With many major music organizations acknowledging the misrepresentation of minorities within the last few years, it’s important to understand why diversity matters in the music industry. For many years, inequality in the music industry has been a noticeable issue in places all over the world. You’d typically see some sort of inequality through the artist themselves, executives, record labels, and award shows such as the Grammys awards.
The music industry is predominantly run by men who leave no room for up-and-coming female artists. Therefore, we see that this is an ongoing problem in the industry. Since inequality is not only happening among female artists, we also recognize the low percentage of women who produce music (the highest being 5%.) Also, the number of women who write music is pretty low with the highest percentage being 14.4%.
Inequality has been a huge issue, but understanding that introducing diversity to the music scene is a major adjustment that must be addressed. We may learn more about diverse cultures, opinions, emotions, sentiments, and so on by having diversity.
What is Inequality?
Inequality itself is defined as the “phenomenon of unequal and/or unjust distribution of resources and opportunities among members of a given society.” There are several forms of inequality including,
- Gender Inequality
- Inequality of Opportunity
- Social Inequality
One of the biggest forms of inequality talked about in the media recently is gender inequality. If you are someone who considers yourself as just the “average listener,” you may not notice how severe inequality among women is initially. This is because the average listener usually notices the same few female artists high up on the charts, however, once you take a deeper look into data correlated to the music industry; you’ll then realize how underrepresented and underpaid women are in this industry.
In comparison to their male counterparts, gender inequality in the music industry is seen by,
Women in the music industry are underworked and underpaid. A study conducted by USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, highlighted inequality. In terms of representation, women are represented by less than one-third of all musical artists in the world today. In the period 2012-2020, 12.6% of composers and less than 3% of female producers were appropriately represented on the music charts.
When 900 of the many popular songs from 2012-2020 were examined. Yet again, women fell short when it came to the numbers. Most female musical artists fell just under 30% while male artists held numbers above 70%.
Does that give you a better idea of how the music industry excludes women?
Example of inequality in the music industry
Popular singer-songwriter, Santigold, sat down in an interview with Clarify to discuss gender equality and women in the music industry. She says utilizing your body is the “easiest method” to break into the music industry. Some of today’s famous female musicians use their bodies in addition to their musical talent.
Santigold feels many women who don’t have that particular body and “look” should still have the chance to have their music, ideas, and art noticed.
What is diversity, AND WHY’S IT IMPORTANT?
Diversity defines “having a range of people with various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds and various lifestyles, experiences, and interests.” Diversity brings together a community of people from different backgrounds. Music gives people the chance to communicate what stories they may have in common. Essentially, music allows people of all backgrounds to share their perspectives on the world. Music has the unique ability to serve as a role model for the value of diversity in society.
“Music has its roots in individual cultures,” the record label owner states, “but thanks to its ability to invoke emotions, it has the capacity to bypass the listener’s prejudices, even if only on a temporary basis.”Upcoming Entrepreneur, Reed Louis-Jeune on Diversity
Diversity helps fight inequality by creating a safe space for those of different races, genders, sexualities, etc. It essentially creates a culture that is accepting of all, including, women, men, LGTBQ+ members, etc. By increasing the number of diverse artists and giving them a fair shot on the charts, we can see a decrease in inequality. Good music allows people to open up their minds and change their perspectives on other cultures, ultimately becoming more accepting of others. Therefore, decreasing inequality will stop future generations from being discouraged from stepping into the music industry. It’s important to note, the music industry has undergone improvement. However, we still have a long way to go as far as accepting diversity.