DISABLED people are being shut out of the music industry largely because of the way employers view them.
That’s the conclusion of a disturbing new survey which found four out of five deaf and disabled people working in music believe barriers related to their impairment had affected their career.
And among those looking for work in the business, more than half have withdrawn from a job application for access-related reasons, while two thirds admitted they either always or sometimes conceal impairments or health conditions.
One of those interviewed said: “I often find job offers are suddenly unavailable when I ask about access adjustments.”
An overwhelming 93% of those questioned said the biggest barrier they faced in the music and live events industry was other people’s perceptions of their capabilities.
Attitude is Everything, which campaigns to improve accessibility to live music, released the research as it published its new, free Accessible Employment Guide, which it hopes will improve the inclusion of Deaf and disabled workers in the commercial music sector.
Robin Millar, the disabled, award-winning record producer of albums such as Sade’s Diamond Life, and chair of disability charity Scope, told the Guide’s launch event: “I’m here because, in 40 years in the music business in this country, I’ve never been offered a job.”
He said that research had shown that more than half the population had admitted being awkward when talking to disabled people.
Millar added: “The big answer: let’s get rid of special schools.Let’s make sure we end up in a country that has had a whole generation that by the time we all get to 18, our classmates have been every sort, type, gender, colour, race, creed, ability, disability, mental acuity, deafness, blindness, you name it.
“It will then never occur to any of them to start a business where they can’t embrace the most talented, interesting, fun, engaging of all their friends. I’m really saying that attitude is everything.”
The guide has been endorsed by organisations including UK Music, the PRS Foundation and the Association of Independent Music.
Ben Price, from Harbourside Artist Management, said the guide was “a huge step forward in simplifying and demystifying some of the assumptions employers sometimes make”.