Last year, when Frances McDormand was sweeping awards season on the back of her powerful performance in the controversial Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, her Oscar speech included a shoutout to “inclusion riders.” The idea is for anyone with a position of power in Hollywood to have it written in their contract that their projects include more diversity in terms of race and gender, ideally representing a 50/50 split. But in the music world, the need for more diversity is also an area that should be put under the microscope, and a newly instituted Grammys task force has made it a point to bring that to the record industry.
As Vulture points out, a new initiative seeks to boost the number of women working as producers and engineers in recording projects, which currently stands at a measly 2-3%. The plan asks that anyone in the position to hire producers and engineers interview at least two women before making their final decisions on the project. Of course, The Recording Academy’s recommendation is exactly that, rather than a contractual obligation like McDormand suggested in the acting world, at least until record companies want to step in and make it a requirement. Still, the task force is helping make this a reality by offering up a database of female record producers and engineers, and getting cosigns from artists like Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Cardi B, Post Malone, Lady Gaga, and many more.
Another example of something like this in place is the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which requires all teams to interview people of color for all senior-level positions. If a music version of this is put in place, it could be an important first step for a more inclusive industry.