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Women in the Music Industry

By Hannah Thacker

The role of women in the music industry has become an increasingly present topic as women from all walks of life and within all sectors continue to flourish in this male-saturated business, although there’s still a way to go. At HumanHuman, we wanted to celebrate this positive progression, as well as spark a much-needed discussion about what else needs to change so that the industry can continue to move forward with men and women working together as equals.

Come on 2015, grow some mammary glands.
Hannah, Daisy Digital

With HumanHuman’s multi-gendered, international, and music-loving community set before me and the online music world just a little farther reach, I thought it best to open up the debate with expert opinions from those in the field - the musicians, the bloggers, the publicists, the label owners - who could provide their personal insight and experiences to shed as much light as possible onto an issue which for generations has been pushed into the dark. My approach was simple enough, to just ask three simple questions, who are you? what changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women? is there anything you would still like to change?; there was no way I could have predicted the quality and variety of the responses (which you’ll have the opportunity to read in full below). In addition to the obvious aim of triggering communication between professionals and the public about certain obstacles that are set before women within the music industry, I also wanted to give reassurance to ambitious new-comers that we, both men and women, are moving forward towards a gender-neutral future. Even if that doesn’t appear to be an immediate reality.

It still feels like a bit of a boys club, but our club is growing, too.
Alyssa DeHayes, Riot Act Media & Arrowhawk Records

When I made my first few steps towards a career in the music industry, I was very aware of a few key facts a) I had zero experience b) I had no contacts c) I was a 19-year-old female. These three points might seem fairly obvious, and, sure, the first two concerns were to be expected, but where had this age-gender anxiety sprung from? There I was, July 2013, with a freshly-made Tumblr page, a few social media links, and a couple of carefully crafted blog pieces, but the most significant thing about this process was that all traces of my personal identity had been left out. There was no indication of my age or gender, and that’s quite literally because I wanted my work to be accepted and recognised for its merit alone, and not its source. Anonymity isn’t exactly a new tactic in the music industry, we’ve seen male and female artists rise up as an internet-born genderless personas (The Acid, Sd Laika, Vallis Alps, Refs, Favela, …). Every individual’s intentions might be different, so I can only speak for myself when I say that the impact of growing up listening to male-fronted indie bands, hearing a majority of male voices on the radio, and absorbing music magazines that were more often than not fronted by a bruising, moody male musician, clearly had a lasting effect. Today, little seems to have changed. Well, that certainly can be said of the heavily-scrutinised NME magazine:

With this week's issue, Noel Gallagher has now been on the cover of the NME 3 times since a woman last was 👍

Whether my anonymous career start was an entirely conscious decision or not, it quite simply shouldn’t have been one that I needed to make; so again, I’ll come back to that question, where had this idea come from? Many of the clues lie in our history/herstory, where women appear to have taken secondary roles or simply did not exist within the music industry. Those who wish to remain loyal to these out-dated traditions will argue that “the nature of music is male” (Buzzfeed take a light-hearted approach to this warped view), or those who are simply plain ignorant will tout opinions like “the idea that female bands are sidelined as a suggestion is just not there” (via Gigwise) as did Festival Republic’s Managing Director Melvin Benn. Now, we can’t approach the topic of female under-representation at festivals without bringing up Crack in the Road’s lauded editing of the 2015 Reading/Leeds Festival line-up, which revealed that of the 87 announced acts, 78 are male, three are female, and six are mixed. No doubt, you’ll have seen the wide-range of responses across social media, through news outlets and blogs to a relatively straight-forward question, “Where are the women?”, and yet festival statistics are but one slice of an industry which continues to patronise, and yes, sideline, women.

I still feel that people in the music industry can be quite patronising to women, particularly in regards to performing live - I often get questions like 'are you sure the volume is up on the guitar?, are you sure you've plugged it in?' etc., and I don't think a male musician would be faced with these sorts of questions.
Carmody

As male-female duo IYES point out, there’s a whole cultural idea “when it comes to big festival lineups because promoters/booking agents prefer having a safe bet on artist who they believe will sell tickets,” which leads to many festivals following the “Brochella model” (via Slate), and ultimately this sexist mentality leaks into a wider consciousness. It is most certainly “a vicious circle.” You only have to read through some of the answers that I collected to realise that what we’re dealing with here is an attitude problem:

There's a common misconception that there's just not enough female artists, not enough girls making good enough music. Ridiculous in my opinion. Even more ridiculous is the fact that those able to showcase new talent are disregarding a huge sector of our industry.
Hannah, Daisy Digital
...women with differing opinions are not taken seriously. Instead they get labeled as obstructive and difficult, whereas men are brave and get respected for just sharing their opinions.
Mira Shemeikka, community manager at Flow Festival Helsinki
There’s this misperception that women in the music industry are narcissistic and competitive—but I’ve found the opposite to be true. Most of the female musicians I’ve met are incredible humans and extremely supportive.
MORLY
I think there's still an underlying perception that being classically "girly" and knowing a lot about music are mutually exclusive. You see it in the way people talk about "girl-bands" as if they were somehow able to heroically overcome their femininity and play music despite being women.”
Alyssa DeHayes, Riot Act Media & Arrowhawk Records
I do not think that equality for genders has yet transcended the art, nor has it made its way into making me feel like when I walk into a room full of men, I will feel equal.
Liz Nistico, HOLYCHILD

Another major issue within the music industry, and one that I find deeply disturbing, is the blatant sexualisation of female bodies within song lyrics, photo shoots, advertising, live performances and music videos. My recent response to Run The Jewel’s “Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry)” video, which presents a naked (unless you count the dental floss g-string as appropriate clothing), silent and mostly faceless woman dancing between shots of the fully-clothed duo rapping, is just one example:

The worst thing about this video is the unnecessary need for their clothless lady-friend. To call out Run The Jewels in 2014 might seem like modern day blasphemy, but I’m saying that next time, do something different, and leave the female objectification out of it.

As with every sub-topic I’ve brought up here, questions must be raised - would Run the Jewels, or any other given example, be any less successful without this dehumanisation of women? would flesh-free music videos receive less attention? how is this show of nakedness supposed to make female fans feel about their own bodies and opportunities within the business? When you take into consideration an article like Billboard’s “31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop”, you begin to see just how detrimental these overtly-sexual images of women are to the hard work of females throughout all genres, from hip-hop to rock to dance to indie and so on. Not only do these women have to prove themselves on a musical level, but they also have to battle against an industry that consistently plugs her gender as a promotional pin-up.

I want women and men to redefine what is sexy.
Kate Akhurst, KATE BOY

That is not to dismiss the existence of artists who have taken control of their sexual identity (cue respectful nods to Laura Marling’s phoenix-like return and FKA twigs’ challenging ideology), but as KATE BOY’s front woman, Kate Akhurst, highlights, there’s “a confusing message of power” surrounding the female body, and we should all strive to clarify this issue. Evidence of this disorientation in the responses seem to focus on one symbol, Beyoncé; for some she’s an inspiration, a teacher, a source for quotes, but for others her less-is-more dress sense leaves them feeling perplexed as to what equality actually means. That being said, Beyoncé is more than aware of this misdirection as illustrated in her internet-breaking feminist essay, “Gender Equality Is A Myth!” I just hope that statements like “Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another” (Beyoncé) become a reality, so that gender inequality will be the myth. Many of our contributors feel very strongly on this matter:

I hope that the over-sexualising of female artists will die down or just become irrelevant to music buyers. It’s been encouraging to see artist like Haim and Lorde grow just based on their talents and not by how much skin they show.
Niki Roberton, IAMSOUND Records
We feel that there is a lot of stigma attached as well, such as that women can't make it as artists unless they sell their body or unless they are extremely talented AND attractive.
IYES
...girls need to remember they don't have to sell their music through their barely there dress sense or hanging out of cabs at 4am, arms draped over the hottest dance act of that year.
Hannah, Daisy Digital
I think as though there's been a surge of confidence in women embracing artistry and individuality, particularly in the mainstream--less blatant "sex sells" strategies and less apologies for creatively embracing artistry and pushing boundaries.
VÉRITÉ

The gesture that VÉRITÉ makes towards the growing confidence of women within the industry and our ability to push boundaries further than ever before is definitely a positive to take away from today’s situation, but this doesn’t make amends for the troubling gender imbalance among musicians, label owners, publicists, A&Rs and producers. As FADER’s Ruth Saxelby quite rightly said, “the music industry—like every industry on this patriarchal planet—is sexist. That is not news. But this means we're missing out on a whole world of sounds, stories, and perspectives,” which has led to waves of intelligent press and artists asking “Why Aren’t More Women Becoming Music Producers?”

wow: "no woman has won a Grammy for producer of the year... Only 5% of music producers and engineers are women" http://t.co/e5rMcRh3JJ

When women do approach the production seat, whether that’s to shape their own or another’s work, the ripples of shock-and-awe that this creates is often quite astonishing. Even more specifically, the self-production trend unfortunately plays into the idea that “female” is a genre, and so these producers who happen to be women are shuffled into their own category. In many ways, this specialisation of female producers is a good thing, because it allows the world to recognise and celebrate their achievements, but it can also be quite limiting, almost as though these women don’t belong in the same studio (or indeed at the same awards ceremony) as their male counterparts.

As artists, we believe good music doesn't have a gender nor any other classification. It's important that people don't look away and realize the issue is still there.
IYES

At HumanHuman, we’re in the privileged position to be able to regularly unearth brilliant new producers, whoever they may be, and some of our featured females (Låpsley, Ibeyi, Ryn Weaver, Anna of the North, Lilla Vargen, Vérité, Moko, Bea, TĀLĀ, Raye, Denai Moore, Alice Boman, …) prove that gender is irrelevant when it comes to mixing. This movement towards a multi-gendered production scene extends well beyond the HumanHuman community, as we can see from these responses:

I would also like to see more female producers, it's starting to happen already (I'm trying too!). I always end up working with male producers and it would be great to start working with more women in the studio.
Carmody
I’ve also seen a lot more women rising up as record producers and DJ’s, I can’t wait until we have that area of the music industry filled with more women, at the moment it’s in dire need of a female injection.
Niki Roberton, IAMSOUND Records
I am seeing more and more female producers and DJs on the scene, which is incredible! [...] Especially in the last year, I've met more female engineers and producers than ever before in my life, I think it's really catching on.
Kate, KATE BOY
There isn’t a genre where a female musician hasn’t not only ventured, but influenced.
Katie, Pigeons and Planes

Of course, production and musicianship aren’t the only areas where there appears to be a definite lack of females, surely we could all benefit from a more diverse range of managers, publicists, talent bookers, A&Rs, sound engineers, DJs, writers and whatever else you can think of. I’m keen to stipulate that this call-to-action is more than a change in statistics or matching some politically correct quota, but by opening the doors to as many talented, creative, intelligent, passionate people as possible we are able to further enrich our international music culture with those individuals, whatever their chromosome combination may be.

Throughout this process, I’ve been able to focus on some of the problems that women have to contend with in order to find their place in the modern music industry, such as sexism, patriarchal history, misguided preconceptions of gender roles, inter-gender attitudes and relationships, and lack of opportunity. However, and much more pleasingly, I’ve also encountered so many inspiring messages of hope and a collective vision for a future where gender equality isn’t some distant dream but an everyday fact of the music industry.

We have the ability to be as successful and as strong as anyone else. I do not think of this is an "us vs. them" mentality. I think we all have different strengths that can work together to make the music industry, and the world as a whole, a better place.
Beth Martinez, Danger Village
The industry shouldn't be about females competing, it should be about females collaborating. We need to inspire and be inspired, not just as women, but as humans.
Nadine Suleiman, cerealandsounds.com

Q&A

Asking the experts

IYES

We are Josh and Melis and we are in a band together called IYES. We've been making music together for two years now and we're based in Brighton.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

The place of women in the music industry is fragile. Despite the recent feminist wave and women speaking up has caused up a stir in the press and overall public awareness, the percentage of women having a powerful role in the industry is minuscule compared to men. We feel that there is a lot of stigma attached as well, such as that women can't make it as artists unless they sell their body or unless they are extremely talented AND attractive. Josh from Crack in The Road blog has recently written a thought provoking article on the issue of women being hugely misrepresented when it comes to big festival lineups because promoters/booking agents prefer having a safe bet on artist who they believe will sell tickets. We agree with this. There are many talented female musicians who just don't get the recognition because they are not being given the opportunities to promote themselves, and therefore they don't get the (main) slots. so it's a vicious circle.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

There's lots of things that need to be changed. All of the different misconceptions about women not being able to do the same job as men, especially if there's any technical elements to it (sound engineer, lights, tour managers, etc) are wrong, and women deserve to be given a chance to prove they are just as capable. As artists, we believe good music doesn't have a gender nor any other classification. It's important that people don't look away and realize the issue is still there.

Alyssa DeHayes

I'm Alyssa DeHayes. I am a publicist for record labels, independent artists, and festivals at Riot Act Media. I handle publicity and media relations for a wide range of artists at every stage in the careers, from 4AD alums His Name is Alive and Natalie Prass (newly signed to Columbia imprint Startime) to independent artists releasing their first EP. I also take on consulting sessions for artists who need some guidance but aren't yet ready for a publicist. Over the years, I've collaborated on and lead successful campaigns for Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Bear in Heaven, The Appleseed Cast, and more, and I've provided publicity, media relations, or on-site social media support for festivals like Shaky Knees Fest, Governors’ Ball, and Wildwood Revival. I've gotten to work with labels like Home-Tapes, Asthmatic Kitty, Western Vinyl, Spacebomb, Team Love and lots of great Elephant 6 bands. I also run a two-year-old label called Arrowhawk (BAMBARA, Pinecones, Hand Sand Hands, Dream Boat, White Laces, Feverer, and some other exciting releases this year).

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

In general, it just seems like there are more of us. I spent a good bit of my career being the only woman in the room. Now I find myself surrounded more and more by groups of dynamic women. It still feels like a bit of a boys club, but our club is growing, too.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

Sometimes it feels like to be taken seriously, you have to act more masculine, whether it's the way you talk, the way you're dressed... Even worse, sometimes it feels like women are trying to out-tough each other, or use femininity-shaming rhetoric (bragging “I'm like one of the guys.” “I don't really get along with women. Girls are catty.” “I'm not a normal, girl, I'm a cool girl.”) I think there's still a underlying perception that being classically “girly” and knowing a lot about music are mutually exclusive. You see it in the way people talk about “girl-bands” as if they were somehow able to heroically overcome their femininity and play music despite being women. Sure, every culture has their set of social norms, but if a girl walks into a punk or metal show in a dress and heels, she'll likely be judged harder than a guy in nice slacks and dress shoes. Whenever I bring this up, I get “But what about that one artist?” but one or two exceptions doesn't mean this doesn't happen.

There are little things each day, from being told “you probably wouldn't know about that band though,” or being called a “little publicist.” I was interviewed for a potential TV thing about women in music, and the questions I was asked centered around whether I date boys in bands or fight with other music industry women. I did an experiment a while back where I took the excessive smileys and exclamation points out of my emails, and a handful of people thought I was taking an attitude with them. I just don't think a man being efficient and neutral in written tone would have been met with that assumption. In emailing them the way they emailed me, I was taken as condescending.

While I'm surrounded by more and more women in music who are amazing at their jobs, the numbers as a whole are disparate. I refuse to believe that less qualified women are applying for these jobs than men, and if that is the case, it's because the messages young girls pick up early on tell us that being a pretty singer is for women, and working in the industry or being a shredder is for men.

In a recent interview, Bjork said, “Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times.”

Carmody

My name is Carmody and I'm a singer-singwriter from South East London.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

I think that people are becoming more aware of how women can be treated in the music industry and, more importantly, female musicians are speaking out about their experiences. They are writing songs on the issue, challenging sexist questions and having more autonomy over how they want to be perceived by the general public. There is still a long way to go, but there has definitely become a greater awareness of the issues women face within the music industry.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

I still feel that people in the music industry can be quite patronising to women, particularly in regards to performing live - I often get questions like 'are you sure the volume is up on the guitar?, are you sure you've plugged it in?' etc and I don't think a male musician would be faced with these sort of questions. I would also like to see more female producers, it's starting to happen already (I'm trying too!). I always end up working with male producers and it would be great to start working with more women in the studio. It would also be good to see more female A&Rs. I always seem to speak to men at labels and I can never understand why more women aren't in these roles.

Beth Martinez (Danger Village)

My name is Beth Martinez. I own the Danger Village, which is a music publicity company. I recently started Danger Village Music Publishing.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

The music industry overall seems to be valuing women's voices more than they did when I started in it 14 years ago. As recently as 2012, I was promoting several female pop artists and it was a very hard sell. Since the Icona Pop revolution, female voices are being pushed and accepted as valuable brands. It is more of the norm now for women to be able to write and sing their own work because of trailblazers like Sia and Charli XCX. I think women's voices in general are being heard more because of the power of social media. There are issues like sexual assault on college campuses that have been brushed under the rug for years which are now being brought into the forefront because of a collection of voices that won't be ignored. There is a general trend towards female leadership in Congress and in corporations like Yahoo and Facebook. I am seeing a lot more women who are younger than me starting their own music companies. Society as a whole seems to be trending towards women taking a more central position in the way things run. I am not sure if that trend is being reflected in the music industry. Billboard's Power 100 doesn't see a woman until #12- and she's paired with a man. The first solo woman on the list is at #22.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

What I would like to change is that I would like for women to realize that we are powerful as well. We have the ability to be as successful and as strong as anyone else. I do not think of this is an “us vs. them” mentality. I think we all have different strengths that can work together to make the music industry, and the world as a whole, a better place. No one is going to hand us a spot on the Billboard Power 100. We need to step up and earn our recognition for being our own powerhouses. Maybe we will start our own version of Billboard, who knows? But I want us as a whole to stop being afraid to shine and to step up to be the best versions of ourselves. No matter what that is.

Katie (Pigeons and Planes)

My name is Katie and I'm one of the staff writers for Pigeons and Planes. I've been writing with this amazing squad for over two and a half years. Also, v big fan of anything having to do with North West's facial expressions.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

The past few years have been huge for women musicians. We have artists like Lorde, Grimes, Haim, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj (among many, many others) that are ushering in a new wave of music. Their sounds are unique, their viewpoints are original and informed, and their visions are groundbreaking. These women are changing mainstream and indie music – from pop to hip-hop and everything in between – forcing their male counterparts take notice. And I think that’s what’s been most impressive. Previously, women were so confined to a few genres in music (namely R&B, Pop, and Country) but in the past 5-10 years, they’ve permeated boundaries. There isn’t a genre where a female musician hasn’t not only ventured, but influenced. Seriously. Name me any genre and I’ll give you some female artist that’s out there setting that genre on fire.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

But despite everything I said in the last question, the truth is, women as artists still have so far to go. They’re still not viewed in the same way as male artists, despite the quality of their work. For every platinum album Taylor Swift makes, she’s still going to be subjected to questions about her dating life, criticisms about her appearance, and judgments for her behaviors. For every number one song Nicki Minaj releases, she’s still going to be referred to as a “female rapper” instead of just a “rapper.” Her skills will still be deemed as good…for a girl. I hope that in ten years female musicians won’t have to prove themselves so often and so fiercely. Because I need Beyonce to have another baby and she can’t keep doing that if she has to keep teaching y’all.

Hannah

I'm Hannah from Daisy Digital, a site dedicated to new and unsigned artists.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

Not many if I'm completely honest. I think the disregard in our industry for female talent is still present, if not more prominent in recent years, namely 2014/15. We saw the likes of Sam Smith, Hozier, James Bay and Ed Sheeran command much of 2014, though sadly, the same can't be said for new female talent. Sure, we have the pop stars of our days, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Charli XCX but they're not making ground breaking music and they're sure as hell, not making music I'm buying. There's a common misconception that there's just not enough female artists, not enough girls making good enough music. Ridiculous in my opinion. Even more ridiculous is the fact that those able to showcase new talent are disregarding a huge sector of our industry. An industry rife with female talent yet why/how is it that the likes of Coachella, BBC sound of and now Reading and Leeds festivals are failing to showcase/allow a platform for many of these artists to earn an income? With the increase of streaming services, many artists rely on live shows to earn and reach a wider audience, yet it seems increasingly difficult for female musicians to do so of recent times. Many suggest that sidelining does not exist and to quote Readings festival boss, “there's an abundance of opportunity now” for female acts to perform at festivals. “The idea that female bands are sidelined as a suggestion is just not there” he said. Yet months later, of the 87 acts announced so far this year, 78 are all male, three are female and six are mixed. That is not okay. That's not a display of gender equality. Those that suggest it's merely genre preference are even worse. For every Royal Blood, there's Honeyblood, for Jamie T, there's Courtney Barnett for Mumford and sons, there's Laura Marling. Bastille, there's HAIM or newcomers, JUCE or EKKAH. The Vaccines, there's Hinds. James Blake; Lapsley, Years & Years, there's Shura or Charlotte OC. The possibilities are endless. Come on 2015, grow some mammary glands. Change needs to happen, fast and girls need to remember they don't have to sell their music through their barely there dress sense or hanging out of cabs at 4am, arms draped over the hottest dance act of that year.

Mira Shemeikka

I’m Mira Shemeikka, a Helsinki-based music blogger, editor and critic at a music blog portal called Rosvot, and the community manager at Flow Festival Helsinki

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

In general I feel that in the music industry in Finland people see women as hard workers and there is an increasing amount of women working in leading positions, although the majority of industry people still are men. At Flow Festival the situation is actually the opposite, since men are a clear minority at our office. As a music writer I feel that my gender has never been an issue for anyone, instead opinions, work ethics and skills are emphasised more in Finland.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

Even though I’m quite happy with the current situation, of course there are still attitudes that need to be changed. Because the Finnish music industry is very small and most people know each other, there are a lot of people talking shit behind each others backs. It’s the cancer affecting the whole industry, but I feel that women have to face it more often because of gender roles, expectations and prejudices towards women. For example sometimes at conference-like situations, where experts discuss hot topics of the day, women with differing opinions are not taken seriously. Instead they get labeled as obstructive and difficult, whereas men are brave and get respected for just sharing their opinions. Also, the most powerful and respected leaders and influencers are men, not because they would be better at their jobs, but because of certain boundaries created by gender roles. This shows that women still have to do more than men to prove themselves. Also, some people seem to think that I’m an expert of ”girl music” or know especially female musicians, because I’m a woman, which I find a little disturbing.

Niki Robertson

I'm Niki Roberton, founder and owner of IAMSOUND Records.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

Its encouraging to see more and more women entering the music industry on the business side, we personally have had more women reaching out for jobs or internships with IAMSOUND than ever before. Ive also see a lot more women rising up as record producers and DJ’s, i can’t wait until we have that area of the music industry filled with more women, at the moment its in dire need of a female injection.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

I hope that the over-sexualising of female artists will hopefully die down or just become irrelevant to music buyers. Its been encouraging to see artist like Haim and Lorde grow just based on their talents and not by how much skin they show.

Vérité

I'm VÉRITÉ.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

I think as though there's been a surge of confidence in women embracing artistry and individuality, particularly in the mainstream--less blatant “sex sells” strategies and less apologies for creatively embracing artistry and pushing boundaries. (Not to say that women haven't already been doing this for years... it just seems to be on an upward trajectory).

Is there anything you would still like to change?

Absolutely. There's always potential for positive motion and change. I feel overall confidence in owning art from inception, to creation, to release. Realizing, that although collaboration is an integral part of the creative process, as an artist, writer, composer and a woman, I am allowed to take 100% ownership of my vision and art.

Liz Nistico (HOLYCHILD)

My name is Liz, I'm one half of HOLYCHILD. I sing, and write all the music with Louie, the other half!

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

Our first EP, Mindspeak, was written in 2013 and it's a concept EP, all revolving around the role of the female in our culture. It wasn't until a month after it was completely finished I realized all songs were essentially dealing with different aspects of the same thing: my frustration with being a woman in our society, and really me just trying to come to terms with that role. At the time, feminism wasn't a “cool” word yet. I was really inspired after we put it out because so many women approached me saying they felt similarly, that they connected with what I was saying. That was so encouraging to me, mostly because I didn't anticipate the response. That was essentially my entry into the music industry. As time progresses, the main change I've seen in the industry, along with our culture in general, is a growing acceptance of feminist ideals. These ideals can mostly be seen in the support of female musicians, as well as in their art. I do not think that equality for genders has yet transcended the art, nor has it made its way into making me feel like when I walk into a room full of men, I will feel equal. But it's inspiring that from Beyonce to little girls in the midwest, it's accepted to be a feminist.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

Oh, definitely. As I said, I don't feel we've reached our goals. There are so many things I would like to change. Like pretty much: the way I feel when I eat too much, the way I feel about being pressured to look a certain way, the way I sometimes get creeped out by the way I'm looked at by a man, the way I sometimes feel self-conscious because a guy does not look at me in a certain way, the way I want to support other women, the way I feel jealous if the guy I like thinks another woman is beautiful. These are obviously broad and applicable to our culture at large, but my thought is that if these things were erased, if we were all on a more even plain in which we didn't occupy our minds with these things, then we could move on to a place of human equality.

Sodwee

I'm Ben also known as Sodwee, owner and operator of one of the only 26 blogs indexed in France's blossoming music blogs with Sodwee.com. I'm a 29 year old male based in Paris, France and can proudly count some very talented female colleagues, friends and contacts in the music industry as a whole.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

We're supposed to be “avant-garde” on this issue/topic here in France. However we're seeing discrepancy in how women are represented in the total mass. Maybe more so on the pay scale against/compared to men than anything else, which is a problem in it's own right. I do not have figures, nor concrete facts, but I sense the pay gap is something French women are concerned about, not only in the music industry but across the board, to other sectors too. I think creatively women are the ones driving the whole shebang forward. So giving women in the music industry the necessary tools to empower their careers, creativity and the necessary stage to showcase them and reward them accordingly… Then that'll be a good start to having equality within the industry.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

Otherwise a deeper change needs to be taken, that's a given. On pay, representation of women in the music industry as a whole. But maybe seeing women take lead in some of the major labels around the world, and seeing more key-role fulfilled by women would be amazing.

Nadine Suleiman

I'm a 22-year old dying a slow corporate American death in a marketing cubicle, hoping it'll one day be worth it. My name is Nadine Suleiman. I love music and I love writing. I've been writing as a freelance contributor to Joonbug for their music blog Frequency. My love of the game spiraled upward (if that's a thing?) once I started interviewing artists that used to only live in my Cloud. It inspired me to create my own music blog (cerealandsounds.com), hoping that I can help spread the music to at least one person.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

I guess I can't really speak on the industry's behalf, solely based on the fact that I believe artists make the industry. Women, both with big butts and without, have gained momentum quicker in the past couple of years than I think it ever has. Granted, there an elite few who dominate the scene (Queen B, T-Swift, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki, etc.). These mainstream entertainers however, have paved the road for real female artists (Banks, MØ, etc.). Music is still without a doubt a male dominated industry, but it doesn't have to be, and I think more and more females are realizing that. Who run the world? Girls.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

Isn't there always something you'd like to change about everything. Yes. Are there instances when you actually can? Hell yes. Garnering a huge female voice like HumanHuman is doing is just one step towards making people hear us - that and Meryl Streep. The industry shouldn't be about females competing, it should be about females collaborating. We need to inspire and be inspired, not just as women, but as humans.

Ana Villanueva (TapTape)

My name is Ana Villanueva and I'm the co-founder of TapTape, a platform that allows fans to invest in musicians and receive a share of profits in return. Our mission is to help talented musicians get more out of their record deals. We started at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Boston) and are backed by Lyor Cohen, ex-CEO of Def Jam and Recorded Music at Warner.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

Sadly, not many. I’ve noticed that more and more women (myself included) are getting excited about hip-hop, but I don’t think this is related exclusively to women.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

I’d definitely would like to see more women in management positions in the music industry. Today’s it’s mostly a men's world. Like in any industry, the more diverse the teams, the more creativity. And we need more creative business solutions in the music industry. After spending the summer in NYC meeting industry leaders working in record labels, publishers and music startups, I only met ONE woman in a leadership position: Julie Greenwald, Chairman and COO of Atlantic Records Group. We need more role models and mentors like her.

KATE BOY

I am Kate, and I am from the band KATE BOY.

What changes have you seen in the music industry in regards to women?

I am seeing more and more female producers and DJs on the scene, which is incredible! Artists like Planningtorock, she is really blurring the lines of gender and is a fantastic example of a woman who does it all and steers the wheel when it comes to making her music. Especially in the last year, I've met more female engineers and producers than ever before in my life, I think it's really catching on.

Is there anything you would still like to change?

I would still like to see less sexualization of women in the music industry. It makes me sad when I see an artist who has extreme influential power, like Beyonce for example, standing practically naked on stage while Jay Z is dressed head to toe in a suit by her side. There is a huge inequality there, and a confusing message of power, and I just can't see the reason why she needs to be dressed that way. And I don't mean women need to stop showing their bodies, I would love us to remove the “lingerie model” stereotypes of what is sexy and how a woman's body should be. I want women and men to redefine what is sexy.

This article is written by Hannah Thacker and was published 3 years ago.

Hannah lives and breathes all things new. For more, check out Hannah on Twitter: @het_music.

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