Women rock. It’s not news to anyone and certainly not to us. They’ve been rockin’ and leaving their undeniable mark throughout history, whether the spotlight was on them or not. Well, we’re watching as history has been and continues to be made, by both the sung and unsung heroes (no pun) of popular music.
We aim to bring awareness to the barriers that women continue to face throughout the industries almost 90-year existence, but most of all we wish to celebrate and champion our heroes and their culture-shifting moments. The contributions women have made to music and the culture are simply undeniable, yet, at times, are over-shadowed.
But we remember the iconic singers, songwriters, records, and performances that have carved out our music history – Janis Joplin’s historic set at Woodstock and Adele dropping jaws at the Brit Awards and everything before, after, and in-between.
We’ll also be bringing you the latest in music in how it pertains to women – news, albums, concerts, events, festivals, the ways the culture continues to change for better, and sadly, the ways the culture remains the same or worse.
But in recent times, artists, fans, and industry professionals have been more vocal about the barriers that still exist that lead to the lack of female vocalists, songwriters, and producers present in the popular music industry.
A study from 2012-2018 titled “Inclusion in the Recording Studio” (released by Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative) examined 700 popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts from 2012 to 2018. The “Inclusion in the Recording Studio” study also looked at Grammy nominations for that same seven-year period in the following categories: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Producer of the Year, and Best New Artist. The report further looks at the barriers that women face by gathering qualitative information from multiple artist interviews.
Below we’ve listed some facts about women in the music industry as they relate to the study.
- Women represented only 21.7 percent of performers from the years 2012-2018
- 17 percent of popular artists in 2018 were women.
- During those years, women were most likely to make chart appearances as solo artists rather than a member of a band or as part of a duo.
- 3 percent of songwriters on the songs from the years 2012-2018 were female.
- Of that 12.3 percent, 43.3 percent of the songwriters were women of color.
- Over half of the songs looked at either didn’t have a female songwriter or a credited female songwriter.
- Only 2 percent out of 400 songs were produced by a female. This indicates that there are 47 male producers to every 1 female producer represented in the music industry.
- Out of the 2 percent of songs, only four women of color were producers.
- From 2012-2018, only one female producer has been nominated for Producer of the Year at the Grammy’s.
- Less than 10 percent of Grammy nominees for a Record or Album of the Year were women.
You can always check out some of the best ticket sites available or head over to a site like Ticketmaster for tickets. Some performers will be hard to see while others will never be seen again live. Be sure to jump on your chance while you still can.
On the good note, women were most likely to be Grammy-nominated for Song of the Year and Best New Artist.
It may remain a mystery to some while to others it is increasingly clear that women largely go uncredited for their songwriting talents. Yet, some of the most influential artists have been the most talented songwriters as well, including:
Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac
Debbie Harry of Blondie
Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders
Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees
It simply leaves us scratching our heads wondering why songwriting credits are so gendered unbalanced today. It’s definitely clear and leaves no question that the skill is there.
But with the glaringly obvious aside, there are still the more-subtle yet very real ways that women face barriers in the music industry. Decades of ingrained stereotyping have fueled the belief – whether conscious or not – that female artists are merely sex objects without the same skill as their male counterparts.
From the women of Woodstock and the famous divas of the soul to the songs of the suffrage movement and punk rock girl groups, we’re here to celebrate the reality of the matter – that the raw talents of women have been right in your face the entire time.
So join us, as we celebrate the wins and continue to knock down barriers, opening more and more doors for women artists enjoy the same success as the men we love who rock with them.