Written by Chiara Costazza and María Sol Buscaglia
I was here sitting at my desk, thinking about music. What is music? How can I describe it? It was this word bouncing in my head.
Yes, everything. You can find music in people, in nature, in things. Voices, instruments, wind, birds. We are surrounded by music. And music drive us into life, since we were babies and our mother sang for making us sleep. When we grow up music stays with us, during the happy but also during the sad moments of our life. Fun, celebrations, loneliness, broken hearts; music is always there.
I believe we could all agree the main topic of music is: LOVE. Of course it is. A big and exciting love, a new lover, a broken heart. That means there are lots and lots of songs inspired and dedicated to women. So we can also say that women are really important for the artists in the music industry. Are they?
Nowadays, the industry of music has many well-known female artists, such as Beyonce, Adele, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, just to name a few. In fact, Taylor Swift was the world’s highest-paid celebrity of 2016. Who can name someone who hasn’t heard a Taylor Swift song? Although there are still more male artists, women are rising and making their own way into charts.
But all this said, it´s time to think a little bit further. What about the behind the scenes of the music industry? Are women taking part of it, or is it still a man´s world as it was years ago?
The (ugly) truth is that upper ranks of the music industry are still “a man’s world”, with women in only 30% of senior executive roles despite making up more than half of entry-level positions. In a survey made by the body UK music, the results show that the higher up the executive ladder, the worse the representation of minorities – women, black and Asians- got. Women make up 60% of interns, 59% of of entry-level business roles, but only 30% of senior executive positions.
This was also reflected in the age range of women who works in music. Women make up more than half of the workforce aged 25 to 34 but only 33% of those between 45 and 64. Although, does this mean things are now slowly changing, and younger women are joining the music industry business?
It occurred to me searching “sexism in the music industry”, and in less than a second, Google showed me 616,000 results. Articles, life experiences, statistics, researches. I´ve got to read an article about a personal experience from a woman who has been working in the industry for 30 years, and the struggle of bumping into men who think she can´t do the job because of having boobs never ends. Is this going to change someday?
Our research for information about the topic showed us it may be slowly changing. Sarah Maynard, founder of Major PR, told to the magazine Marie Claire that “‘It’s pretty commonplace for a woman to be doing publicity for a band, but there are other areas in music where it’s much less likely you’re going to be dealing with a woman”, and adds “I know women who are doing phenomenally well as road crew, managers and agents, but do become frustrated when they’re not taken as seriously as their male counterparts. It’s definitely not ok when people are making assumptions about your ability to do a job you work extremely hard at based on your gender”.
And interesting organization is Woman in Music, which, as it says in its web page, has the “mission to advance the awareness, equality, diversity, heritage, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts through education, support, empowerment, and recognition”. Representing all areas of the industry and having as members all type of jobs, such as artist managers, record label executives, songwriters, musicians, agents, publicists, music publishers, online and traditional marketers and more, we believe it is a good way to continue to make the change.
Gender inequality is a problem everywhere.We as women have to give the first step to stop this Let´s hope that women in the music industry continue to get the gap smaller and smaller!