Changemakers

This is where we highlight music industry projects promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in the independent music sector. 

Below are the various projects our members have put forward as inspiring change and encouraging others to take action. 

We also have a Changemaker Award which we give out during European Diversity Month in May. We launched it in 2022 as a continuation of the work done by IMPALA’s equity, diversity and inclusion task force. Read more about the work of the task force here.

Find our more about the first winner of IMPALA Changemaker Award, POWER UP here. 

Check out the other great initiatives making change in the music industry – click here to learn more!

Winner 2023

Women in CTRL

The second recipient of IMPALA’s Changemaker award, is the UK not-for-profit organisation Women in CTRL, for their work developing and supporting music creators and music professionals from under-represented groups. Women in CTRL was founded by Nadia Khan and has been very active on its mission to advance gender equality in the music industry. The not-for-profit organisation was set up to empower and inspire women in the entertainment, creative and business sectors of the music industry and encourages women and non-binary persons to find their strengths, develop their own personal brand and build the tools and confidence to become leaders. 

Read the statement here and find out more about Women in CTRL here.

Winner 2022

POWER UP

The first recipient of this award is the POWER UP which addresses anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector, and supports Black music creators and industry professionals and executives. Co-founded by PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter and managed by PRS Foundation in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group, Spotify and the Black Music Coalition, the initiative was launched in January 2021 and has already powered up award-winning talent and those who are dominating playlists and line-ups and are taking up senior roles and Board positions across the industry.

Read the Changemaker Award statement here and find out more about POWER UP here.

More great changemaker projects

Music Leaders Network is a programme that delivers life-changing leadership for mid-career women and non-binary people in the music industry. It supports people to achieve their full potential. Based in the UK, the programme is run by Remi Harris MBE and Tamara Gal-On, who were featured on IMPALA’s 20minuteswith Podcast. For more information, connect with Music Leaders Network on LinkedIn.

Parenthood In Music is an initiative to improve working conditions for parents in the music industry. Parenthood remains one of the main drivers of inequality in the workplace, often resulting in mothers and single parents not holding managerial positions or changing industries.

GIRLS I RATE (GIR) was founded to create a platform and voice for women in particular songwriters and producers to collaborate, celebrate and empower each other. It was formed to bring together the talent, influencers, advocates and passion we all share.

MEWEM Germany, is a project of VUT Germany which offers a mentoring programe for women and non binary people in the music industry as well as organising network events.

SLÄS is a group of female music executives who provide a series of engaging writing camps entitled “Her Songs For Him” to create opportunities for non-male creators. 

MaLisa Foundation is a foundation financing research on gender equality in the entertainment sector, with one focus on the music industry.

HelvetiaRockt is the Swiss coordination office and networking platform for female and non-binary musicians in jazz, pop and rock. Festival line-ups have become more equal, they set up an online music directory for FINTA persons in the music business, they designed the Diversity Roadmap, they do networking events, workshops for young FINTA musicians, and more.

Black Lives in Music
An organisation advocating for equality in the music industry. Last year they released the report “Being Black in the UK Music Industry.” 

Black Artist Database
An international database highlighting Black artists, labels and creatives. This crowd-sourced database provides an easy way to search, filter and directly support the creative output of Black artists globally, via their online profiles. 

Women in CTRL is a Not-For-Profit organisation that was set up to empower and inspire women in the entertainment, creative and business sectors of the music industry. Women in CTRL encourage women to find their strengths, develop their own personal brand and build the tools and confidence to become leaders. They have also released revealing report on diversity in music trade organisations.

Shesaid.so is a global community of women, gender minorities and allies in the music industry. The shesaid.so community spreads over all sectors of the music industry. Its mission is “to connect and empower underrepresented communities towards a more equitable music industry for all, one woman or gender minority at a time.”

MEWEM Europa is a project to implement and manage mentoring programmes for women in the music industry on a European scale. The project’s goal is that in the future, more women will also shape the music industry in leadership positions and as founders. Therefore, the project promotes access to management positions and entrepreneurship as well as the development of management skills among young women in the music industry.

Check out our podcasts with MEWEM coordinators and mentees here and here.

Keychange is a global network and movement working towards gender equality in the music industry. Keychange consists of partners collaborating from 12 different countries, working proactively to make change. Sign the pledge, apply to their programme and join them in their campaign for parity – you’ll find more info here.

Black Music Summit is an annual event that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of music of black origin and its contributions to the music industry. Over 4 days in the heart of Ibiza, the summit will bring together industry professionals, the next generation, and music lovers to engage with hot-topic keynote speakers and interactive workshops – all made complete with live performances and club nights. The Summit is designed to bridge the gap and tackle the issues with racism and diversity in the industry whilst celebrating and platforming black talent.

K7 x Ernst Reuter Schule community project – Wanting to create stronger bonds with their local community, !K7 worked with a Berlin school to help students create their own music and learn about the music industry.

Read more about it here and discover the two tracks the students created: Sweet Dream by Red Roses of Blood and The Nitroman by Light Squad.

Small Green Shoots is a youth-led charity offering an alternative to the conventional system for education, training and entry into the jobs market. We help young people facing difficult life circumstances gain access to the entertainment and creative industries through paid classroom learning, vocational training, internships and access to creative grants. This allows our young workers (the “Shoots”) to build a career, rather than just seek a job.

It’s in this way, Small Green Shoots has established itself as a trusted partner to a wide variety of music and creative businesses, empowering them to diversify their workforce.

GSBTB Open Music Lab – an organisation giving free music workshops to underrepresented communities in Berlin.

The label 365XX Records – one of the first fe*male hip hop labels in Europe, with the project blog 365 Fe*male MC (publication of portraits about fe*male rappers from all over the world every day to create more visibility.)

VUT and BVMI joining forces with Themis Vertrauensstelle: centre working against sexual harassment and violence in the film, television and theatre sector being expanded to music.

This is Upfront is a network of and for women, non-binary and trans music producers. Their mission is to create and facilitate a network that generates unique opportunities for both producers and music industry. They organise songwriting camps, listening sessions, workshops and showcases.

Connect’Her is a platform accessible free of charge for everyone. The aim is to promote connections, mutual help and artistic synergies within the French female electronic music scene. You can look for female artists, collectives and there is a media section dedicated to female artists and DJs news.

Future Female Sounds is a non-profit organisation, community and booking agency focused exclusively on women & gender minority DJs, founded in 2017 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark. They’re on a mission “to make DJ culture accessible to girls globally!” They run local and global DJ Programmes where they arrange DJ workshops, master classes, and network meetings for womxn and gender minorities.

Bandshe is a data base dedicated for all womxn working in live music. “Music has no gender. So does talent.” This association provides support for women in their professional development, respect for parity and fairer working conditions in order to fight against sexist discrimination in this sector.

SISTERS OF MUSIC is an Austrian organisation, founded in 2019, and their network has been growing ever since.  Recognising that women* are still a minority, especially in technical professions and management positions, they decided to open a network “by and for women* in the live music industry.” They organise workshops, networking events and mentoring sessions and more.

Music Women Austria was founded in 2016 as a platform of female musicians, connecting musicians and highlighting existing shortcomings in the music scene. It’s a platform facilitating the sharing of experiences through small roundtables and via social media and a network of support and exchange of information for female musicians. 

The F-List is the Directory of UK Female+ Musicians, empowering female and gender-expansive people to start and sustain music careers. It offers musicians, groups and music companies in the UK a simple way to connect with profile and professional opportunities. This is an absolutely free service as they are supported by private donations and charitable funds. You can add your entry as well – find more info and submit your profile here.

Check out this podcast episode on F-List, featuring Vick Bain and Brix Smith.

Music Women* Germany is the Network for all music women*, female-identifying and non-binary individuals in the German music industry. The Music Women* Germany initiative was launched at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg for an audience of 400 people and including the release of the first nationwide database for female* experts and artists. Each regional Music Women* network is supported by a local partner entity. Information on the structure of the local Music Women* networks can be found here.

MYM  is a platform which gives visibility to women as creators in music. Users can share suggestions for new additions to complete the database. Discover the list of artists and the search tool with filters to find what you are looking for. The tags mark musical genre, country, period, instrument… and can help you discover great artists.

Moving the needle is a network of educators, communicators and mentors to women in the industry. They help support women in the UK music industry through their entire career: they want to let students know about the multitude of roles available in the music industry – and that they don’t have to hold a mic to join us. More here.

The Cat’s Mother is a network of women in the Music and Creative Industries offering voluntary consultancy for young aspiring creatives, aged 18-25. This network was founded by Niki Evangelou and Natalie Wade in 2019 after working together at a youth-led music charity for 6 years and realised “the difference in the way the boys’ careers developed compared to the way the girls’ seemed to.” 

The F-list playlist – The F-List for Musicians is a comprehensive database of the best Female and musicians in the UK, led by its president Brix Smith and the board of (female) directors.The organisation also curates their own set of playlist featuring female artists, which are edited by the f-list team.

CloudKid Empowers is an initiative led by record label and YouTube curation channel — CloudKid — as a way to support and empower artists of any and every kind on their platform. The brand is keen on spotlighting and supporting emerging talent and creativity, including people who identify as women and LGBTQ+ to increase visibility and awareness to those a part of that community and social group. You can find more info about CloudKid Empowers here.

We Are the Unheard podcast provides the platform for everybody who has ever felt unheard. Each week Eve Horne brings you unapologetic, open-hearted, honest conversations and stories. Eve aims to educate the world with love, to change perspectives and to change lives. To bring people together through the power of audio so that they can understand the life journeys others have had, listen with empathy and be less judgmental. Listen here.

Sisterhood Collection presented by Flore -“If you want to discover/book talented women, this is the place to go.” POLAAR’s label manager, DJ and producer Flore launched Sisterhood Collection, a monthly playlist to highlight female electronic music producers, available on all platforms.

Why Not Her podcast (in English) – Why Not Her? Podcast is all about amplifying the voices of womxn across the entertainment, arts, creative, political and activism world. The Podcast series is hosted by Linda Coogan Byrne who is a leading figure in Gender & Diversity equality within the music industry. Her Data Reports, that highlight Gender & Racial Disparity within the music industry, have been viewed by over 60 million people worldwide.

Pep talk (in German) – My Ugly Clementine – Sophie, Mira, Kathrin and Nastasja – alternately invite guests from the music world to chat with them about backgrounds, sources of inspiration, work processes, tricks or their path and the hurdles they have overcome.

A seat at the table – by Womxn in CTRL (July 2021)

Gender and power relations in culture – by Yohann Floch, Marie Le Sourd, Marta Keil, Asa Richardsdottir, Carolyn Auclair.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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info@impalamusic.org