Australian Music Industry Launches Anti-Harassment Initiative ‘Don’t Be That Guy’

BRISBANE, Australia -- Enough is enough. A nucleus of Australian music industry professionals has banded together for a campaign with a message to all the misogynists out there, "don’t be that guy."

This week saw the launch of the Music Industry Collaborative Commitment, a shareable tool and resource for artists to use as they enter into one-to-one situations with collaborators or potential business partners.

The Commitment is a set of common-sense commandments, intended to create a platform for safety and confidence for music-makers as they pursue opportunities where, sadly, barriers still firmly exist.

The project was designed with the “acknowledgement that there are systemic and harmful power imbalances within the music industry, and a commitment to help create change,” reads a statement.

Those issues are said to relate often to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, minority status, age and ability.

"In a matter of mere days, we’ve received overwhelming support for the Commitment,” comments the initiative’s co-founder Mick Walsh, a Sydney-based artist manager and former APRA AMCOS communications executive. “It’s a shame that we even need something like this, but this is an industry that is committed to change."

Walsh and his fellow co-founders “made a conscious decision to use the word ‘guy’ in this context,” he explains. “This is largely a men’s issue, and we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that.”

At launch, Commitment is supported and in use by AIR, BMG, Downtown Music Publishing, UNIFIED Music Group, MGM, Eleven Music, Mirror Music, I OH YOU, Vita Artists, Cooking Vinyl, Space44, Beehive PR, Deathproof PR, Bossy Music, The PR Files, Musiio, ArowAgency and news organizations The Music Network and The Brag Media.

More are coming on board. "This is inclusive and it's backed by our music industry community,” explains Poppy Reid, managing editor at The Brag Media and co-founder of the Commitment. "We're all aware change is needed. We're all aware change is coming. I just hope this plays a part in that."

Over time, it’s hoped the guidelines will be widely adopted when setting-up writing and recording sessions, photoshoots, rehearsals, or any type of meeting, so that all sides can establish a secure work space.

The Commitment arrives three years after the unveiling of Your Choice, an industry initiative to stamp out sexual assault and anti-social conduct at concerts and festivals.

More needs to be done. In recent weeks, a spate of Australian artists and industry professionals stepped forward to share their own experiences of being subjected to sexual assault and harassment.