High Voltage: Addressing the Lack of Women in the Music Industry
Written by: Justice Petersen / Photo by: Mike Von
Your favorite band walks off the stage after delivering an explosive set, fans are screaming their hearts out and instruments are being packed away so the chaos can ensue all over again the following night. This is all familiar to the devoted music fan, but not everybody knows about the underrepresented women who make it possible.
Behind the shows and the artists are dedicated music professionals—who rarely are women. According to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only about 4% of music producers are women, 23% of artists are women, and 14% of songwriters are women.
The Recording Academy’s 2022 “Women in the Mix” study shows that 57% of women in the music industry work two or more jobs and 36% earn less than $40,000 a year.
Kristina London says these issues stem from the top down and “Until more women and marginalized individuals are given opportunities to lead, solutions to these problems will remain relatively stagnant.”
London, 26, is the founder of Amplify Her Voice, an online platform dedicated to bringing awareness to gender discrimination in the music industry. Amplify Her Voice provides networking and career opportunities for women in the music industry or women interested in joining the industry.
London adds “As a connections-based business that has been dominated by men since its existence, men have far more connections, opportunities, and are given more chances”.
Artist manager, Carina Glastris, 27, with C3 Management out of Los Angeles, says women still have to elbow their way into making space for themselves in the industry. “Even if you have men around you who are advocating for you…only you as a woman have the perspective on the ways that your voice isn’t being heard. What I would like to see is more women in every facet of the industry”.
London says that for the music industry to be truly inclusive, men need to do their part in advocating for change.
“Women didn’t start sexism, so we can’t solve it ourselves,” says London.
“It will take both the courage of women and the continued support from men to make the music industry more inclusive. Every voice deserves to be heard, and we need to constantly check ourselves and make sure that we’re not just talking the talk of saying we want to be inclusive, but walking the walk, and really hiring people and continuing to put people forward,” says Glastris.
Despite the struggles women face in the industry, London says that more women are joining the music business now than ever before, especially in fields such as producing, tour production and live events.
“A lot of women who started out as passionate fans are taking the skills they learned as a fan and approaching work in the music industry empathetically by exploring creative avenues in fan engagement,” says London.
Glastris says that slowly but surely these numbers are improving.
“We’re beyond being able to kid ourselves that we don’t need a representation from every type of voice, and I think that as a whole…we are steadily seeing more representation,” she says.
London encourages young women wanting to join the industry to be persistent.
“It’s easier said than done, but there is a place for you in the music industry,” says London. “Network with as many people as you can, shoot your shot and send that cold email. And don’t fear rejection.”
Glastris says it is the responsibility of music industry professionals to open doors for unrepresented individuals.
“As women, it’s our responsibility to put women, people of color and queer people forward for opportunities where the same 10 resumes have been circulating,” says Glastris. “And we need men to realize that they have a responsibility as allies to do the same…to put underrepresented people forward for positions, even if it means going the extra mile to find them and to look where another person hasn’t looked. Because ultimately that’s where progress comes from. That’s where change comes from.”
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