Music, Venue

Women in the Music Industry

Underrepresented and underpaid, women’s professional contribution to the musical arts has been historically undermined, with the music industry often being defined as a male-dominant field in which men primarily benefit from music production sales. While women artists, creatives, producers, and music label executives only make up a small proportion of the industry (despite several individual female artists producing more hit songs than that of their male counterparts), on this International Women’s Day it is important to support and empower women through recognising their valuable contribution to music – because while the music industry may be perceived as ‘a man’s world’, as James Brown sings, ‘it wouldn’t mean nothing without a woman or a girl.’ 

While many women face harassment and discrimination within the music business, organisations such as ‘Women in Music’ and ‘The Girls Gig’ shine light on women in the music industry, striving for equal opportunity as women music creators are often overshadowed by male music producers who are more likely to release songs, sign record deals, partake in collaborations, top the music charts, and receive award nominations. Vowing to shatter the glass ceiling of an industry that works to repress women’s freedom of expression through musical artistry, creative storytelling, investigations of identity, and explorations of sexuality, many women who are entrepreneurs are creating their own industry opportunities by founding their own music labels and retaining control over the production of their music.

For instance, powerhouse musician Taylor Swift has, over the last year, been on a mission to re-record her albums in a bid to win the ownership rights to her music after Scooter Braun bought the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums in 2019. Creating new master versions of her previous tracks, Swift can now earn the direct profits from her music every time her own tracks are played on Spotify and Apple Music. Sparking a revolution within the music industry, instead of patiently waiting for signs of improvement, many women have chosen to follow in Swift’s footsteps in an effort to change the rules of the music industry game, sick of working as hard as they can, ‘wondering if I’d get there quicker, if I was a man.’ 

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Lily Boag

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August 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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