IMPALA Unveils First Annual Diversity & Inclusion Report

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Exactly one year after releasing its diversity and inclusion charter, European independent music companies’ association IMPALA has released its first annual report updating the work they have done so far to foster D&I in the European music industry.

IMPALA’s stated goal with the report, which was issued today, is to “follow the work that’s been carried out and hold ourselves accountable” while “identifying areas which need to be improved and highlighting examples of successful projects and campaigns,” according to a press release. The report — which the organization has committed to delivering on an annual basis — is just one of 12 points included in last year’s charter, which also boasts a pledge to provide guidance for members, conduct training programs and carry out surveys in order to measure diversity in the European music industry.

Highlights outlined in the first annual report include a pair of diversity and inclusion training sessions for members, the release of the first D&I survey for independent music businesses during European Diversity Month in May and the appointment of diversity advocates on all IMPALA committees. The organization also launched a D&I task force advised by music manager and consultant Keith Harris OBE and co-chaired by Eva Karman Reinhold of Swedish indie label association SOM and Paul Pacifico of the U.K.’s Association of Independent Music (AIM).

Below is a more detailed look at the report.

Surveys: The ongoing D&I survey process is being conducted with two classes: IMPALA member businesses and associations. The separate surveys were designed to incorporate the protected characteristics laid out in the European Charter of fundamental rights, including transgender and non-binary individuals, racial minorities and neurodiverse people. The report notes that feedback from members and associations has indicated the need for a shorter, simpler survey – the result of so-called “survey fatigue.”

Appointments: IMPALA’s D&I task force co-chairs Eva Karman Reinhold and Paul Pacifico were appointed as diversity advocates on the IMPALA board; diversity advocates were also named to each of the IMPALA committees.

Discussions: The organization has launched “diversity discussions” through its associations network “to exchange best practices and develop collaboration and overcome structural barriers for our membership,” the release reads. D&I topics have also been included in IMPALA’s #20MinutesWith podcast series, which is curated by U.K.-based consultant Juliana Koranteng.

Membership: At its AGM conference last month, IMPALA launched a new membership scheme to increase diversity. Under that scheme, each association was asked to appoint a member to the IMPALA board to share their seat, with those appointed members granted a free two-year membership to the organization. Company members were also asked to appoint a second representative.

Training: In January, IMPALA struck a three-year deal with Vick Bain from vbain consulting and Arit Eminue of DiVA Apprenticeships to provide D&I training to its employees, board and members. The first diversity training for members took place later that same month with over 50 participants across Europe; the second was held last month with more than 40 participants.

Awards: A “review exercise” conducted around IMPALA’s four awards — European Independent Album of the Year, Annual Outstanding Contribution to European Independent Music, the Inspiration Award and the European Sales Awards — led to a decision to annually spotlight a list of “diversity champions” beginning next year. Additionally, the Independent Album of the Year prize — which includes album of the year and an accompanying shortlist — will be revised this year, “including with potential new partners,” to foster more diversity among the honorees.

Amplification: In 2020 and 2021, IMPALA shared examples of best practices across Europe and promoted several D&I initiatives, including The Show Must Be Paused; Blackout Tuesday; an open letter published by the Black Music Coalition in June 2020; the UK Music Diversity Report; gender disparity report Why Not Her & Womxn in CTRL; and the F-List UK, a directory of UK female and gender minority musicians.

Hiring: IMPALA released D&I guidance for its members on several issues, including advice on “eliminating bias and conscious inclusion” and tips on hiring “diverse third party contractors and suppliers,” both of which IMPALA says it applied to its own hiring practices, including by encouraging diverse candidates to apply via its job postings. The organization additionally put out a summary analyzing why companies benefit by hiring a more diverse workforce.

Funding Opportunities: IMPALA spread awareness to its membership of EU funding opportunities for diversity projects, including Creative Europe and Music Moves Europe.

Political Action: In addition to encouraging the EU to lead the way on diversity and inclusion, IMPALA sent letters to European commissioners to share its D&I initiatives.

Streaming: Lastly, IMPALA reached out to both online and offline media and music services to make good on the recommendations included in its streaming plan, which aims to boost diversity and market access across Europe.

You can read the full report here.

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