Music News

International Women’s Day 2024: Meet the women shaping the music industry

To mark International Women’s Day 2024, Headliner takes a look at some of the incredible work being done by artists, technicians, and executives in shaping the future of the music and professional audio industries.

From producers and sound engineers, to artists and business leaders, women and across the music and audio industry spectrum have been grossly underrepresented in their field. In its annual Inclusion In The Recording Studio? report last year, the USC Annenberg Institute examined the gender of artists, songwriters and producers across all 1,100 songs included on Billboard’s Hot 100 year-end charts spanning from 2012 to 2022.

It also assessed every Grammy nominee nominated for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Producer of the Year within the same time frame, along with the year’s inaugural Songwriter of the Year category.

The study found that for women songwriters and producers, opportunities remain limited. In 2020, 12.9% of songwriters were women, which is consistent with the 12.6% of women songwriters across 900 songs for the past nine years – a ratio of seven men to every one woman songwriter.

The percentage of women of colour working as songwriters declined from the peak reached the previous year, but still represents an increase from 2012.

For white women songwriters, 2020 was no different from 2019 and 2012. Across the nine-year sample, 57.3% of songs did not feature any women songwriters. A similar trend of exclusion continued in 2020 as 65% of songs did not feature any women songwriters.

In terms of songwriters, women represented approximately 14% of songwriting credits on the Hot 100 in both 2022 and 2021. That represents only a slight increase over the full 11-year period when they made up 12.8% on average.

Women filled the fewest percentage of roles as producers – women held only 2% of all producing positions across the 2020 Billboard Hot 100 songs.

However, this year, the study’s findings hinted at some notable improvements taking place across the industry.

The findings this year show that women’s participation has increased across many metrics. The percentage of women artists reached 35%, a 12-year high that reflects two consecutive years of change on the charts. One explanation for this change can be found in the data on performer type. While little has changed for women in bands or duos, individual women artists filled 40.6% of spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Chart in 2023, an increase over 2022 (34.8%).

For women in producing roles, 2023 also represented a high point, though not a significant increase over previous years. Fourteen, or 6.5% of the producers credited in 2023 were women. This surpassed the previous record of 4.9% in 2019. Nearly half, or six, of the women producers in 2023 were women of color. Even with these slight gains, across the nine years evaluated, 94% of the songs evaluated did not include even one-woman producer. Across nine years, there were still 29.8 men to every one woman working as a producer.

The race/ethnicity of artists was also a focus. In 2023, 61% of the artists on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Charts were from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group while 39% were white. This was a 12-year high and an increase from 2022 (50.6%), but not significantly greater than the percentage of underrepresented artists in 2020 (59%).

Over the course of the past 12 months, Headliner has had the privilege of speaking to a vast array of women whose work has not only set new standards across their respective industries but is helping to encourage and pave the way for others…

Multi-talented artist, producer, and composer Hannah Peel was appointed as this year’s The F-List for Music president, where she will help lead the charge on creating more opportunities across the industry.

Singer Samara Joy had already notched up two Grammys by the age of 24, and continues to blaze a trail with her unique brand of jazz. 

2023 Eurovision winner Loreen set the contest alight with her song Tattoo, and she looks set for more big things this year.

Last week, UK star Raye took the BRITs by storm with a record breaking haul of awards, highlighting why she is one of the most formidable acts in music today. 

Natascha Augustin saw her incredible work in the German music publishing industry hit new heights in 2023, leading to he being promoted to MD of Warner Chappell Music Germany. 

PRS For Music CEO Andrea Czapary Martin has revolutionised the organisation to bring dramatic increases in payments to artists and implement a raft of improvements and advances in its working practices. 

New Ministry of Sound managing director Negla Abdela has introduced a new vision for the company and its strategy for breaking new talent.

Last year saw Abbey Road Studios appoint Sally Davies as its new MD to steer the legendary facility into 2024 and beyond. 

Finnish musician, music producer and YouTube Liina ‘LNA’ Turtonen opens up about finding her calling in music production despite being told she’d never have a successful career.

Danielle Kennedy-Clark, vice president of guest experience at AEG Europe, tells Headliner about how the expectations of audiences at live events are evolving more rapidly than ever, how AEG is working to meet these demands, and what the future of the live events industry looks like at grassroots level.

London-based pop powerhouse DEJA recently delivered a bold, sassy performance at the second SoundOn Session at The Pioneer Club in St. Albans late last year, highlighting why she is one to watch in 2024.