A new study published on Friday revealed how underrepresented women are in the music industry.
For over the decade, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Dr. Katherine Pieper and Marc Choueiti analyzed women’s presence in the music business, both in front of and behind-the-scenes. In the study titled “Inclusion in the Recording Studio?” the group, through the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, found that out of 600 songs played on the radio, downloaded or streamed women only counted for 16.8 percent of the artists accounted for. That was a six-year low for female artists. For groups and duos, the numbers were even worse as they only counted for 8.7 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.
While being the one on stage can be hard, being on the studio side was no picnic either. Working female songwriters only accounted for 11.4 percent—compared to their male counterparts at 88.6 percent—when it came to music consumption in 2017. That was a drop from female-written songs making up 13.3 percent in 2016, which is still small in comparison to male-written songs. It was even worse for working female producers who only make up two percent of music produced while male producers get the lion’s share of the work and credit. Women of color and ethnicities have it the worst as they only represent two out of 651 working music producers.
Rap legend Missy Elliott added her two cents on the issue on Twitter:
All this comes as the #MeToo movement has begun to highlight the disparities between men and women. The Grammys are a prime example of this gender disparity, as women are barely present in the major categories. From 2013 to 2018, females only counted for 9.3 percent of those nominated, with no female producers nominated for Producer of the Year. This Sunday’s Grammys were even more glaring, as Lorde, Julia Michaels, Alessia Cara and SZA are the only female singer-songwriters nominated in the four major categories.
But while the music landscape for women seems bleak, female artists have been making their voices heard more about the disparities they face, especially for women of color. #MeToo and Time’s Up will make a strong presence at the Grammys as more and more female artists are expected to wear white roses to show solidarity with their film and television sisters in fighting gender disparities and sexual misconduct.
With so many moving parts going on, time will only tell if more and more women make their presence known, both on the stage and in the studio.
See the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s full study here.