The big three major music labels. Sony. Warner. Universal. A huge part of our industry, something more artists dream of being signed to. I know I have certainly sat down thinking about sitting in one of their high exec jobs. But there is an issue. I’m sure we have all seen music festival line ups and their atrocious gender divide. If you’re a fan of Sass and Snarl, you have to know about my love for Vanessa Reed and her work with KeyChange who are working internationally to have 50:50 gender representation at music festivals. But should we be blaming music festivals? Yes, but not solely. They are only signing the best our industry is giving them, the ones that will bring more fans and money. If women aren’t being represented 50:50 in our industry and among major labels, yes festivals could do better but so could everybody else.
When speaking to the manager for Enter Shikari, Ian Johnsen, we spoke about artist representation at independent labels. He sent me the longest list of women that he works with, that are on his team and that inspire him. Now we always knew the more corporate things get, the whiter it is but I say this kind of laughing to myself that it still exists. It needs to change. I was so happy to hear amazing and talented women putting their stamp into music through these independent labels that it inspired me to see what the artist representation was like. Artists are the foundation of our industry, if that isn’t equal, what is?
Last week I sat down and went through every single artist represented under Sony, Warner and Universal to see how diverse their rosters are. Every single label’s roster had around 50% white male artists. The other 50% was split between women in music and artists from minority ethnic backgrounds. After looking into this further I wanted to know how many of these were both a woman and from a minority ethnic background, the highest was 10%.
To read the stats, find our Instagram and please share. This is a conversation we need to be having now! At Sass and Snarl, we work to educate. When I was speaking to PINS, we spoke about the lack of women in our industry and they suggested to bring this into education so that is what we are going to do. We have plans to go into schools and show young girls their worth! Our generation and theirs will be taking over this industry in a blink of an eye so let’s teach and preach for it to be fair. The music industry should be a safe place to harvest creativity and talent. Change is needed. Support is needed. Representation matters.
If the music industry isn’t going to represent us and let our talent be noticed, then we will just have to do it ourselves. We are lucky to have social media to take control over our own promotion. Self-Promotion has never been so important! So, follow our journey with Sass and Snarl to create a more diverse music industry.