BBC Radio 6 Music intiative to explore impact online abuse has on artists

BBC Radio 6 Music has launched an initiative that will raise awareness of the online abuse faced by music artists.

In a new documentary Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry, who recently launched a solo career, will share her experiences, while a Journeys In Sound special will offer perspectives of online hate from a variety of musicians.

As part of the Change The Tune initiative, the radio station will also publish a clear code of conduct and provide a new means of reporting comments of concern on its own social media platforms.

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Lauren Mayberry found fame as the lead singer of Chvrches (Ian West/PA)

Mayberry, 36, said: “The internet has been such an intrinsic part of my career, positively and negatively.

“Social media was really baked into the way that Chvrches first got discovered but there were consistent side effects to that which I don’t think I would ever have anticipated.

“We know a lot more now in terms of the impact that can have on people but I’m not sure how we change that behaviour, or the conversation around it.”

In the 15-minute documentary, Lauren Mayberry: I Change Shapes, the singer will reflect on the positive and negative aspects of her career, including the misogynistic comments and violent threats she has received online.

BBC Radio 6 Music broadcaster and psychotherapist Nemone will present the Journeys In Sound special, which will also feature Mayberry, musician Self Esteem, otherwise known as Rebecca Lucy Taylor, multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, psychotherapist and former Babyshambles member Adam Ficek, DJ Sherelle and the BBC’s disinformation and social media correspondent Marianna Spring.

The musicians will discuss the darker side of social media, which they typically use as a tool to promote their music, and how it can become a platform for misogynistic and racial abuse.

BBC Radio 6 Music will launch Change The Tune on its social media on May 13 from 10am and promote a simplified method for reporting comments of concern through an email address available on its platforms.

Nemone said: “It’s been really thought-provoking speaking to artists about their lived experience with social media and to hear first-hand about the impact that online comments of a personal nature have.

“It brought home to me how important it is for us all to reflect on how we show up online and the kind of community we want to shape.”

Samantha Moy, head of BBC Radio 6 Music, added: “6 Music has always aimed to be a positive and uplifting place for artists and fans alike, where we celebrate the widest range of music possible, both on-air and across platforms.

“With Change The Tune, we want to give musicians the space to share their online experiences, the good and the bad.

“At the same time, we will put measures in place that we hope will make our corner of the internet a kinder, encouraging and more supportive place for musicians’ work.

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Self Esteem will also feature on the Journeys In Sound special (Ian West/PA)

“I’d like to thank all the artists, presenters and our colleagues across the music industry who have contributed so openly to Change The Tune, as well as to Music Minds Matter for their support.”

From May 13 to May 17, BBC Radio 6 Music’s social media accounts will post films from artists and presenters, including Craig Charles, Deb Grant, Gossip and Hak Baker, in which they will share their personal experiences of online abuse.

Lauren Mayberry: I Change Shapes will become available on BBC iPlayer from 6am on May 13 and the Journeys In Sound special will air on BBC Radio 6 Music that same day from 11pm.

Mayberry and Nemone will also discuss Change The Tune on Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 Music show on May 13, between 7.30am and 10.30am, and on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 show on May 15, which airs between 12pm to 2pm.

For the initiative BBC Radio 6 Music has partnered with Music Minds Matter, which is the dedicated mental health support line and service of charity Help Musicians.

Change The Tune is part of the BBC’s Mental Wellbeing season, which takes place throughout May.