Ballantine’s Scotch whisky, long time champion of diverse talent and underrepresented music communities around the world through its True Music platform, is taking a stand to increase parity within the music industry, after its ‘Resetting the Dancefloor’ report found that 1 in 3 music lovers globally have experienced discrimination and a further 84% have witnessed it on the dancefloor.
The report, which surveyed over 2,300 music lovers across four continents, highlights that while there is work to be done for dancefloors to be truly inclusive, the pandemic offers an opportunity for a ‘reset’. Ballantine’s aims to drive action to address this through a series of commitments and initiatives, including a six-figure fund to support emerging music collectives, and via global experiences that celebrate inclusive dancefloors, with long standing partner, Boiler Room.
Helping spearhead the conversation within the music industry are Berlin-based DJ Honey Dijon, SBTV Founder Jamal Edwards MBE, LGBTQIA+ label and collective He.She.They, rapidly ascending Madrid-based female DJ collective Chica Gang , Brazilian LGBTQIA+ dance collective Afrobapho, and South African rapper and activist Dope Saint Jude who are calling on music fans, artists and those within the business to club together to drive action and change.
While the ideal of the dancefloor being a place of freedom and equality does not reflect the reality – the effects of the past 18 months have resulted in a positive change in attitude with three quarters of people saying they would now speak out if they witnessed discrimination at a music event and 89% believing we all have a responsibility to fight discrimination.
Even though people can’t wait to return to the dancefloor post-pandemic (84%), the safety, diversity and inclusivity of the events will be driving their choice to attend. Treating and paying artists fairly is the number one priority, 63% are more likely to consider whether the music line-up is diverse versus a year ago, whilst 72% will only attend a future event that they feel will be safe and inclusive.
Honey Dijon comments: “All of these things we’re fighting for - diverse line-ups, diverse dancefloors - this is simply us wanting our humanity and our creativity to be considered as worthy as other people’s. That’s an expectation no one should be able to stand in the way of.”
Through its initiatives, Ballantine’s is hoping to raise awareness of issues around diversity and inclusion within music culture and prompt action, and has committed to driving real change in three key areas over the next five years:
- Diverse programming: ensuring all True Music line-ups and content represent diverse communities
- Fair payment: ensuring that no fee gap exists by taking an active role in making sure talent are paid and treated fairly
- Inclusive dancefloors: making safe dancefloors a priority and committing to bringing one billion music fans inclusive True Music experiences through a safe dancefloor policy
Ballantine’s Head of Music Tom Elton comments: “The past 18 months have seen the live music industry suffer, as lockdowns have forced fans to stay at home and repress desires to be on the dancefloor. As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to press the ‘reset’ button and club together to rebuild a music culture for everyone.
A commitment to inclusivity is part of Ballantine’s DNA - the motto ‘a friend to all humankind’ has been on the crest of every bottle for over 100 years - and we are committed to putting our pledges in to practice to help drive tangible change. We all have a part to play in the journey to creating a truly inclusive music industry and this is just the start.”
A key initiative to further champion underrepresented communities within music, will be the launch of a six-figure fund to support emerging collectives and artists in promoting and progressing equality within their scene. Applications to the True Music Fund will open in October.
Ballantine’s will also be running True Music Studios – a series of 40+ global events in partnership with Boiler Room with diversity and inclusion at its core to inspire lasting change in the industry. Launching in October, True Music Studios will offer inclusive experiences for everyone around the world both in real life and online.
For the past seven years, Ballantine’s has been committed to representing, supporting, and promoting global inclusive music culture, championing local and diverse music communities and cultures around the world, supporting over 500 artists, across 50+ events, in 20+ countries.
To find out more about Ballantine’s True Music check out Ballantines.com/truemusic