Music Industry Imbalance
Gender inequality in the music industry is not a new issue. It has been under the spotlight for years and it just happens to be that now is the time to call out the people and companies that are falling short, as well as those moving in the right direction.
Women have been constantly proving themselves in the traditionally male dominated music industry, they have crossed barriers to entry and have been making their marks in the challenging field. Finally, their talent is being recognized: they are moving ahead with unmatched passion and forging a path for other women acts to follow. While there are changes happening in many areas, sexism and discrimination is still evident in many aspects of the business.
A 5 year evaluation issued by the PRS Foundation revealed how serious and widespread this problem is, but also how change can happen. According to that report, more than 75% of the women have faced some kind of discrimination in the music industry. You might also be surprised to know that women are only 16% of the total music composers and songwriters in the UK. These are huge numbers that reflect how much work needs to be done in order to reach equality.
Let’s take a closer look at some unfair and discriminatory practices that have become standard in the music industry. For example, Bambii, a Canadian artist, is a female DJ and a Toronto producer who hosts parties and produces eclectic mixes. She says that, “I've had instances where people say fucked up things to me. Not so much now, because I think once you gain a reputation people are less likely to say stuff, but definitely when I started DJing. It used to be explicit where I'd get hit on in a really obvious way. I remember it was like my third gig and someone came up to me and said. "I really didn't like your set, but I can see your tits, so it's okay." When a guy comes up to his favourite male DJ, you're not touching the small of his back, why are you touching the small of my back?”
Not only the industry needs to step-up, but the societal mindset needs to be changed as well. It’s easy to imagine a sexy female DJ with earphones around her neck, but it’s not about the music. On the other hand, when a male is the DJ, people spend less time commenting on his physical appearance and more time on the music. Due to this, many of the female DJs feel that they have to look sexy and wear revealing clothes in order to make their place in the industry.
The Keychange Promise
The Keychange PRS foundation was established to stand against the gender discrimination in the music industry and it has taken this initiative to bridge the gender gap. A total of 45 music festivals and events have promised to eliminate this gender discrimination by 2022 and to maintain an equal balance of male and female performers. It can really reshape and improve the future of music and lead the new wave of festivals by example. By the mutual efforts of these 45 major festivals, a positive impact and a revolutionary change can be made that can last.
Talent cannot be judged by the gender, this fact needs to be accepted and women should be given equal chances and opportunities to showcase their skills. Now, these music festivals are making a pledge that they are going to give women a fair chance. Let’s see how far it goes and what results it brings. If all go well, it we can expect to see a more balanced industry and to see more female DJs in the upcoming shows and events.
Who Is Missing
The Keychange list is missing some of the most prominent music festivals. You won’t find any of the biggest and most popular EDM festivals on the list. Where is Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival, Coachella, Tomorrowland? For example, Coachella is one of the biggest names in the US festivals and in 2016, its lineup included only 60 female artists while the number of male artists was 168. Similarly, the Ultra’s lineup of 2016 included only 20 women and 198 males. Moreover, the Glastonbury British festival did not include a single woman in any of its best 3 names.
Huffington Post collected the lineups of 11 large American music festivals going back to 2010. This graph makes it clear how widespread gender inequality is at music festivals.
Talent has no boundaries and women are as good music producers as men, the problem is, they are simply not given the appropriate chances to show their capabilities. Major EDM festivals should make a combined effort and actively book women acts. Efforts should be made to make this industry more favorable and attractive for the women. The fact is, money is the ultimate vote. Trust us, when women stop buying tickets to the music festivals that discriminate against them, then changes will surely happen.
Canadian Music Week
North By Northeast
53 Degrees North
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Cheltenham Music Festival
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Liverpool International Music Festival
Liverpool Sound City
Manchester Jazz Festival
Norwich Sound and Vision
Off The Record
Tallinn Music Week
Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival
Hard Working Class Heroes
Katowice JazzArt Festival
Way Out West
BBC Music Introducing Stages
The Great Escape
A2IM Indie Week
NYC Winter Jazzfest
Will you be attending a festival this summer? We want to know! Leave us a comment