A Statement from Beatport’s CEO

A Statement from Beatport’s CEO

This is a statement from The Beatport Group CEO, Robb McDaniels, and includes a list of Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Action programs and partnerships at the Company over the last several years.

As most of you have likely seen, an article was published this week about Beatport’s company work culture. I want to address this article directly.

While we disagree with the overall portrayal of the company by the reporter in the Vice article, I would like to state unequivocally that I sincerely regret any unjust and unfair treatment of any employee during our company’s history.  I have spent more than two decades running digital music companies, and the respectful and fair treatment of all colleagues has been of paramount importance to me.  It pains me to think that any employee wouldn’t feel safe or empowered under my leadership.  I also want to apologize to employees who have joined the company in the last few years, as this article is not reflective of who we are today.  

When I was brought in at the end of 2017 to turn around Beatport after nearly two years mired in the throes of a bankruptcy process, almost every measurable and spiritual metric was at an all time low.  Employee count, revenue, innovation, customer confidence, brand value and belief in much of a future for the company were all suffering.  While this is not unusual in companies that have gone through a bankruptcy, it doesn’t make it any easier for people who endured  the emotional toll it can take on one’s mental health or outlook.  I have a deep sense of sympathy for those impacted.

The company immediately began the essential process of addressing our culture by creating a People & Culture department, building out a long term product roadmap, and empowering those who were passionate about innovation by providing them the space to take our brand in a different direction.  Day-by-day and month-by-month during 2018 and 2019 we made progress, but there was still historical baggage and issues that needed to be addressed.  Real, lasting change doesn’t happen overnight and I am proud of the contributions we made for those suffering through the 2020 pandemic and global social movements such as #metoo and BLM.  These were extraordinary and unprecedented times, and we did our best to take care of our people and continue the progress we had made.  

I remain extremely impressed by our team and their efforts towards improving culture and evolving the composition of the company. As the result of our full commitment to diversity and inclusion in all areas of our operations, some of our accomplishments over the last couple years include:

1. 40% of our music division’s senior management is female or non-binary.

2. 17% of our engineering team is female or non-binary, which is higher than the industry average for software companies.

3. Live streams average 1/3rd female, non-binary and BIPOC performers.

4. Playlists and features have a minimum operating target of 25% female, non-binary and BIPOC across all genres.

5. Established mandate for all recruiting and hiring efforts to focus on gender balanced results. This also includes the following of fair processes and equal opportunities policy.

6. Established a goal to achieve 1/3rd representation by the end of 2023 across all leadership positions for female, non-binary and BIPOC candidates and believe we will achieve this metric ahead of schedule.

7. Historically, more than 90% of DJ customers have been male but we are working as an organization to incorporate more diverse voices and communication tactics to appeal to a broader demographic, evidenced by our recent campaign to grant $100,000 to fund ideas promoting gender diversity.

8. Creation of a Diversity, Inclusion and Social Action committee in early 2020.

9. Establishment of a variety of ongoing D&I training and education programs for management across the business.

10. Supported numerous non-profits organizations in our community over the past few years with sponsorship and fundraising efforts to raise money for gender, inclusion and equality issues in our community and society (a more detailed list can be found below).

While our journey to evolve the culture has been mostly a positive one, we understand it doesn’t mean every single employee is going to have the same positive experience. Sometimes there are communication issues – especially when considering the various backgrounds and cultures that exist at a company with team members across the globe – and sometimes there are management inconsistencies, especially in a fast-growing, dynamic environment. As a result, when you put all these things together, there will be disagreements, cultural barriers we need to bridge, and frustrations that end up negatively impacting an individual’s experience. While we are continually looking for better ways to effectively communicate and work cohesively, we are also not immune to miscommunications and misunderstandings during this process.

Which is why the recent article that appeared in VICE is so disappointing. It doesn’t speak to any of the progress and growth this company has made over the past few years to raise awareness with our staff, add diversity, and work collaboratively within the broader community to shine a spotlight on very real issues in our industry.  Racial equality, gender parity, employee safety, mental health and community vitality are causes the entire Beatport Group thinks about every day.  

We remain committed in our goal to be an ally to these causes; we are passionate about these causes; we are investing in these causes; and we embody them in our daily lives in an effort to positively impact as many people as possible. I believe that Beatport has a platform and an opportunity to affect real change in our world, and I have taken that seriously from day one.  Included below, is a list of some of the programs, initiatives, training and education, as well as partnerships, we have engaged in to show our commitment to lasting change.

Beatport is not a place that shuns diversity and equality; we embrace it. Beatport is not a killer of voices and ideas; we cultivate them.  We have been through some challenging times and have not been historically perfect, but we are far from the toxic culture described in the article.  

The leadership team at Beatport is 100% committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality. When we stumble along the way, we will rely on our globally diverse community to work collaboratively with us to get back on track.  We understand that real change requires honest and constructive dialogue combined with tangible progress from everyone involved.  We are not afraid to have tough conversations about our industry, company or ourselves; what matters most is how we grow as individuals and as a society.

I have been overwhelmed by the responses from current employees expressing their support and firm belief in our current course, and I remain immensely grateful for their commitment to our company and community.

Robb McDaniels

Beatport’s Internal Projects and Initiatives

2020 — Donated a day’s profits to a global organization in support of Blackout Day.

2020 — Formed Diversity, Inclusion, & Social Action Committee comprised of diverse staff members throughout our locations.

2020 — Completed company survey and DE&I audit working with a DEI consultant to audit current processes and procedures.

2020 — Created a George Floyd memorial page and hosted a meditation for our staff.

2020 — Rollout platform where employees can report microaggressions (anonymous).

2020 — Educating people about the differentiation between ‘microaggressions,’ ‘bullying,’ and ‘harassment.’

2021 — Established Beatport Store Policy with a protocol that prevents problematic individuals from being platformed on our sites.

2021 — Hosted ‘Unconscious Bias Training” for leadership & executives.

2020 — Published Amplify page: a dedicated space for amplifying marginalized artists on Beatport.

2021 — Hosted ‘Juneteenth and Workplace Wellness Training’ (Company-wide + All Hands).

2021 — Hosted ‘Our Role in Creating Inclusive Professional Environments’ (Company-wide + All Hands).

2021 — Established company-wide holidays for International Women’s Day & Juneteenth while providing ideas and literature for staff to gain a better understanding and awareness of these key holidays.

Ongoing — Participation in WomenHack, a recruiting event for Women and GNC in technology, for diverse hiring within our technology sector.

2022 — Established hiring partnership to close the gender gap in technology with women in tech online community and technology consultancy on a mission to close the gender tech gap. They now have over 20,000 female software engineer members and now have strong communities worldwide.

2022 / Ongoing — Reviewing hiring partnership with a black community network.

2022/ Ongoing — Content & Branding guidelines for Loopmasters’ Labels Workgroup formed to create content and branding guidelines in line with Beatport store policy (offensive/inappropriate content submitted).

2022/ Ongoing — Participation in external discussions on Roe vs. Wade Initiative to make a proposal on the global electronic music industry and to formulate a positive response and campaign that will support women colleagues, artists, and fans across the US.

2022/ Ongoing — DISA & Friends Internal Session H2: Disabilities and the challenge within our industry with discussions from an artist who has disabilities and talks through her experience within the industry. The session’s purpose is to highlight different disabilities and different ways we can open dialogue and become more inclusive.

2022/ Ongoing — Reviewing and redrafting of handbook for DEI policies & internal processes: Extending a further inclusive handbook glossary / Proposal on Roe vs. Wade (Planned parenthood support policy) / Redefining and providing further information on bullying, microaggressions, inappropriate and discriminatory behavior, and more.

2022/ ongoing — Annual Pulse survey program launch: A program launched as a series of surveys to the whole organization for benchmarking and trend tracking to define areas of improvement. Engagement, Wellness & Wellbeing, Effectiveness, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and an ongoing rollout in refreshing sensitivity training.

External Initiatives

2017/ Ongoing — Black History Month: Newsletter campaign featuring artist charts, curated playlists, releases, and landing pages, along with
Beatportal artist features (2019 onwards) like Artist of the Month, Cover Story, On Our Radar, Introducing, and more.

2017/ Ongoing — International Women’s Day: The Future is Female Newsletter campaign with female charts and staff curated playlists, landing pages, Artist of the Week, IWD Charts to support women in music across our storefront, livestreams, Beatportal artist features (2019 onwards) like Artist of the Month, Cover Story, On Our Radar, Introducing, and more.

2018/ Ongoing — Community Outreach: Multiple Beatport employees have spoken at various global panels/conferences on topics including DE&I and mental health awareness within the community.

2019/ Ongoing — Pride: A 24-hour Pride stream on Twitch, Live Q&As, discussions, Beatportal Editorials, and playlists.

2019/ Ongoing — Mental Health: Hosted various Mental Health initiatives via editorial, live streaming, and discussions to further destigmatize this important global topic.

2020/ Ongoing — ReConnect: Hosted various livestreams with a diverse lineup of artists. Raised over $600K for global charities.

This statement is supported by Romain Pouillon, Jonas Tempel, Brandon Shevin and Terry Weerasinghe.

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