The obvious answer to that question is, yes. But let’s have a conversation. I wanted to look into the diversity of the music industry higher ups. Billboard puts out a list every year acknowledging people working in the industry who have made big strides, accomplished big things that past year, or are just shining at what they do. There are only 19 of 212 people listed that are black, which is 8.9% of the list. THAT IS INSANE.
Looking at the major record labels (Sony, Universal Music Group, & Warner Music Group), all 3 CEOs are white.
- Sony executives, out of 12, 1 is black.
- Universal executives, 1 of 11 is black.
- Warner executives, none of the executives are black.
Jumping over to other facets of the industry, the biggest radio name being IHeartRadio, their CEO is white. Ryan Seacrest is also a heavy influence for that company. Carson Daly has also been a player in the industry, having hosted TRL and I believe the forefront to radio.com (a quick google search shows he left radio in 2017 to focus on family). Spotify & Apple Music are run by white men. The major music magazine(s) – mainly Rolling Stone – is headed by a white male.
But let’s not forget, there’s some big names who represent the black community who have made waves in the music industry: Beyonce & Jay-Z created a music platform called Tidal, have sold out stadiums/tours, and Jay Z has a music entertainment business (Roc Nation). We also have Drake who has his own label (but under the umbrella of Warner Music) & Lil Wayne does as well (but under the Universal umbrella).
These artists have been given some control and have been influential in bringing talented artists into the music scene, but they still have to answer to the white man & power that this country was built on. I am not saying that is how these labels are run, but if you look at who is in charge, there is not even close to enough executives who represent the black community. If we want to get anywhere in this country, we have to give opportunities to those who can speak for the community, who can stand up for what’s right, who can put out content/music from personal experience to fully represent the diversity in our country. If we continue to stay divided, and a majority of the space at the top is coming from white voices, well we aren’t going to get very far are we?
Billboard has some great information about what labels, executives, artists, are doing to support the Black Lives Matter movement & helping to dismantle & fight systemic racism. Check it out here: Artists Urge Music Companies to Donate to Fight Racial Injustice: Here Are the Ones That Have
Post Concert Depression