CEO Desiree Perez Stands Out As Report Raises Inequities in Music Business

Despite the findings of a recent research highlighting the severe lack of diversity in the music industry, Desiree Perez is continuing to pave the way for other women in the business.

In a business that has traditionally been dominated by white men, Perez, the chief executive officer of Roc Nation, is recognised as one of the most influential voices advocating for diversity and inclusion.

According to the findings of a report that was recently published by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities who hold executive positions in industry is still quite low. And this comes less than a year after the industry made a commitment to change in the wake of the worldwide outpouring for social justice that was stoked by the assassination of George Floyd.

The survey analysed the demographics of more than 4,000 music industry executives working at the vice presidential level or higher. The paper investigated management practises at 119 businesses, including record labels, music publishers, corporate music groups, streaming platforms, live music organisations, and radio broadcasters.

The findings point to a large disparity.

19.8 percent of the executives working for the companies that were examined came from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Only 7.5% of the population was black. 35.3% of the population consisted of females.

The survey looked at 4,060 individuals, and it found that there were 17.7 white male CEOs for every single Black female leader.

The poll found that record labels have the highest percentage of Black executives, with 14.4 percent of all leadership positions and 21 percent of artist-and-repertoire (A&R) jobs held by people of colour. There is just a 4% Black leadership presence in radio, and there is only a 3.34% Black leadership presence in live music.

Women hold 39.1 percent of leadership roles in the businesses that are primarily focused on live music, giving them a significant presence within the industry. On the other hand, the vast majority of them are white. Only 5.3 percent of executive-level occupations are held by people of African descent in the record industry, which has the highest concentration of Black executives.

This is a glaring example of the discrepancy that exists in an industry that makes significant gains from the work of black artists and relies largely on their contributions.

On the other hand, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative began in 2018 to investigate the musicians, songwriters, and producers who are responsible for some of the most successful tunes of our time. However, persons of colour make up 47% of the credited artists for the top pop songs from 2012 to the present day, despite the fact that men greatly outnumber women.

A closer inspection reveals that the gap is even wider.

As the researchers investigated the most senior levels of leadership, they discovered an even greater disparity in the personnel composition of the C-suites.

They discovered that white men made up 86.1 percent of leadership positions within a group of 70 significant and independent organisations when they looked at chief executives, chairmen, and presidents. All ten people of colour who were identified to be working in such positions were employed by separate businesses.

Only two other women of colour held those top managerial positions, and Desiree Perez was one of them.

About Desiree Perez

Desiree Perez has been breaking through barriers her entire career. After holding the position of Chief Operating Officer for the diversified entertainment firm Roc Nation for a period of twelve years, she was promoted to the position of CEO in the year 2019.

Jay-Z is the founder of Roc Nation, a company that is involved in several facets of the entertainment industry. These facets include artist representation, record labels, live music, and tour management. Perez has maintained his position as leader of the group for over twenty years at this point.

Desiree Perez, who is the daughter of Cuban immigrants, began her career in the music industry by working as a nightclub manager on the side. It was via this employment that she first became acquainted with Jay-Z, and ever since then, the two have worked together in a variety of commercial projects.

In the beginning of this year, Perez was recognised for the work he does to promote social justice causes by being given the title of Billboard Change Agent. She has spent a significant amount of time and effort over the past few years utilising the philanthropy and community outreach branches of Roc Nation to bring racial equality and social justice concerns to the attention of a wider audience.

At the Billboard Women in Music awards held in 2019, she was honoured with the title of Executive of the Year.