A new helpline aimed at supporting those experiencing bullying and harassment in the UK music industry has been announced today and will go live in early March. The service is provided by the independent UK charity Help Musicians.
A number of musicians have spoken out in recent years highlighting their own personal experiences of bullying and harassment and the Musicians’ Union has received hundreds of reports to its SafeSpace service. There is broad support right across the music ecosystem for a range of measures to deal with the issue, and this helpline has been encouraged by a wide range of influential organisations including UK Music, the Musicians' Union (MU) and British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Help Musicians is acting upon the need for more support for those experiencing bullying and harassment, with the new service providing emotional support, guidance on how to raise and resolve the issues being experienced, and advice on rights and avenues for formal action where issues cannot be resolved by other means. The service is not only being offered to professional musicians, but also to those working within the wider music industry.
In addition, the helpline will provide anonymous data to shed more light on the issues being experienced and to inform the collaborative efforts for positive and permanent change across the music industry.
The helpline will be provided by an independent third-party organisation who have a depth of experience running similar services across the UK, and this will ensure full anonymity for all callers. The service will work alongside the MU’s SafeSpace service which remains open.
James Ainscough, Chief Executive said, “Bullying and harassment is an industry-wide challenge that requires a collaborative response. The creation of the helpline is a vital first step and Help Musicians is well placed to provide this service, as an independent charity. But this is only one part of the solution, and we look forward to seeing industry-wide standards and culture change that eventually leads to our service becoming redundant.
“The anonymous insight we will gather through this service will shed more light on the issues being experienced and help to target the collaborative efforts for positive and permanent change across the music industry. This is a vital service, and we ask for everybody’s help in promoting awareness once we go live in March, to ensure that individuals who need it will know that they can call for support at any time.”
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "Bullying and harassment have no place in society, and it is pleasing to see this fantastic new resource being made available to those who work in our world class music industry. I have heard first hand the experiences of those who have been subjected to bullying and harassment and I am committed to continuing to work with the industry to tackle the issue."
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, CEO at UK Music said, “For the vast majority, the music industry is a safe, welcoming and creative environment. However, this is not always the case which is why we must all work together to urgently address bullying and harassment. Help Musicians’ new helpline is an excellent and hugely welcome addition to the work that is already under way to tackle these challenges and will become an invaluable resource. The music industry must take a united approach and keep working to bring about lasting change to ensure every workplace is a truly welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.”
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize said: “The BPI welcomes the launch of this new HM helpline as a place where anyone from any part of the industry can receive help, advice and support if they experience bullying and harassment or believe they are being discriminated against - particularly freelancers and creative talent that do not have recourse to such resources provided by their employer. We are committed to making the music industry a place where everyone feels welcome, respected and supported and this is an important step on actions being taken across the sector to achieving that goal."
Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union said, “This new service is extremely welcome, and we look forward to working alongside the team at Help Musicians in supporting survivors and measuring progress in the industry. We will continue to support and advise anyone working in the music industry who approaches us through our SafeSpace service, and we will not stop campaigning to make workplaces safer for everyone, especially freelancers who often lack formal channels to raise complaints."