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(Credit: Joey Thompson)


New study confirms women are underrepresented in popular music


Perhaps the most shocking take home from this news line is that it required a study to find it out. 

The University of Southern California confirmed the long-held understanding in an exploration of the extent of inequality within the music industry.

The academically compiled report aimed to “assess the gender and race/ethnicity of artists, songwriters and producers across the 800 top songs from 2012-2019,” taken from the Hot 100 Year-End Billboard Charts.

The study concluded that less than 23 per cent of artists and less than two per cent of producers in the chart-rank sampled, were women.

The research, which acts as the fourth annual report for the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, also examined gender disparities at the Grammys – focussing on the major categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and Producer of the Year.

A tweet from the Initiative, stated, “Our new study on Inclusion in the Recording Studio is out today—and on #IWD2021 the results show that for women in music there is little to celebrate. As artists, songwriters, and producers women are outnumbered on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Charts & have been for nine years.”

The rather more promising take home is that inclusivity is on the rise with 2021 representing the best year yet for women being recognised and represented in music.

The study looked at over 150,000 music creators and publishers in the industry and found a positive 12.3 per cent year-on-year increase compared to 2019’s figures. 

The disparities found, however, were not limited to representation alone with finances also vastly divided by gender. The study found that the top ten highest-earning female songwriters and composers in 2020 generated around 70 per cent less income than their male counterparts in 2020.

You can check out a video of Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and more discussing the issue, below.