Sweeping changes will be made to the ARIA board, which are designed to better reflect the diversity and inclusiveness of Australia’s recorded music industry.

During its AGM on Wednesday afternoon, ARIA’s members approved a proposal to amend the trade body’s constitution and, in time, unlock opportunities to boost the representation of women on its board.

Following the meeting, ARIA’s constitution has been changed to potentially double the size of the board. With those changes, each of the majors will have two seats on the board, which will enable them to appoint a diverse member of their team to be the second seat on the board.

It’s long overdue for an organization that has historically had just two female board members, Vicki Gordon and Bonita Boezeman.

ARIA CEO Dan Rosen welcomed the move.

“It’s something that we’ve been working towards and certainly if I look across ARIA and PPCA at our executive team, we’re majority female,” he tells TIO.

“Across our staff we’re majority female. At our committee level, we’re 50/50 male/female and two of the chairs of our three committees are female. And our emerging leaders committee that we started for the up-and-coming leaders in our industry, its 50/50 male/female without trying.”

Gender equity is “something we’ve seen happening in other parts of the organisation but certainly on the board, it hadn’t come up to that level as yet. So we had to look at how we make sure we’re reflecting the diversity of the industry on the board. These changes are all about being able to do that.”

Dan Rosen
Dan Rosen

Going forward, the board will have the discretion to directly appoint both an additional ARIA member director (a non-major label member), and an independent (non-member) director “when considered beneficial,” according to a memo from ARIA issued this morning.

With these new rules, it’s hoped the additional directors will “reflect inclusiveness, diversity and target particular experience or skill sets.”

The changes will be implemented in the early part of  2019, after which time Rosen is confident “we’ll go from zero females on the board to a third of the board being female.”

Also new at ARIA is the formation of an observership program for emerging women leaders in the music industry, an initiative that will help usher in the next-generation of female executives and offer a close-up look at the industry’s committees and the board structures.

Denis Handlin AO, ARIA Chairman and Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand and President, Asia said in a statement:

“The ARIA Board is delighted with the membership’s support of this initiative. Broadening participation and diversity on the ARIA board is an important step in ensuring the board is truly representative of its members, with the additional perspectives and experience brought to the table to be a great benefit to the board and the industry as a whole.”

kasey chambers
Kasey Chambers

With those plans to expand the ARIA board now approved, the team turns its attention to next Wednesday’s ARIA Awards, where Kasey Chambers will be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

“I feel there’s a lot happening a lot being done, there’s no doubt we’ve still got a long journey to go,” adds Rosen.

“In the last seven years we’ve inducted three females into the Hall of Fame: Kylie Minogue, Tina Arena and Kasey. Of the breakthrough artists this year, four of the five nominees are female.

“I feel the industry is starting to reflect the reality of the community and the fact there’s incredible female talent both at an executive level and at an artist level.”