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Report: Women Artists & Songwriters Are Missing In Country Music
A new study on the genre's recent hits quantifies the drastic underrepresentation of female performers and songwriters on the charts and also shows gender imbalance in career longevity
The picture of female underrepresentation in country music continues to become clearer, as a new study conducted by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative finds only 16 percent of the top charting country songs from 2015-2018 were performed by female artists.
Challenging practices that exclude communities from access and opportunity is what we do. Country music has a large gender and age gap. They purport that audiences won't listen to female artists. We have heard that before! Fiction then. Fiction now #timeforchange @iHeartRadio pic.twitter.com/XplR0vZvM9— Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (@Inclusionists) April 5, 2019
The study examines 500 songs on the Year-End Billboard Hot Country charts over the past four years. Perhaps most concerning is that, while 2018's number, 19 percent, was higher than 2014 and 2017, it was equal to 2016, indicating the situation is not necessarily improving.
Percentages of women songwriters on the country charts were equally bleak. When analyzing 200 country songs from the same four-year span, the study found only 12 percent of top-charting country songs were written by women, this compared to 14 percent on the pop charts.
Another alarming statistic the study revealed states the average age of top male artists is 42, while the average age of top female artists is 29. "Women are not only disadvantaged in the country market," the study reads, "But their age illuminates a sell by date that their male counterparts do not experience."
The problem has received increased attention recently. Just last year, GRAMMY winner Carrie Underwood spoke out specifically against the gender gap in country radio. In an interview with Elaina Smith on Nash Country Daily's "Women Want To Hear Women" podcast, Underwood pointed out the lack of women on country radio has only gotten worse, saying, "Even when I was growing up, I wished there was more women on the radio, you know. And I had a lot more that there are today."
First-time GRAMMY nominee this year Ashley McBryde echoed Underwood's reflection, saying, "You look at the '90s, they're were as many if not more strong female artists as there were strong male artist, and they all got along. Nobody was bitching about one another. I think that's the wrong way to go. Country music is a big-ass place. There's room for all of us."
Underwood and McBryde are correct. A 2016 report by Stanford University researcher Devarati Ghosh confirmed that major labels have brought fewer female artists to radio in the 2000s compared to the mid-'90s. In 2017 a report by the Tennessean found the percentage of female-only country songs on the radio has indeed dropped since 2016.
The USC Annenberg study follows their 2018 report on gender imbalance in recording studios, which stated just 2 percent of producers and 3 percent of engineers/mixers are women. The Recording Academy Task Force on Inclusion and Diversity have since launched the Producer and Engineer Inclusion Initiative aimed at course correcting the gender imbalance.
Modern country trailblazer Kacey Musgraves, whose 2018 album Golden Hour took home the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year plus three more awards in country categories earlier this year at the 61st GRAMMY Awards, addressed gender gap in country in an interview with Billboard last year. Musgraves, who has expressed her vision for moving past the age-old gender barriers in country music.
"I'm hoping we can get back to a musical world where talent and uniqueness got you further than politics," Musgraves said, "Where the quality of a song was what would make you a household name. Can you imagine what that landscape could sound like? What future generations it could inspire?"
Underwood took action last year, building her 2018 tour with an entirely female bill, saying it was her way of supporting women "who deserve to be there." Perhaps her insight provides a glimpse
"It’s good when women support women," said Underwood. "One of the good things that has come out of these conversations has been the rallying that we’ve had for each other, behind each other. We all need more of that in our lives.”
The Annenberg report on women in country concluded, "The most effective solution is for the industry to undertake a collective effort to address disparities," and it continued to lay out recommendations for ways labels, terrestrial radio, advocacy groups, streaming services and live entertainment professionals can take action. You can read the full report here.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show
Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion
There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.
The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.
This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.
"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."
Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.
Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes
GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program
On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.
Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.
"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."
The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.
"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.