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DJ Mag : diversity & equality report Q4 2020

Our second 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


Continuing on from the partnership with the Young Urban Arts Foundation (YUAF), which was started in 2020, all masterclasses have now been completed.  

A video recap has been produced to help promote YUAF courses, and encourage other artists to partner with them. You can take a look at this video here

AZ Mag 

After our initial donation and consultancy work for the AZ Mag Creative Fund, an applicant has been selected and will begin her six month project in January 2021. You can read more about the AZ Mag x DJ Mag grantee here.

DJ Mag has begun to work alongside the chosen grantee who will be presenting the piece in May 2021, with cross platform support from DJ Mag.

We have begun talks with AZ Mag regarding new community support activations for 2021. Updates to follow.

Community support standards 

In order to effectively support community projects, we have outlined criteria which will serve as standards to hold ourselves to and guidance to those who wish to apply: 

  • DJ Mag will set a side portion of monthly inventory for pro-bono advertising across digital and print to projects that directly support Black, POC and/or LGBTQ+ communities

  • DJ Mag will take on four long term community support projects per year; one per quarter, and with at least two projects being UK based

  • DJ Mag community support projects must directly benefit Black, POC and/or LGBTQ+ communities and must not financially benefit individuals and/or third party groups

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

Business practices

Our first diversity & equality report, from Q3, was circulated across our digital channels during the month of October. Representatives from each element of the business continue to meet monthly, as our diversity and equality working group, to discuss the short- and long-term aims of our pledge.  

We continue to give free print advertising to causes that support Black and non-Black POC community projects (AZ Mag, YUAF and Reprezent Radio) to the value of £30,000.00. This commitment to free advertising will be an ongoing part of the business and has now been expanded to cover our digital campaigns.

Editorial standards

Our cover star for September was Conducta with Sherelle featuring on the cover for our December end of year edition. 

In our December issue, we followed up with four of the contributors from our July  Black Lives Matter ‘Dance Music is Black Music’ cover. DJ Paulette, Kay-Lee Golding of the Radio Silence movement, Akua Ofei of the Black Junglist Alliance, and NIKS from Black Bandcamp all reported on updates to their projects and their views of how the scene has progressed.

The editorial team is also in the final stages 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, POC and LGBTQ+ artists across all of our DJ Mag channels, we continue to make a concerted effort 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 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. In December, we published a feature on Manchester-based research project, Prosecuting Rap, which is challenging the use of “rap evidence” in court. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of UK criminal trials using rap lyrics and music videos as evidence, a trend that disproportionately affects young Black men and worries many in legal and creative fields.

Our video team continues to create our DJ Mag Originals content through the pandemic, with series including How I DJ, How I Made and The Story Of all launching in recent months. Each series features a diverse range of artists.

Series Playlists can be viewed at the links below

Between 1st October and 1st January, seven of the 10 mixes hosted on the DJ Mag Soundcloud were by Black or POC artists. Four were by female or non-binary artists.

Of the 13 mix slots available for the next quarter, nine are already confirmed. So far, seven of those will be from Black or POC artists, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. At the time of writing, three of the mixes confirmed are by women or non-binary artists. Of the 41 premieres hosted on DJ Mag's Soundcloud between 1st October and 1st January, 19 were by Black or POC artists. 10 were by female or non-binary artists.

Polls and awards

Positioned as a counterbalance to our internationally focused Top 100 DJs poll, our Best of British awards are designed to showcase underground electronic music from the UK.  

Reaching 1.3 million users, with 35,000 votes each year — in addition to extensive support from the music industry, artists, labels and more — Best of British is a proven predictor of future stars and trends. 

Unlike our Top 100 Polls, voters in Best of British are given an option of nominees selected by our editorial staff. Once again, we were proud to represent the diversity of the UK scene in this year’s awards, which landed in the final month of Q4. Our Best of British awards featured a diverse list of nominations, and we were encouraged that half of the voted for awards were won by Black, POC and LGBTQ artists. Our series of editorially curated awards also continued in reflecting the diversity of the UK dance music scene.

Live events

With no real let up to the 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 continue to focus on our digital broadcasts. We re-launched DJ Mag HQ behind closed doors in Q4 making sure our booking policy was in line with our pledge. 

Of the 36 DJ sets streamed on our channels between 1st October and 1st January, 18 of them were hosted by Black and POC artists.

We were due to host a live panel; Black Representation in Dance Music at BMC (Brighton Music Conference) on 2nd October to further explore the topics that were raised from our initial July BLM Edition. However due to further COVID-19 restrictions that were in place during the month of October, we had to present this as an Online panel. A selection of industry professionals joined us to discuss the topic further which can be viewed here.

You can read our full diversity pledge here.