The Insider explains: why is there no diversity in dance music?

DJ Paulette spoke to Sky News for a report they published this morning – and what she says in it makes grim reading. She reveals she no longer wears dresses or skirts to gigs because of perverts engaging in upskirting. Such is the problem that her own rider includes the clause that no one is allowed to go behind her whilst she’s doing her set.

This is a sickening state of affairs, yet it’s far from the first that’s crossed our desks at Ears To The House. Her comments were included on an article about the findings of the Progressing Gender Representation in UK Dance Music report – which don’t really make for much better reading. But why is dance music so hopeless at diversity?

We thought we’d put this question to The Insider. A man who’s been in the music industry for over 35 years and who isn’t afraid to call things exactly how he sees it, we occasionally contact each other for insights into all kinds of topics. So what did he think?

He said “The question is complicated, but much of the answer is remarkably simple. It’s because there are a lot of people at the top of the music world who don’t want it. This isn’t unique to dance music by a long shot, but it is more prevalent there. It was an inevitable result of DJ agencies becoming larger and consolidating their position in the market.”

“The dance music press aren’t keen on it, either. They don’t campaign for it much because they know it upsets some of their advertisers, as ridiculous as that sounds. Most of them aren’t in good financial health after the past few years, and they just can’t risk upsetting the people with money to spend at times like this. You then have some individual DJs themselves whose mindset is a problem.”

“One prominent DJ on the festival circuit [The Insider did supply the name, but Ears To The House is not publishing it] said to me recently ‘I’ve worked hard to get to my position. Why the f*** should I stand aside now just because my face doesn’t fit in with some woke agenda?’. He explained the festival season was only so long and only had a certain number of slots, and made a bunch of claims about how some DJs were only where they were because of skin colour or gender.”

“It’s a big problem. The whole structure that’s been built up will basically have to be torn down to make it happen. Those inside a house that could face demolition aren’t happy about the prospect – and I can’t say I blame them, in a way.”.

Is there a solution to all this? He said “It’s tricky, but I think the best way to get a lot of these people on board is to talk about the financial side. If they can be persuaded that more diverse lineups in festivals and clubs, more diverse management, more diversity all around will make themselves and everyone else a lot of money, they could make it happen pretty quickly. The music industry is a slow beast to catch onto things, but it can be fast when they want it to be.”.

We report, you decide…

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