Music Corporations That Lecture About Racial Justice Are Led by Executives Who Are Overwhelmingly White Men, 4 Percent Are Black

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 28: Musician Colin Hay performs on stage during the iHeart80s Party 2017 at SAP Center on January 28, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The entertainment industry likes to lecture ordinary Americans about the importance of diversity while continually failing to live up to its own woke standards. The latest evidence: a new study showing music company executives are overwhelmingly white men, with less than 5 percent of CEO, chair, and president roles occupied by black people.

While pop stars drone on about the importance of inclusion, the industry’s top ranks are facing a “diversity desert,” according to a study sent to multiple news outlets by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Among the 70 leading music companies analyzed by researchers, 86 percent of top executives were men and 86 percent were white. In those companies, there were only three black top executives and two minority women.

At nine companies, every CEO was white and only one was a woman.

The study found just 13.9 percent of top executives across the industry were ethnic minorities, while only 4.2 percent were black and 13.9 percent were women.

“Our data makes it really clear that these companies have a workforce crisis on their hands,” Annenberg founder Stacy L. Smith told Variety.

She said researchers didn’t single out individual companies this year but they will next year.

“These companies need to make commitments and specify very clearly how they’re going to map forward change.”

Companies included in the study fell under three broad categories — record labels, such as UMG, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group; live music and concert promotion companies, such as Live Nation and AEG Presents; and radio and streaming companies, such as Spotify and iHeart Radio.

Despite their lack of senior-level diversity, major music companies engaged in racial virtue signaling last year by showing their support for Black Lives Matter and other diversity initiatives.Warner Music Group donated $100 million to groups in support for BLM while Spotify  participated in Black Out Tuesday, saying the company “will support our employees, friends, partners, artists, and creators in the fight against racism, injustice, and inequity.”

Sony Music Group said it would donate $100 million to support social justice and “anti-racist” initiatives around the world.

The study is the latest report spotlighting the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry. Despite being overwhelmingly left-wing, the industry has failed to heed its own drumbeat when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

Recent studies have found that Hollywood continues to marginalize and stereotype Muslims and Asians in movies, while also discriminating against LGBTQ writers.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.