THE WOMEN OF MUSIC WANT MORE:
MARKETSHARE • OPPORTUNITIES • RESOURCES • EQUALITY
WHAT WOMEN WANT:
Women in music should not have to struggle more than men to achieve the same share of the market.
Marketshare is a product of more opportunities being readily available to encourage engagement.
Opportunities often require resources and support systems to propel artists further into the public’s awareness.
The best resources are often worthless if there isn't basic equality of opportunity throughout the industry.
WOMEN IN THE TOP 20
For the first time in the chart’s history, over 28 years, no solo women artists were included in the Billboard Country Airplay Chart’s Top 20 in December 2018.
OVERALL AIRPLAY FOR WOMEN
In 2018, solo women received approximately 13% of the overall airplay on country radio.
THE ‘TOMATOGATE’ THEORY
In 2015, a well-known consultant in country music repeated in an industry publication the long-held belief that radio should play women no more than 15%.
If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.”
WE’VE HEARD THE TALK…
We understand that this is a difficult subject for many. The women of music are often pressured into “going along to get along”.
The “keep the peace” tactic is part of what got us to less than 15% representation though. It led to no women in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Airplay chart in December 2018. It’s the method that allows festival and tour lineups to keep rolling out without any significant representation of women.
None of us want this cause to be our charge but, as we are learning, our careers depend on it.
"COUNTRY MUSIC TAKES CARE OF ITS OWN..."
Country music prides itself on its care and compassion. From St. Jude's children to disaster relief, veterans' issues and curing cancer, we are no stranger to opening our hearts and hands far and wide.
That's why it is so important for us to live up to the creed that “country music takes care of its own.” We can't claim that and leave half our artists and colleagues struggling for success.
"I'M JUST TRYING TO MAKE IT..."
We get it. You have dreamed about being in the music business your entire life. You are finally here. Maybe you've "made it". Maybe the ink isn't even yet dry on your record or publishing deal. Maybe you are just picking up backroom gigs in small bars. Maybe you're recording songs from your bedroom and getting seen on socials.
Wherever you are, know this: we are stronger together. Follow those who are speaking out on social media and share what you can. Ask questions, give thoughtful answers, and don't be afraid to speak up when something starts to cross the line. Be informed about who is leading the groups you are a part of and encourage inclusivity in their work. Walk away from bad partners so you can stand with pride when better things come your way. With you in our corner, and us in yours, we will be able to carve out a better future for everyone.
"I WANT TO BE SEEN AS AN ARTIST OR A PERSON, NOT JUST OR ONLY A WOMAN..."
Yes and you should be considered an artist or professional first. We all want to be recognized for our general personhood and acknowledged, first and foremost, for the contributions that we bring to the work. You don't want to just be the best FEMALE producer. You want to be the best producer. Period. We get that. The problem is that, unfortunately, as an industry, we just aren't quite there yet.
To quote Meghan Markle, "Women need a seat at the table, they need an invitation to be seated there, and in some cases, where this is not available, they need to create their own table." (International Women's Day, 2015)
What the industry needs now is a new table with seats for everyone - women and men. It will take women willing to advocate for their own advancement, and men acknowledging that need, to see success. Working together, we will we pave the way to parity.
"WE'RE WORKING WITH WHAT WE'VE GOT...
As Martina McBride said, "The idea about not playing two females back to back ... I get it. If you have less than 19% of your music by females, you want to spread it out. The real point is ... why is your playlist less than 19% females???"
An ear often likes familiar sounds. If it isn't used to female voices and writing - and most of country music’s audience currently isn't - how can anyone, from industry vet to fan, expect to appreciate their true value. There isn't a lack of females wanting to make it in country music. What we lack is a significant number of people and places that are willing to play them.
“BUT "THEY" STILL RUN EVERYTHING..."
Not for long. If we all come together, we can work towards truly changing the culture of the business. Country music isn't just three chords and the truth. It's a business and an industry that needs to change at its CORE. In order to achieve our goals, we need to prove that the women of music not only want MORE (marketshare, opportunities, resources and equality), but that they won't stop or settle until they get it.
We can spread that message through strength and solidarity. Together, we can elevate more active and aware women and men into leadership positions. Together, we can demand with our dollars and invest in inclusivity.
Our collective voice can change the current culture.
"MY COMPANY SUPPORTS ME SO IT’S NOT REALLY MY PROBLEM..."
We'll leave this to former First Lady Michelle Obama,
"There are a lot of people who get to the table, and they're too nervous to add that value. Because a lot of times, they get to the table and they're so concerned with not losing the seat at the table."
"Maybe you say something that gets you kicked out of the table. Well, maybe that's not a table you need to be at."
If your company is helping build a better kind of table, and you’ve found a seat, other women need you speaking up about and helping to make room so more women can find seats too.
We can’t do this work alone. We need you to help us shed light on the current struggles facing women in music.
We need you to WOMAN UP.
WOMAN has encouraged the leadership of country music's major companies to take an active role in cultivating a new approach to our industry’s culture.
We are A-OK with not expecting headliners to be under 25.