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BLM: diversity & equality report Q3 2020

Our first quarterly update following our pledge in July, addressing how we can tackle racism and diversity issues within the electronic music industry as a publication

Community support

DJ Mag has partnered with the Young Urban Arts Foundation (YUAF) to create a series of virtual DJ workshops and masterclasses — to inspire hard-to-reach young people during lockdown, and introduce more young people to dance music. DJ Mag has sourced the DJ talent to lead these virtual workshops and masterclasses, which will begin in October 2020. We will be using our resources to amplify the sessions and encourage established artists to be part of them.

AZ Mag

We have also partnered with AZ Mag — a digital publication, social space and event organiser for LGBTQ+ Black and non-Black POC — to share our resources with and collaborate on projects that amplify those voices within the dance music community. 

We have donated £1,000 to the AZ Mag Creative Fund, from which 10 grantees will be receiving £1,000 for a creative project of their choice. The DJ Mag donation will go towards funding a dance music-focused project created by a Black LGBTQ+ creative. The application process opened on Monday 21st September and the deadline for entry is October 31st. The link to apply is here.

DJ Mag will work free of charge on a consultancy basis for AZ Mag in choosing this grantee. Once the grantee has been chosen, DJ Mag will source a relevant industry mentor, and utilise our resources as an industry leader, to support the grantee’s project. At the end of the process, DJ Mag will support the project across its channels.

We have set up an email [email protected] for anyone that would like to discuss working with us re: community support initiatives.

Business practices

Shortly after the publication of the July issue, our first print issue back after the first COVID-19 lockdown, DJ Mag appointed Michael Wilson, our DJ Mag UK tech editor, as our diversity and equality manager. As part of this new position, Wilson now leads a diversity and equality working group: representatives from each element of the business meet monthly, to discuss the short-term objectives and long-term aims of our pledge. 

DJ Mag is working to diversify the business across platforms. To date, we have given free print advertising to causes that support Black and non-Black POC community projects (AZ Mag, YUAF & Reprezent Radio) to the value of £20,000.00 This commitment to free advertising will be an ongoing part of the business.

Editorial standards

The July issue focused on Black Lives Matter: with our ‘Dance Music is Black Music’ cover and anti-racism and equality pledge, and selection of features focusing on issues facing Black, non-Black POC and LGBTQ+ communities in dance music; led by artists and writers from said communities, written in their own words. 

Since July, Black has been capitalised across platforms and in internal messaging in relation to people and culture of African origin. The editorial team is also in the process of updating the style guide to better reflect changing contemporary terminologies within Black music, including genre and subgenre names.

While we have historically featured Black, non-Black POC and LGBTQ+ artists across DJ Mag channels, we have made a concerted effort in recent months to showcase as many artists, scenes and labels (both established and emerging) from these communities as possible. We’ve also been working with more Black and non-Black POC writers, including for top-line editorial such as long-form and cover stories, areas that have been dominated by white writers in recent years.

This diversification extends to our digital content hosting. Between 1st July and 1st October, four of the seven mixes hosted on the DJ Mag Soundcloud were by Black or non-Black POC artists. Four were by female or non-binary artists.

Of the 13 remaining mix slots for 2020 (11 of which are already confirmed), at least eight will be from Black or non-Black POC artists, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. Five will be from female or non-binary artists. Of the 44 premieres hosted on DJ Mag's Soundcloud between 1st July and 1st October, 14 were by Black or non-Black POC artists. 11 were by female or non-binary artists.

Polls and awards

DJ Mag is using the current Top 100 DJs poll campaign period to focus our messaging on diversity and equality in the dance music industry. We will also publish responses based around diversity and equality from the DJs who make the Top 100 poll in our results edition in November 2020, to further the conversation.

We made the decision to launch an Alternative Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival series, alongside the already-planned Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival series, to offer artists ranked outside of the current Top 100 — including many Black and non-Black POC artists — a platform on our channels during the voting period.

We will continue to work on strategies to better showcase Black and non-Black POC artists on our channels, particularly during the periods when our readers are voting in our annual DJ polls. Our editor-in-chief used the editor’s letters to encourage readers to vote with diversity in mind in our Top 100 DJs and Alt Top 100 DJs poll.

We made a pledge to commit 30% of all funds and resources from the Top 100 DJs Foundation (Registration number: 6160897, Dutch Chamber of Commerce) to Black and non-Black POC causes, and report quarterly on these donations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary fundraising activation — The Top 100 DJs Race Day — has unfortunately been cancelled. We are now working on alternative fundraising activities, and plan to report on the amount raised at the end of the current financial year.

Live events

Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and government-led social distancing measures, it has been difficult for DJ Mag to create meaningful change in the live events part of the business. Instead, we have focused on our digital broadcasts. Of the 95 DJ sets streamed on our channels between 1st July and 1st October, 25 of them were hosted by Black and non-Black POC artists. We will continue to work on improving these numbers.

You can read our full diversity pledge here.