Professional Music Technology was born out of a passion for music and as we prepare to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary, our 15 stores still tell that story. They are vibrant, full of personality and run by music lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with customers.
Of course, music has changed a fair bit since 1991, when Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ and Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ were released, and our business has changed too. We have gone from a single store in Southend to become the UK’s biggest musical instrument retailer, operating in a multi-channel world. We have a diverse customer base, embracing every musical style and culture, and we want to reflect that energy and excitement in what we offer and how we serve them.
We can only do that if we ensure that diversity and inclusion become a way of life in our business. Throughout the music industry, diversity drives creativity and innovation. We embrace this and want to make it central to our culture, developing team talent with an open mind, because brilliance is best achieved when you put together a great mix of people and encourage them to bring their own authenticity and unique experiences to work.
Since leading a management buy-out of the business in 2019, I have reflected a great deal on our company culture and how we retain everything that our customers love about us – our passion, knowledge, approachability and sense of fun – whilst developing a working environment where everyone feels valued and able to perform, regardless of their background.
Creating a more diverse workforce, where all ethnicities and genders are represented at every level of our organisation, is not only the right thing to do – it will also be a key driver for our future success.
Over the past few months everyone in the music industry has started to think more deeply about what we can do to challenge inequality and injustice. But statements of solidarity are empty gestures if they are not accompanied by action. We need a long-term strategy that will deliver authentic and measurable change in the workplace.
I am committing the business to a series of measures which will ensure we build a more inclusive working environment, celebrating and promoting diversity. Professional Music Technology will become a member of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, an organisation that helps hundreds of businesses on this journey, providing advice, training and consultancy. As a first step, we are making the following commitments:
We recognise that cultural change can only be embedded in a business if that commitment comes from the top and we make it clear to our staff that all directors and managers have a specific responsibility to set an appropriate standard of behaviour, to lead by example and to ensure that our Equal Opportunities Policy is observed. It is a condition of employment that every member of staff must always treat colleagues, customers, and suppliers with dignity; we do not tolerate any discriminatory practices or behaviour.
Beyond our own business, we understand the positive effect that music has on the lives of people of all backgrounds. Our goal is to ensure that there is no barrier to entry for anyone who wants to participate in music. We want to help make music more accessible to people from all communities, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or age.
As the winner of nine Music Industries Association awards, and with a market-leading position in the industry, we know that we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to embrace this challenge. Our investors, YFM Equity Partners, share this vision and are committed to making a positive impact in the communities in which they work.
I look forward to sharing more details of this important work as we embark on the journey