Non-profit music organisation Saffron Records has said that it can “no longer rely on art funding” to deal with gender imbalance in the music industry with reports that less than 5% of the music tech industry are women, non-binary or trans people.
Saffron also reports that it has found that 1% of this 5% figure are Black, Asian or ethnically diverse.
The Black Caribbean-led organisation based in Bristol have been relying on Arts Council funding, brand partnerships and small project grants for around 85% of its income however it has decided not to review its funding from the Arts Council.
In a statement, the organisation explains: “These funding pots have played an essential role in helping us to grow and reach people who may not already have access to partake in music tech – the results speak for themselves. However, they have also restricted us to working on a largely project-by-project basis, and their discontinuation now leaves us without the resources we need to continue.”
In response to these findings, Saffron has created three challenges towards the music industry.
Firstly they wish for the industry to question “the problem with arts funding, corporate sponsorship and small project grants”.
Within this first challenge, they state: “Arts funding has played an essential role in raising Saffron’s profile in the sector, expanding our reach and challenging us to continually evaluate and improve the effectiveness of what we do. However, it has not provided the security and core investment needed to deliver impact in a long-term, meaningful and far-reaching way.”
On top of this, it asks why “increasing access to music tech is essential to advancing gender equality in the music industry?”
Saffron concludes this point by outlining its mission to create safer spaces for marginalised people to learn about the music industry and get involved.
Its final challenge is: “How can brands in the music industry meaningfully engage with gender equality initiatives and non-profits like Saffron?”
This is broken into three principles, genuine allyship, symbiotic relationships and committed funding.
Saffron has also launched a fundraiser to secure its future. Donate to Saffron’s fundraiser here.
Find out more about Saffron’s statement about the gender imbalance within the music industry here.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins