Don’t be that guy: Australia’s music industry commits to making it a safer place for all

On Wednesday, the Australian music industry at large launched the MUSIC INDUSTRY COLLABORATIVE COMMITMENT – a tool, and resource for use at the one-on-one meeting level, under the broad directive of “Don’t be that guy.”

Over the past few weeks, many incidents have been brought to light by Jaguar Jonze and Michelle Pitiris relating to the sexual assault and harassment of womxn within the Australian music industry. It’s demonstrated – not for the first time – that the music industry is not as safe as it should be.

The goal is that the Commitment is widely adopted when setting up writing or recording sessions, photoshoots, rehearsals, and any kind of meeting – to put respect and safety on the agenda, provide some guidelines on appropriate behaviour, and so that all parties can commit to creating a safe environment before they meet.

This resource is an acknowledgment that there are systemic and harmful power imbalances within the music industry, and it is a commitment to help create change. It covers discrimination, harassment, and abuse related to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, ability, and minority status.

It’s a common-sense approach that sets a tone of respect and safety for any kind of meeting, while also outlining issues and sensitivities for those who may not be aware of them, and as a cautionary reminder for those who already have an understanding.

Mick Walsh, a Sydney-based artist manager, and co-founder of the MUSIC INDUSTRY COLLABORATIVE COMMITMENT, said:

“In a matter of mere days, we’ve received overwhelming support for the Commitment. It’s a shame that we even need something like this, but this is an industry that is committed to change.”

Referring to the campaign title, “DON’T BE THAT GUY”, he added: “We’ve made a conscious decision to use the word ‘guy’ in this context. This is largely a men’s issue, and we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that.”

Poppy Reid, Managing Editor at The Brag Media and co-founder of the COMMITMENT added:

“This is inclusive and it’s backed by our music industry community. As a whole we are now offering both a resource for meetings and gatherings, and a commitment to respect our peers. We’re all aware change is needed. We’re all aware change is coming. I just hope this plays a part in that.

“One consultant who we would particularly like to credit is Jaguar Jonze for all her work leading up to this campaign. Together with Michelle Pitiris she has been the voice for many, and given the entire industry the shake-up it truly needs.”

We hope this resource is of particular use to artists and that it will bring them a level of security and confidence in entering collaborative situations. We also hope that organisations and businesses adopt this approach (if not this exact wording, create their own).

At the time of launch the MUSIC INDUSTRY COLLABORATIVE COMMITMENT is supported, and in use, by: AIR, BMG, Downtown Music Publishing, UNIFIED Music Group, SUPPORT ACT, MGM, Eleven Music, Mirror Music, I OH YOU, Comes With Fries, Vita Artists, Grindin’, Cooking Vinyl, Space44, Beehive PR, Deathproof PR, Bossy Music, The PR Files, Musiio, Arow Agency, The Music Network, The Brag Media. 

It was developed through community and expert consultation including representatives covering gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and ability. 

All music businesses and individuals are encouraged to add their name in support via the form at dontbethatguy.com.au

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