Smirnoff Sound Collective Aims to Tackle Dance Music's Diversity Problem, Launches Program With Live Stream
Smirnoff Sound Collective is consciously trying to address issues of diversity and exclusion which have become more prevalent in the dance music industry.This article originally appeared on Billboard
Dance music's diversity problem is, at this point, well-documented. While the genre started as a haven for gay minorities, the modern scene has been taken over by mainly white suburban youth or affluent Europeans.
Smirnoff, the vodka company, has thought a lot about this and discovered that 1 percent of all DJs and producers make 77 percent of their peers profits. Last year, only 10 percent of electronic festival headliners were women, according to Smirnoff's findings, and most of the DJs and producers making big waves are straight white men.
“Smirnoff is a firm believer in inclusivity,” says local senior brand manager Justin Medcraft. “Inclusivity and diversity are clearly linked, but the biggest opportunity, given a lot of what's been going on recently, is that diversity is something we want to contribute to in the future.”
So far, Smirnoff has been doing that through its Smirnoff Sound Collective initiative, which has told the stories of the female-centric Discwoman collective and the Latin artists of NAAFI with its Tribes documentary series. It has also married same-sex couples and celebrated the resilience and strength of the LGBTQ community at its Smirnoff House EDC festival installations, and in 2017, Smirnoff Sound Collective wants to take its initiative one step further. It's going to get involved in the careers of up-and-coming artists directly.
“It's a platform that we're building in collaboration with Mixmag that's goal is to take the diverse artists of today and turn them into the icons of tomorrow,” Medcraft says. “We want to make sure, in the future, the electronic music stars and icons are going to be more representative of diverse backgrounds. This is how we feel we can make a shift toward that.