Music publisher platform Vevo has introduced a suite of tools to enable brands to meet their diversity pledges, but says more work is needed to translate words into action.

According to Vevo, brands have often struggled to come up with a solution that moves beyond performative pledges to long-term allyship. Vevo’s vice-president of international sales James Cornish told The Drum: “We need better solutions and investment in place to support Black artists’ contribution to the music industry.”

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, the ad industry made a series of promises including an open letter from UK ad agencies coordinated by Creative Equals and the ‘Call for Change’ 12-step plan signed by 6000 Black ad professionals.

Cornish said the pledges demonstrated a “willingness” to change and invest in Black artists, but that the industry is only just “scratching the surface of how to put this into play.”

“It’s really important that these efforts translate into real action and meaningful and lasting change,” he said. Based on demand from advertisers to “think more clearly and deliberately” on their diversity strategy, Vevo launched Afro Pulse, which creates inventory sets around Black artists.

The tool enables advertisers both to invest in Black musicians and gives advertisers access to diverse audiences. Instead of only targeting household artist names or a specific genre, brands can advertise within music video programming that features Black artists of various musical styles and levels of popularity.

“We hope Vevo’s products can stimulate brands to back up what they are publicly saying,” Cornish said. “This is the first foray into this marketplace, we are actively looking at building additional products for different audiences. There is much more to be done to create more opportunity in this space.”

He said progress regarding measurement and how that relates back to ad spend is also needed. “This is the starting point for a broader product set,” he expressed.

The next step for Vevo is to expand the products to other diverse characteristics. Latin American artists are one such demographic Vevo is planning to focus on.

Overall Vevo are starting to make a positive change in the industry, ensuring the future of music will be flooded by people of all races and backgrounds. Creating a safe and positive environment for all artists.

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