Women in the Music Industry: “Gaining Ground”? “Vastly Underrepresented”? It Depends. . .

Beyoncé, 2023

The Hill is one of several publications noting the progress made by women in the Music industry which has typically underrepresented them. Today’s article emphasizes their recognition as well as the “room to grow.” Turns out there are acres of room to grow.

The Hill reports on a study of women in music, a study co-sponsored by Spotify and USC, and based on 1,200 songs over a 10 year period. Women’s participation in the music industry reached a 12-year high in 2023, according to a new study. The University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg Inclusion Initiative releases a report each year tracking how much of a role women play in all levels of music production. In nearly every metric, women’s participation in the industry reached a new high in 2023 as popular singers such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé kickstarted world tours.

Fifty-six percent of songs in 2023 included at least one woman songwriter, the study noted. While the Hill states this figure in their article, the study itself says 44 percent of this 1200 song sample have at least one woman songwriter; less than one percent of the songs have only a woman as the songwriter. Inclusion in the Recording Studio? (USC Study)

In an interesting counterpoint, another study is released yesterday by the Women in Equalities Commission and published in Variety and originating in the UK notes “Music Industry Still a ‘Boys’ Club’ While Female Artists Face Misogyny, Harassment and Abuse, Finds U.K. Inquiry. . .

Chaired by member of parliament (MP) Caroline Nokes, the U.K. Parliament’s cross-party Women and Equalities Committee is now urging the Government to take legislative steps to address the findings.

“Women’s creative and career potential should not have limits placed upon it by ‘endemic’ misogyny which has persisted for far too long within the music industry,” said Nokes. “Our report rightly focuses on improving protections and reporting mechanisms, and on necessary structural and legislative reforms. However, a shift in the behaviour of men—and it is almost always men – at the heart of the music industry is the transformative change needed for talented women to quite literally have their voices heard and be both recognized and rewarded on equal terms.”