Canada must ‘close the gap’ on racial representation in live music: report

Industry group calls on Canada to “close the gap” on racial representation in live music.

The Canadian Live Music Association released a report on Wednesday outlining some of the systemic barriers faced by Indigenous, Black or Colored workers.

The report by CLMA and its partners presents the results of an 18-month study consisting of interviews with 40 live music workers and an online survey of 681 respondents conducted from September to October 2021.

The authors say the survey of artists, business owners and other workers cannot be assigned a margin of error, in part because of the lack of pre-existing data on the demographics of the Canadian music industry. live music.

They say respondents identified several sources of inequality in the live music industry, including a lack of representation in ‘gatekeeper’ positions such as venue owners, promoters, producers and festival programmers. .

Black participants cited the lack of supportive leadership as a major barrier, while many Indigenous respondents expressed concerns about losing control or ownership of their creative endeavors.

Genre categorization proved to be a double-edged sword, according to the report, with respondents suggesting that designations such as “indigenous music” and “world music” fostered both a sense of belonging and feelings of marginalization and symbolization.

“With this report in hand, we can — all of us — step up and do everything we can to eliminate systemic inequalities in our industry,” CLMA President and CEO Erin Benjamin said in a statement Wednesday.

“This is our community and it is our responsibility to ensure that live music workers (Indigenous, Black and of color) have every opportunity to succeed.”