Working Women in the Music Industry: Statistics and Resources

By: Mariah Simpson, 6/8 Records Intern

Pictured: Fifth Harmony with Epic/Sony Music Entertainment Senior VP Commerce Celine Joshua and Epic President Sylvia Rhone for Billboard Magazine.

The music industry is still one place where sexism is still prevalent in our modern day society. Many people believe that women are less knowledgeable and not capable of producing the same quality work as men. This belief has been proven to be wrong in many other industries throughout the years, but is still common in music. In addition, the music business is a completely male dominated field so it is harder for women to prove themselves by not having enough openings available for the proportion of women entering the industry.

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This blog post is meant to highlight the truth about the inequality in the music business and to give resources for women working in the industry to find a community. In order to shed light on the inequalities between genders, we first have to look at the numbers:

Source: Triple J Hack and The Proper Pitch

According to the studies shown above, there is inequality in all areas of the music industry – both in the performance side and in the business side. Out of all performers in the music industry, 32% are female but only one out of the top ten paid musicians in 2014 was a female. At independent labels, only 20% of staff are female while the other 80% are male; these numbers match the common false belief that women are not as capable as men.

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For women who dream of working in the music industry, these statistics may seem really scary. The fortunate thing is that there are so many resources online for women to get advice or connect and network with others! A great article with encouraging pieces of advice from established professionals in the industry is 41 Tips for Women Starting Out in the Music Business – I would definitely recommend reading it along with Music Industry Advice For Women, By Women to hear about first-hand experiences from women about facing adversity in the business.

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Pictured: Various Music Industry Executives featured for Billboard Magazine’s Women in Music 2016.

In addition, a great resource for women to use is Billboard Magazine’s annual Women in Music: The 100 Most Powerful Executives list. This is a great resource to know the names of the women who are paving the road for equality within the music industry and to see how each of them accomplished all of their successes. I personally love to read this list every year to find relevant role models that I can look up to within the music business. These strong women give hope for an industry where men and women are seen as equal!

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The best possible online resource for women working in the music industry are definitely online Facebook groups – organizations such as Music Biz Besties, Girls Behind the Rock Show, and Women in Music are a great way to network on social media specifically with other women in the music business. I have personally seen friendships formed over similar hardships faced in the industry as women and I have even seen job offers made just by connecting over one of these Facebook groups!

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The music industry is one tough business for women. It takes genuine passion and perseverance to make it through the guaranteed hardships that will be faced due to the obvious sexism and inequality. Thankfully we have many resources in the 21st century for women in the business to have a community to band together such as Facebook groups and accessible articles that highlight successful women in music.

In order to eventually have a music industry where men and women are seen as equals, we as women need to be allies and not compete against one another. The industry is going in the right direction but we still need to push forward for more progress; we need to lift each other up to eventually reach this goal! Companies such as 6/8 Records give me so much hope for this business – an independent record label founded and managed by women is typically unheard of but is being done right in the heart of Manhattan. I am so proud to be affiliated with this label and I cannot wait to see what the industry is like for women in the next few years!

 

 

 

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