Manchester record label changes recruitment requirements in attempt to tackle the music industry’s class divide

Manchester-based independent digital record label Ostereo has taken an innovative step towards addressing the class bias when it comes to job positions in the music industry. As of this month, the label has banned candidates from including where they went to school or university in their applications. The Ostereo label is only just over 2 years old but has already amassed over 2 billion streams and plays for the music it represents and has played a huge part in the success of Korean YouTube phenomenon J. Fla, who currently has more than 9 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, and singer-songwriter Lizbet Sempa, who boasts over a million followers on Soundcloud alone.

The company hopes the new recruitment policy will reduce unconscious bias and encourage people from all backgrounds to feel more confident pursuing a career in the music industry. The music industry is well known for having a disproportionate representation of privately educated employees; a 2014 UK government report found that 44% of people working in TV, film and music were privately educated, compared to just 7% of the UK population on the whole.

Howard Murphy, founder of Ostereo, says of their policy:

Talent transcends class, but so often in the music industry, success is about opportunity and connections as well as talent. This not only gives an unfair advantage to some, but it can discourage others, who may feel that without the right background, they don’t stand a chance,” and continues to explain that, “We hope that this will not only reduce any unconscious bias in our hiring processes, but will also encourage people from all backgrounds to apply.

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