So it turns out that last week I was wrong in my prediction for the new Prime Minister. This week, certainly for now at any rate, we are now under the jurisdiction of Mr Rishi Sunak – there’s a degree of irony in the fact that my spellchecker wants to refer to him as Rishi Sunk….
Now of course, this is not actually a political blog and despite the amount of prime ministers we seem to be getting through lately, I have no intention of turning it into one. I only mention this because whilst out and about this week I found myself listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio Four. Yes, I am aware the clue is in the title and clearly the focus will naturally be on Women which is perfectly reasonable to me.
However, listening to the debate there seemed to be a lot of concern about the male to female ratio of the new cabinet. This is echoed in various online sources and most news websites. Women’s groups in particular have reacted with concern and anger over the low representation of women in the new cabinet.
Rishi Sunak removed 11 members of his predecessor’s top team on Tuesday as he put together a cabinet that he said “reflects a united party” by showcasing “all the talents”. Under the changes, however, fewer than a quarter of all people – about 23% – able to attend cabinet meetings will be women.
Now let me be clear, I am absolutely in support of equal rights for all. In fact being male and knowing what men can be like, I am only too happy when women take over and get the job done properly. However that doesn’t mean that all women are brilliant and the majority of men are completely useless!
My slight gripe with the media is the way in which statistics are used tell a story. I agree that statistically, it would probably look best if the cabinet was made up of an equal split between men and women. However, surely the reality is that the split of male / female in any situation should not just be done for the sake of equality. Regardless of your political viewpoint, I personally would like to hope that people in the cabinet are appointed on merit for their ability to do the job required rather than whether they are male or female.
In this instance I can’t tell you whether that is the case; no doubt in time we shall find out.
By contrast the government makes a big play of the statistic which states that the UK is now second in international rankings for women’s representation on boards at FTSE 100 level, with nearly 40% of positions now held by women, compared with 12.5% 10 years ago. What a curious world this is, where we have international rankings for such things.
All of which got me thinking about whether there were some more useful statistics out there.
The global music industry is continuing to grow despite all the challenges it’s facing right now. But it is evolving. There’s still a place for physical media but it’s all about digital music platforms now. Even TikTok is finding ways to avoid copyright violations since music is such an integral part of its operations. And experts in the industry are looking at ways to generate more revenue.
Statistically speaking, The State of the Nation Music Education 2017 reported that the music industry has a big impact on the UK economy. It generates £4.5 billion gross value with £2.6 billion total export revenue. Full-time employment in the music industry is 14,581 which is up by 3% from 2016.
In isolation of course these are just random meaningless numbers. And quite frankly probably entirely wrong and misleading. Compare this with the Music Business Associate who suggest that in 2022 the Live Music Industry will be worth $31 billion. Even allowing for inflation it’s hard to see how in a few years we can go from the entire music business being worth £4.5 billion to just the live music industry being worth $31 billion (even allowing for currency changes!). However it doesn’t stop there because Goldman Sachs, who actually invest in music events, suggest the music business is currently worth $81 billion (2022) which is apparently going to rise to $153 billion in annual revenue by 2030.
So what does any of this tell us about anything? You might say nothing, but I would disagree. There are two lessons we can learn (or at least remind ourselves of). Firstly never believe anything you read in the media or in a google search, and secondly don’t rely on a statistic unless you have personally verified it and can vouch for its accuracy.
I for one, can at least relax safe in the knowledge that my wedding music business, JAM Music Group, has just two directors and employees. One is male (me!) and one female (Anne-Marie). Statistically at least, we have a perfect male/female ratio in the boardroom. Moreover with the majority of our clients being wedding couples then (in most cases) there is a 50/50 male/female ratio there. Of course we also play for single sex marriages, but bizarrely have never yet been asked to provide music for two men tying the knot. For now that is probably ruining our statistics, and so if you are male and getting married to another male then we would love to hear from you!