Dr. Stacy L. Smith
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS
Gender And Diversity Take Center Stage At 2019 Billboard Power 100 Event
From a powerful speech on diversity down to a t-shirt calling for more feminism, women made a statement at the 2019 Billboard Power 100 event celebrating the most influential people in the music business on Feb. 7.
The GRAMMY week event in celebration of the Power 100 List released the same day brought out the power players to Beverly Hill's swanky Avra restaurant where the Executive Of The Year and Clive Davis Visionary Award honorees received special recognition. For eight years the magazine has published its annual list acknowledging the executives defining and evolving the industry based on data, Billboard ranking and more.
This year the list includes 55 new faces and did not include executives from brands or branding companies due to an editorial decision to focus on "core music-industry companies." In addition, a New Power Generation list has been added to honor 25 "disrupters who will define the future of the business." Gender and inclusion topics also received acknowledgment at the event as many executives spoke about the challenges the industry faces with diversity, making it the hot topic of the night.
"I know in Atlantic we made a huge concerted effort to really make sure that women and minorities are really part of our mix, which is why I think our company has been doing so well," Chairman/COO of Atlantic Records Julie Greenwald, No. 9 on the list, said in a white t-shirt that read We Should All Be Feminists. "I'm hoping everybody else is making just as much of a concerted effort."
The night was also a celebration of the major triumphs for the music industry last year, including the passage of the Music Modernization Act, heavily advocated by the Recording Academy.
“It’s meaningful to me to stand in a room full of so many of the best and brightest of the industry as we celebrate together GRAMMY week," said Recording Academy President/CEP Neil Portnow who is also on the list. "It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with so many of you over the years on behalf of music makers ... many of you in the room tonight have played a significant role in stewarding the careers of artists and furthering their creative visions.”
Introduced by the legendary Clive Davis, Sony/ATV chairman/CEO Martin Bandie, who received this year's Clive Davis Visionary Award, said. "For me any award that has Clive’s name attached to it makes it important because there’s no one in our business who is more respected and admired than Clive and who has accomplished so much in his life.”
He added that the impact he's had on the careers of other people are as important to him as his own. “I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that the executives who will soon be running [Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing] Jon Platt, Jody Gerson and Guy Moot, all graduated from the Bandier school of music publishing hard knocks.”
Before executive of the Year Chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group Lucian Grainge shared a few words, a new kind of power player, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder of the University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who has done research on the gender inequality in the music industry shared few stark words about the state of the field. She cited that less than a quarter of all popular artists are female, less than 15 percent of songwriters and two to three percent of producers and engineers are women. However, other areas of the business are far worse she said; In Latin music women make up only three percent of the artists on the charts.
But there was good news: Smith will donate the data found by the Annenberg Inclusion initiative to the independent global network started by Grainge, Gersen, Alicia Keys and more called She Is The Music to further the opportunities and resoruces for women in all areas of the music industry.
"We are dedicated to making She Is The Music database the industry gold standard, and by doing so, we ensure that this key resource is the first major step to creating equality and long-lasting change in the music business," she said.
Grainge, who was an early supporter of Smith's work, said Universal would donate $50,000 to She Is The Music when accepting his award. Billboard parent company Valence Media's managing director Deanna Brown said they would commit $25,000 to the independent network.
“There’s an enormous amount of power in this room," Grainge said in his closing words. "Let’s put all of the power in this room to good use and continue the good work we’ve just started.”