Music industry panel to discuss LGBT representation within artist ranks, employment

The annual Nashville convention of the New Jersey-based Music Business Association will include a panel discussion regarding the representation of LGBT performers and industry players.

The hour long conversation is scheduled for 11 a.m. on May 17. It will take place, along with all 'Music Biz 2017' events, at the Renaissance Nashville. You may recall that Music Business Association President James Donio spoke out last year at this time amid calls for Governor Haslam to veto the counseling discrimination/"sincerely held principles" law that the General Assembly passed. 

"We urge Governor Haslam to use his veto power to put a stop to this harmful legislation," Donio said at the time. "We strongly support the city of Nashville that has been so welcoming to Music Biz, and applaud Mayor Barry’s fierce opposition to this legislation." 

As with this year's LGBT Erasure bill, Haslam chose not to veto the bill, though in this case he didn't sign it either.

The panel will be moderated by GLAAD VP-Programs Zeke Stokes who will speak with CMT/iHeartRadio host/producer Cody Alan—who was recently profiled in the pages of O&AN—along with country performer Ty Herndon. They will be joined by Kristen Ellis-Henderson, a founding member of the band Antigone Rising, and Matt Yazge, the head of brand partnerships at Nielson Music.

The official program description reads:

LGBTQ in the Music Business: Where is the Representation?

We know that the LGBTQ fan base for music across all genres is substantial. In fact, the LGBTQ fans outspend non-LGBTQ fans by 48% annually on music each year. Yet, the number of artists who openly identify as LGBTQ does not match that reality – nor the reality that millennials and younger generations are identifying as LGBTQ in far greater numbers than previous generations.  And behind the scenes in the industry, leaders report difficulty in identifying and recruiting LGBTQ talent at all levels. In its second year at Music Biz tackling timely issues, GLAAD asks some provocative questions. Are LGBTQ artists reluctant to come out in the industry? Are there appropriate efforts being made to attract and retain LGBTQemployees to the industry on the business side? Or are they working in the industry already and simply afraid to come out? Our panel of experts and influencers will weigh in.


For more information on the annual Music Business Association's convention in Nashville, see the official website.

Photo: from the Music Business Assocation's 2016 Artists, Management & Touring Town Hall





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