Back to Black: how the music industry reckoned with race this year

Black Lives Matter sparked overdue changes – but if deeper prejudices go unaddressed, they could be all too fleeting

“In the wake of George Floyd” is a sentence I have both read and written too many times this year. His brutal and racist killing forced an elevated conscience across every industry: suddenly, organisations cared about Black lives and everyone wanted to amplify Black voices.

The global music industry acknowledged the tragic event in May particularly strongly because so many global superstars, if not Black themselves, are influenced by Black music. Universal Music Group duly pledged $25m towards a “change fund”, while both Sony and Warner Music each pledged $100m for social justice and anti-racist causes – laudable, but ultimately minuscule compared with the value Black artists and creatives have brought to the industry.

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