Pin It
Woman at festival

250 music organisations have pledged to achieve 50/50 gender split by 2022

The Barbican and Southbank Centre are among the 250 music organisations committing to Keychange’s initiative

International programme Keychange is expanding its initiative to achieve a full 50/50 gender balance across the music industry by 2022 to include “any music organisation seeking to achieve a better gender balance in the industry”. Previously, the initiative – spearheaded by the PRS foundation – has focused primarily on performers and artists, but it’s now opening its doors to include broadcasters, concert halls, agents, labels, venues, conservatories and orchestras.

So far, more than 250 organisations have committed to the 50/50 pledge, including London’s Southbank Centre and the Barbican, as well as festivals such as Love Saves the Day in Bristol and Walthamstow Garden Party. A full list can be found here

While the results will vary depending on the sort of organisation taking the pledge, changes we can expect to see include a 50/50 gender balance among composers commissioned, musicians signed to labels, board members, senior staff, backstage staff and other aspects of behind-the-scenes company organisation or development. 

“It’s really encouraging that major music organisations and independent companies are demonstrating their commitment to gender equality in music alongside hundreds of festivals worldwide,” said Vanessa Reed, the CEO of PRS Foundation in a press release.

“From world leading concert halls and orchestras to Bella Union (the first indie label to approach us), pledge signatories are creating an industry-wide movement. This will increase choice, quality and opportunity for future generations of music lovers, industry professionals, music creators and artists,” explained Reed, who is incidentally the third ‘most powerful woman in the music industry’ behind Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, according to Woman’s Hour

Since launch of Keychange’s pledge in 2018, more than 190 festivals have committed to programming gender balanced line-ups by 2022, including The Great Escape (UK) and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival (France). In November, the programme also launched its manifesto at the European Parliament, calling for collective action in four main areas: working conditions and the lack of senior role models, investments and funding, research into pay gaps and imbalances, and education.

“It’s a logical step in equal measures that the initiative has now been transferred to neighbouring businesses within the music industry and the media. We are very much looking forward to see the change in a broader way,” said Alexander Schulz, who came up with the idea for the Keychange 50/50 gender pledge. 

You can read the full manifesto from Keychange on recommendations for a gender balanced music industry right here. And for anyone who’s dubious that these changes will actually take place, just look at this year’s Primavera festival to see that a 50/50 gender split is very achievable.