A new report has once again highlighted the lack of representation by women in the music industry. Leading global think tank, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has been studying issues related to inclusion across entertainment mediums. Its School for Communication and Journalism division has just released its inaugural report on inclusion in popular music. The report makes grim reading and the results reveal that just as in the film and television industry there is a strong need for more female representation in the music industry.
The study revealed that in 2017, 83.2% of artists were men and only 16.8% were women. 2017 marked a six-year low for female artists in popular content. Of 2,767 songwriters credited, 87.7% were male and 12.3% were female. 73.8% of female songwriters only worked once in 6 years, 7.9% worked twice, and 4.3 percent worked three times. Less than 6% of female songwriters had 6 or more credits across the sampled time frame. Nine male songwriters were responsible for 1/5 of the songs in the sample. Out of the study’s 651 producers, 98% were male and only 2% female. A total of 899 individuals were nominated for a Grammy Award between 2013 and 2018. 90.7% of those were male and 9.3% were female.
The lack of female winners at this year’s Grammy Awards was conspicuous on a night when many in the audience wore white roses supporting the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements for gender equality. Not a great start to a year declared to Empower Women. 21-year-old Alessia Cara, who won Best New Artist, was the only female solo winner with 17 awards of the 86 up for grabs going to women. Bruno Mars stole the show with six Grammys; Lamar was just behind with five. Twitter users took to the social platform to comment on the gender gap at the awards ceremony with the hashtag #GrammysSoMale and they really did have a point.
A glance at the bigger picture means that to move forward on these issues what’s needed is more inclusive practices from a business perspective and in the recording studio to ensure that talent has every opportunity to be seen and heard and that there are no biases based on gender and racial or ethnic identity. Research has also surprisingly revealed that women are underrepresented on the radio and at festivals. One couldn’t be blamed for assuming that male and female artists were equally represented on the radio. In 2015 the Guardian newspaper in England wrote that most festival headliners are men. According to one festival organizer this was so because record labels and radio stations seldom promote female artists. So how does Lovesongs247 fit into all of this and what can we do to help promote gender equality in the music industry? We’re an internet music radio station so how do we stack up?
Dutch music industry writer Rufus Kain’s research into programming at six big radio stations in his homeland uncovered some interesting facts. At pop and rock station Radio 3FM he tallied more than 55,000 songs played between April 2016 and April 2017 and found that the station played male artists 80% of the time. Only one in five was female. The station said it didn’t differentiate between men and women. “When selecting music, we look at the quality”, the station said in an email. Without empirical evidence it would be unwise to conclude that this pattern is widespread in radio but the general point is that all this data does indicate an enormous disparity between men’s and women’s music played on radio stations, their representation at music festivals and in their involvement at the executive and production level in the industry.
At Lovesongs247 we are aware of these issues in the music industry and from day one we’ve been on top of the gender issue not only by playing an equal portion of great music by female artists but also by giving budding female musicians an opportunity to get their music on the airwaves. So remember if you’re trying to get into the music biz and want some exposure for your work just send us a sample and like we say, “if it’s good enough we’ll play it.” Songs by Pink, Nelly Furtado, Vera, Shakira, Stella Donnelly, Paloma Faith, Flor, Anne-Marie, Selena Gomez and Nikki Pope are among those we’ve added to our play list recently and along with other female artists made up 51% of the last 150 songs we added. Our selection of female artists is also unrivalled in its diversity with performers from all over the world. So next time you tune in to Lovesongs247 you’ll discover that for every Drake there’s an Adele and for every Bruno Mars there’s a Beyonce! That’s the way it should be because not for a second could one believe that there is a lack of talented female performers justifying playing more male than female artists. Part of the problem, it seems, lies in the fact that the industry is largely composed of men but we’ll leave that aspect of the debate until another time!
At Lovesongs247 were playing our small part in equally representing female singers, songwriters, musicians and producers to ensure quality and diversity on the musical landscape.