New Research To Investigate Harassment In The Music Industry


#metoo, #menomore and #timesup to gain support from new research

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and with #metoo, #menomore and #timesup galvanising public desire for change, one Sydney based researcher is seeking to create a platform for positive change by conducting original research on the scale and nature of workplace harassment in the music industry. Music Industry Inside Out, being an advocate for addressing industry issues, has its own educational course regarding Contemporary Industry Issues.


UTS PhD candidate Jeff Crabtree is looking for participants from the popular music industries of Australia and New Zealand who are willing to confidentially and anonymously tell their stories of workplace harassment. Despite the recent publicity, there has been no independent academic research that examines this problem and Crabtree wants to change that. The aim of this research is to discover the detail and extent of what’s going on and to provide the credible basis for informed decision making and policy making.


Tina Arena is one of nearly 400 professionals with a story of harassment in the music industry. Most speak on condition of anonymity, so hard data is scarce. Crabtree pitched the idea of researching this issue to Professor Mark Evans, Head of the School of Communication at UTS 18 months ago. Approval followed rapidly and this study is now a part of Crabtree’s PhD, supervised by Evans. Says Crabtree, “The music business is wonderful and amazing and yet somehow still functions like the wild west. After 30 years of involvement in the industry, I felt like I just had to do something.” Today marks the day when Crabtree has opened up this project for input from the people who work in the industry to get their story on the record. “We are careful to protect everyone who participates. We make it impossible for anyone to trace back and identify who said what,” Crabtree says. “What people have experienced is hurtful and distressing, so they need safety to do that, but getting this stuff on the record is what we all need to make real change. Governments have to act on hard scientific data.”

Crabtree makes a point of drawing attention to how much things have changed. “One of the byproducts of the digital revolution is the shift in the burden of risk. Young artists carry most of the risk now. Artists now are far more vulnerable in every way, not just financially. The institutional support available to any other workers in this country doesn’t exist in the music industry, so there’s no accountability. Although [music charity] Support Act does amazing work, there are limits to what they can accomplish.” The timing of the research is also serendipitous. “I had no idea this issue was going to hit the front pages when I started this research,” Crabtree remarked. “Sometimes events seem to conspire for the common good.”

How can you get involved?

Music Industry Harassment Research is open to any Australian or New Zealand citizen, (or permanent resident) who works in the music industry. To find out more or to participate in this study, visit for the convenient and confidential online survey as well as to register for a confidential interview that will help build an in-depth picture of how things are. Participation is entirely voluntary This research is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

The University of Technology, Sydney (CRICOS Provider Code 00099F) was recently rated the highest performing young university in Australia, and the 8th highest performing young university in the world.

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