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#WomenInTheMix Is Gaining Support In Light Of New Study On Gender Gap In Music
One year ago, the Recording Academy and She Is The Music, in conjunction with the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force launched the #WomenInTheMix initiative to create a much-needed change in the music industry. According to a 2019 report from USC Annenberg only 2 percent of popular music is produced by women. In a moving new video, this alarming statistic is brought to life
The video shows a 50-woman choir singing GRAMMY winner Alicia Keys new single, "Underdog," while women begin to sit down one-by-one until only one woman remains standing and singing alone. She represents the 2 percent of popular music produced by women in a striking visual illustrating a lopsided reality in the music industry.
But since #WomenInTheMix launched, there has been improvement surge in support for the groundbreaking initiative. The initiative continues to gain steam and traction, with over 650 producers, labels, artists, agencies management companies and other stakeholders pledging to consider at least two women in the selection process every time a music producer or engineer is hired. It also asks working producers to agree to take issues of gender diversity within music’s technical fields into account when deciding who to mentor and hire for further development.
"I know from personal experience that, to truly move the music industry forward, we need to make a clear effort to engage and empower women," added GRAMMY winner Brandi Carlile. "Artists and studios should commit fully to initiatives such as Women in the Mix, which help ensure representation and gender diversity in all aspects of music making -- from the stage to the studio."
To this end, USC Annenberg's 2020 study arrived late last month, illustrating some encouraging yet slow change in the gender gap. According to the new report, this number has risen from 2 percent to 5 percent, although the reality is the number still reveals ample room for improvement in conditions for women in the music industry.
The new study was once again overseen by the Annenberg Initiative's founder and director, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, and also incorporates telling statistics on GRAMMY nominations. Notably, it states this year's nominations reflected the highest number of female nominees across five select categories in the past eight years, up to 20.3 percent.
"While these shifts are small, collective action takes place when multiple companies, in multiple positions of gatekeeping, take action," Smith told Billboard. "We're starting to see change."
But females are still missing in popular music. The new study, which was funded by Spotify and uses its streaming data from 800 popular songs since 2012, also shows a lack of representation of women in songwriting (12.5 percent) and artists (21.7 percent) with a notable lack of women of color in the producer role (only 8 out of 1,093), although as artists, men and women of color have climbed the charts in recent years.
"As producers fill a leading creative role, it’s essential to ensure that women from all backgrounds are being considered and hired throughout the industry." said Dr. Smith. "Moreover, the industry itself must continue to expand its commitment to representing the voices and talent of women in all aspects of the business."
Through the lens of USC Annenberg report's data, awareness within the music industry of its need to change is growing, but only through taking action, as the hundreds of music professionals and organizations have with #WomenInTheMix, can real change be realized. For more information on #WomenInTheMix, please visit the initiative's website.