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Underrepresented, Overworked & Underpaid: 7 Key Learnings From The Newly Published Women In The Mix Study

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Underrepresented, Overworked & Underpaid: 7 Key Learnings From The Newly Published Women In The Mix Study

Released today, on International Women's Day, the Women In The Mix Study explores the employment experiences, job satisfaction, family decisions, and pathways women professionals take in the music industry

GRAMMYs/Mar 8, 2022 - 02:04 pm

It perhaps shouldn't come as a shock that women working in a variety of professional fields face challenges unique to their gender. Those working in the American music industry are no exception.

The newly published Women In The Mix Study — released today by the Recording Academy, Arizona State University (ASU) and Berklee College of Music Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) — explores the experiences and socioeconomic landscape of women and gender-expansive people working in music. Built on data from a 2019 study conducted by the Berklee College of Music, the Women In The Mix Study surveyed more than 1,600 professionals working in various capacities — from behind the scenes to center stage — and at all levels, with all ages, races and ethnicities responding.

The Women In The Mix Study explores demographic characteristics, employment experiences, career challenges, job satisfaction, family decisions, and pathways into the music industry. More than 1,000 respondents also provided suggestions for improving the climate for women in music.

Ultimately, the study is designed to influence advocates, allies and leaders in music to work toward a more inclusive and equitable industry, while amplifying women's voices.  

"The Women In The Mix Study is a groundbreaking account of the realities and decisions that we as women working in music are publicly and privately making each day," Recording Academy Co-President Valeisha Butterfield Jones said. "By centering this study around active listening, learning and building solutions, we've armed the industry with valuable data about the barriers affecting women in music and how we can together take a stand."

"When trying to create meaningful change you have to speak directly to the people who will be most affected by that change and let them be a part of the conversation," Erin Barra, Director of Popular Music at ASU, added; Barra co-authored the study with Mako Fitts Ward, Ph.D.; Lisa M. Anderson, Ph.D.; and Alaysia M. Brown, M.S.  

In celebration of International Women's Day, GRAMMY.com is taking a deep dive into some of the major findings of the Women In The Mix Study. 

Read the Women In The Mix Study in full.

Women are underrepresented, overworked and underpaid

The Women In The Mix Study cites work from the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which found that women are severely underrepresented in the music industry, accounting for just 21.6 percent of artists, 12.6 percent of songwriters, and 2.6 percent of producers. The Initiative's annual Inclusion in the Recording Studio report found that there has been no meaningful increase in these numbers over the years.

More than half (57 percent) of Women In The Mix respondents work two or more jobs. Twenty-four percent work between 40-51 hours per week, while an additional 28 percent clock more than 50 hours per week. 

Thirty-six percent of respondents earn less than $40,000 per year, and nearly half of them feel like they should be further along in their careers. Nearly half of the respondents who identify as music creators and/or performers reported making less than $40,000 a year. 

Approximately 57 percent of music creators felt they should be further along in their career, compared to those working in music education (48.5 percent), event/tour production and management/promotion (41.7 percent), music business (37.4 percent), and music media and technology (32.9 percent).

Discrimination is prevalent — especially for gender-expansive respondents and women of color

Across all racial identities, 84 percent of respondents had faced discrimination. Seventy-seven percent felt they had been treated differently in the music industry because of their gender, while more than 56 percent believed their gender had affected their employment. Music creators and performers experienced this the most, with 65 percent experiencing discrimination. Sixty percent of respondents said they had been discriminated against for their age. 

Gender-expansive respondents were less satisfied than those who identified as women by a 16 percent margin. They were twice as likely to make less than $40,000 per year and felt less comfortable in their workplace by a margin of almost 18 percent.

Women of color reported feeling the highest level of discomfort in the workplace and noted less workplace support. More than half of respondents of color felt they should be further along in their careers.

Career advancement is often prioritized over parenthood

Roughly one out of every two respondents said they chose not to have children or had fewer children than they wanted because of their careers. Respondents with children under the age of 18 represent slightly less than two out of every 10 women and gender-expansive people in the music industry.

People who make over $100,000 per year had a 27 percent likelihood of having children. Those earning less than $40,000 a year have a 15 percent likelihood of having children. Women of color are the most likely respondents to have children, though they still reported that their career was a factor in their decision-making around having or rearing children.

Work-life balance development should begin early

While less than half of respondents reported having an internship during their career, 78 percent felt internships contributed to their career. 

However, since internships, particularly those in creative fields, are often unpaid, these opportunities may not be feasible for people without sufficient financial and/or supportive resources. Study respondents suggested paid internships as one method of addressing networking, access to opportunity, and work-life balance. 

Respondents — many of whom are working more than 40 hours per week — noted that burnout is a significant challenge. Additional and/or mandatory paid days off would also improve work-life balance throughout the industry. 

Mentorships and advocacy organizations are valuable

Ninety-three percent of respondents felt that mentoring had contributed to their career. These respondents were more likely to feel they were where they should be in their careers and reported feeling satisfied with their jobs. Respondents suggested that providing access to quality mentorship and mentors can have a profoundly positive effect on the careers of women and gender-expansive people.

Forty percent of respondents were members of advocacy organizations, while 35 percent of respondents cited professional or industry-related organizations as crucial factors to their growth and advancement. Roughly 20 percent mentioned advocacy in their recommendations to help improve the climate for women and gender-expansive people.

However, mentorship and networking are both largely built upon a person's interpersonal skill set, as well as their ability to negotiate and advocate for themselves. By bolstering soft skill development, while also building and strengthening institutional programs, support infrastructure, and active education, the music industry can improve business acumen for women and gender-expansive people early in the employment pipeline. 

Organizations should take real action and spend money

Simply saying your business is committed to DEI isn't enough. Women In The Mix Study respondents suggested recruitment pledges — a commitment from hiring managers to recruit diverse and robust candidates — as a means of intentionally addressing access to opportunities and dismantling gatekeeper culture.

Addressing women's representation in music has been a longstanding priority for the Recording Academy. In 2019, the organization launched Women In The Mix, which prompted hundreds of music professionals and organizations to pledge to consider at least two women in the selection process every time a producer or engineer is hired. That same year, the Recording Academy pledged to double the number of women voters in its voting membership by 2025; the organization has reached 60 percent of that goal.

In 2021, the Recording Academy donated a total of $25,000 to five charities and organizations that support the growth of women and girls in production and engineering. Based on the Women In The Mix Study findings, and to help address issues surrounding access to resources and opportunities, the Academy has committed to donating an additional $50,000 to five organizations that support the growth of women and girls in music, including Beats By Girlz, Femme It Forward, Girls Make Beats, She Is The Music, and Women's Audio Mission. 

Career satisfaction and passion for the music industry remain high

Despite the challenges around insufficient earnings, burnout, gatekeeper culture, sexism, and the competing demands of creative vision and generating revenue, 78 percent of Women In The Mix Study respondents reported feeling satisfied in their careers. Even in career categories that seem to face the most obstacles — such as freelancers and music creators and performers — more than 80 percent of respondents said they felt satisfied. Respondents working in event and tour production, management and promotion were the least satisfied, noting a 65 percent satisfaction rate.

Such satisfaction may be the result of inherent passion: Over half of respondents said that their pathway into their careers was through their inherent love for and excitement about the music industry.

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Mayor Of Los Angeles Karen Bass To Give Keynote Address At 25th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative During 2023 GRAMMY Week Event
(L to R): Peter Paterno, Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass, and Aron Lichtshein

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Mayor Of Los Angeles Karen Bass To Give Keynote Address At 25th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative During 2023 GRAMMY Week Event

The Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative will welcome Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass as the keynote speaker for its annual GRAMMY Week Event.

GRAMMYs/Jan 20, 2023 - 02:00 pm

Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative will welcome Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass as the keynote speaker for its annual GRAMMY Week Event. Mayor Bass will join leaders in the legal and creative communities at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Fri, Feb. 3, as they celebrate the work of their peers and the year-round efforts of the Entertainment Law Initiative, which aims to encourage discussion and debate around the impact of legal affairs on the music industry.

"We are honored to welcome Mayor Karen Bass to the ELI GRAMMY Week Event as we gather and celebrate with the trailblazing professionals and students who are paving the way forward in the entertainment law industry," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said. "Mayor Bass has been a longtime supporter of music creators' rights in her legislative roles, and she has a unique understanding of how the creative industries intersect with law and policy that we look forward to hearing at this year's event."

"I'm proud to support GRAMMY Week because of the role that our entertainment industry plays in powering our local economy and to encourage efforts to increase equity and opportunities for Angelenos to break into the music business," Mayor Bass said.

Mayor Bass was sworn in as L.A.'s mayor on Dec. 11, 2022, after representing California's 33rd Congressional District from 2011 to 2013 and its 37th Congressional District from 2013 to 2022 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Between 2004 and 2010, she served in the California State Assembly and was elected as Speaker in 2008. 

The event will also honor the winner and runners-up of the Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA). The contest challenges students in Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws programs at U.S. law schools to research a pressing legal issue facing the modern music industry and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. The winner of this year's Writing Contest is Aron Lichtschein, a JD student at NYU School of Law, for his essay, "Tickets to Ride: NFTs and the Future of Concert Ticketing." Lichtschein will receive a $10,000 scholarship as well as tickets to the 2023 GRAMMY Awards and other GRAMMY Week events. As well, his essay will be published in the ABA's journal Entertainment & Sports Lawyer. Runners-up Gina Maeng and Amanda Sharp, students at Georgetown Law School and University of San Diego School of Law, respectively, will each receive $2,500 scholarships for their essays.

The Recording Academy announced last month that Peter T. Paterno, Partner at King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP, will receive the 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award at the ELI GRAMMY Week Event; the award is presented each year to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. 

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from student members. GRAMMY U celebrates new beginnings with fresh pop tunes that will kickstart 2023.

GRAMMYs/Jan 6, 2023 - 12:17 am

Did you know that among all of the students in GRAMMY U, songwriting and performance is one of the most sought after fields of study? We want to create a space to hear what these students are creating today!

The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that students are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify and Apple Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.

Each month, we accept submissions and feature 20 to 25 songs that match that month’s theme. This month we're ringing in 2023 with our New Year, It's Poppin'! playlist, which features fresh pop songs that bring new year, new you vibes. Showcasing talented members from our various chapters, we felt these songs represented the positivity and hopefulness that GRAMMY U members embody as they tackle this upcoming year of exciting possibilities.

So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify below and Apple Music.

Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our February playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the student member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify and/or Apple Music link to the song. Students must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.

About GRAMMY U:

GRAMMY U is a program that connects college students with the industry's brightest and most talented minds and provides those aspiring professionals with the tools and opportunities necessary to start a career in music.     

Throughout each semester, events and special programs touch on all facets of the industry, including the business, technology, and the creative process.

As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.

Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.

10 Finalists Announced For The 2023 Music Educator Award
2023 Music Educator Award Finalists

Graphic by the GRAMMY Museum

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10 Finalists Announced For The 2023 Music Educator Award

A total of 10 music teachers have been selected as finalists for the the 2023 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, which recognizes educators who have made a significant contribution to the music education field.

GRAMMYs/Dec 19, 2022 - 02:00 pm

A total of 10 music teachers have been announced as finalists for the 2023 Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. The finalists, who come from 10 cities across eight states, were selected from more than 1,205 initial nominations, which were submitted from 47 states. Semifinalists were announced in October and quarterfinalists were announced in June.

The annual Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2023, which takes place ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards.

Read More: Meet The 2022 Music Educator Award Recipient: Stephen Cox On His Philosophies & Strategies For Teaching

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives. The final honoree will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school's music program. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.

The Music Educator Award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators; teachers are also able to nominate themselves. Nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.

The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Museum's Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

Nominations for the 2024 Music Educator Award are now open.

Learn more about the Music Educator Award. 

See the full list of the 2023 Music Educator Award finalists below:

Name School Name City State
Phil Aguglia Kenmore East High School Tonawanda New York
Ernesta Chicklowski Roosevelt Elementary Tampa Florida
Pamela Dawson DeSoto High School DeSoto Texas
Antoine Dolberry P.S. 103 Hector Fontanez School Bronx New York
Jack A. Eaddy, Jr. Western Carolina University Cullowhee North Carolina
Marisa Frank Explore! Community School Nashville Tennessee
Trevor Nicholas Senn Arts at Nicholas Senn High School Chicago Illinois
Matthew Shephard Meridian Early College High School Sanford Michigan
Tony Small Pallotti Arts Academy Laurel  Maryland
Alice Tsui New Bridges Elementary Brooklyn New York

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."

Moniquea

Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.

L'Impératrice

L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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