexual assault in the music industry, all the while offering necessarily resources and advice for survivors and bystanders alike.
Another favorite panel of ours was “PRS Keychange Presents – Future of Music: Is Gender Balance Possible in the Next 5 Years?“, featuring panelists Marina Adam (Manager – Ontario Music Office, Ontario Media Development Corporation), Leah Fischman (Board Chair, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative), Alexandra Rosen (Senior Manager – Communications, A2IM), and Alex Schulz (Founder, Reeperbahn Festival), and moderated by Vanessa Reed (CEO, PRS Music Foundation). This panel was less of a resource bank and more of a concise and honest address about the state of gender balance in the music industry, and if gender parity is actually possible in the next ten years.
Panelist made it clear that he did not think ten years was enough time to reach a goal of complete gender parity across the board in the industry, while other panelists disagreed, noting that continuing on the current trajectory, especially with initiatives like PRS KeyChange’s 2022 plan could definitely help our industry see gender balance. Regardless of what each panelist predicted the future holding, each panelist came to a concise, powerful agreement: It’s about time for gender equality in the music industry, and it is not an impossible goal. For us at 6/8 Music working to empower women in the industry, we were so pleased to be in agreement with such esteemed panelists.
Thank you so much to A2IM for organizing this incredible conference, and for making inclusion and diversity a priority. See you next year!
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