Keychange Charts Impact of Gender Equity in Music

Keychange, the pioneering international initiative for gender equity in the music industry, urges the global music community to rally behind the lessons learned over five years in its Impact Evaluation Report (2018 – 2023) and to actively advocate for a brighter future in gender equity, as outlined in the new Keychange Manifesto 2.0.

The Impact Evaluation Report will be launched at the conference programme during Tallinn Music Week in Estonia on April 5th under the banner ‘Rewind and Fast Forward’ – a reference to the encapsulation of the project, and the need for fast tracking change. Conducted by independent evaluator Dr Matina Magkou the report delves into the initiative’s impact on women and gender-diverse individuals since its inception in 2018, as well as its impact on the wider music industry. It will be accompanied by an updated Keychange Manifesto 2.0, a result of collaborative manifesto sessions with artists and innovators, offering insights and recommendations and serving as an essential roadmap for the future of the industry. Both documents will be available for download from the Keychange website post-event.

The Rewind Fast Forward Keychange program will also play host to numerous performances of Keychange artists on the opening night of the festival on the 4th of April,and those will include: Misia Furtak (PL), HUNT (EE), Anna Bassy (IT), Vera Vice (EE), Bedless Bones (EE), Efe Ce Ele (ES) and Katja Adrikova (EE).

Since 2018, Keychange has invested over €2.75m in 306 participants in its flagship talent development programme across five cohorts. Of this, 153 artists and 153 innovators have been supported to advance their careers through cross-border collaborations, facilitating 155 showcase performances for artists and providing over 160 speaking opportunities (as panellists, moderators, experts and trainers) for innovators.  Each participant receives an average investment of €9,000, covering various costs including access, accompaniment (managers etc.), and childcare expenses.

Although the initiative initially centred on gender equity, the report acknowledges the importance of taking a more intersectional approach to be more inclusive and sensitive when addressing wider inequalities in the music industry, including factors such as ethnic diversity and race, disability, age or parenthood.

Focusing on participant demographics and impact highlights, the Impact Evaluation Report reveals a diverse cohort with a significant portion of participants in the Keychange initiative identified as LGBTQIA+ (42.8%), with varying identities including Bisexual, Queer, Pansexual, Gay/Lesbian, and ‘Other’. In comparison, 57.2% identified as Heterosexual or Straight.

About one-third (28.6%) of the selected participants identified as belonging to the global majority within their respective countries.

The report also underscores the importance of Childcare Top-Up support which was required by 14.1% of selected participants, indicating a need for additional support in balancing childcare responsibilities with program participation.

Furthermore, 18.6% of selected participants identified as Deaf, Disabled, or having an impairment affecting their day-to-day lives, highlighting the importance of accessibility considerations.

Encouragingly, 76% of participants reported initiating movements promoting gender equity within the music industry in their own environments, reflecting the initiative’s impact on fostering advocacy and activism. (p. 16)

Among the Keychange partners and participants surveyed, the external evaluation survey found that:

– 97% believe that Keychange has managed to a great extent to support the artistic and business development of women and gender-diverse people in the music industry

– 90% of the participants rate very high Keychange’s contribution to the creation of a transnational movement on gender equity in the music industry.

– 87% believe that it has influenced considerably or somewhat considerably policy, business models, funding and music industry development.

In assessing the Keychange network and reach, the report recognises the impact of the Keychange Pledge – a network that brings together a diverse ecosystem of partners, including organisations, companies and any entities within the music industry who pledge to achieve a 50% and over gender balance in their programming, staffing and beyond. In 2018, 45 festivals worldwide signed up to the Keychange Pledge. This has grown to a formidable network today that comprises over 650 signatories spanning 40+ countries – representing a 1344% increase in signatories from 2018 to 2024.

This reach is bolstered by the support of 43 influential ambassadors, such as Tayla Parx (US), Rebecca Ferguson (UK), Nadine Shah (UK), Peaches (DE), and Flore Benguigui (FR), Tegan and Sara (CA), Linnea Henriksson (SE), Joy Denalane (DE).

As the report indicates, Keychange’s timely backing has contributed to nurturing the talent of numerous artists and innovators across 12 European countries and Canada. The initiative also celebrates achievements and promotes visibility through its Inspiration Awards, which has to date recognised 21 outstanding contributions of individuals for their impact within the music industry. Together the Keychange network has a collective reach valued at $52.74 million in advertising value equivalent. Keychange demonstrates that it continues to move the dial on gender equity within the music industry.