Wednesday Wisdom: The Growing Impact of Women in the Music Industry

Women are constantly rewriting what it means to succeed in the music industry — on their own terms. The music industry is filled with powerful women, from artists releasing record breaking singles and breaking ground in songwriting and production, to shattering the glass ceiling in the boardroom.

Women have always had a particular influence on the ways music is heard and consumed, and the need for identification and representation is important in art. However, although we can easily assume that women consume as much music as men, questions remain about the inequality in how women are regarded by the industry.

Some genres remain “masculinized,” and struggle to give an asserted place to the female audience. Studies show that country radio has increasingly showcased male artists over their female counterparts. In other genres like rock, pop, and hip hop, the stereotype of the “groupie” remains exacerbated in lyrical content. We’ve all heard stories or abuses of women’s bodies at concerts and festivals, There still is progress to be made, in order to give women a more equal and inclusive place in music — from the creative process, to digital streaming platforms, to the way women are regarded as a whole.

However, the tide is turning. Female singers and creators have become more prominent, and are starting to enjoy the same success and influence as their male counterparts. Beyonce — who just performed a historic Dubai concert with an all-female band — now holds the all-time record for most GRAMMY wins at 32. Another multi-time GRAMMY winner, Taylor Swift, recently supported a group of her “Swifties” when they filed a lawsuit accusing Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation of anticompetitive conduct and fraud, several weeks after a glitch-ridden sale for her The Eras Tour left thousands of fans empty-handed and unhappy. Swift’s advocacy has since spurred conversations about ticketing industry reform.

Other companies are joining the discussion. TuneCore releases an annual collaborative study, titled Be the Change: Women Making Music, aimed toward starting conversations about the challenges and perceived inequalities experienced by hundreds of female creators, as they navigate through a complex, male-dominated industry. When asked, many of these female creators agreed that transparency and discourse within the industry have improved, but specific material changes — like inclusive credits and ownership rights — remain harder to pin down.

Overall, space is being created for more women to emerge in leadership roles, and to be represented in higher numbers as artists, songwriters, producers, DJ’s and engineers. Perhaps soon, the interior of the music industry will become as progressive and diversified as the population of women on the outside. 

To ensure that, female music industry leaders must continue mentoring their younger counterparts. This will accelerate their careers, build connections, and bring even more “girl power” to the industry.

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