Women Are Changing the Game for Music, But They Still Get Sidelined 
Thu, April 22, 2021

Women Are Changing the Game for Music, But They Still Get Sidelined 

Women were gamechangers in music long before they were even recognized / Photo by: Graham Crumb via Wikimedia Commons

 

Women were gamechangers in music long before they were even recognized. Clara Schumann, a lesser-known female composer and pianist, had actually composed music that people did not know about while she was still alive. After her recent bicentennial birthday, however, the German Opera Berlin reflected on her contributions to the music industry. 

Even after Schumann, some contemporary female artists still struggle with recognition. If they are recognized, the irony of it is that they still don’t get nearly enough headline performances in festivals, despite most modern female artists changing the game for good. 

Women Behind-the-Scenes 

Successful women in music aren’t always the big stars; sometimes they are those working behind the scenes. In an article of Teen Vogue, a magazine that covers fashion, beauty, celeb style, entertainment, and other similar topics, they pointed the spotlight on Victoria Monet, a songwriter you probably didn’t realize wrote amazing hits you’ve been singing, that is, if you are an avid Ariana Grande fan. 

Grande fans will know that she and bestie Ariana recently released “Monopoly,” a fun little bop with a music video to match. She also wrote Ari’s explosive single “thank u, next” as well as “7 Rings,” songs that were both Grammy-nominated. This just proves that Victoria really knows her thing, working as a “triple threat” with her songwriter, singer, and performer combination. And we can all agree that she knows how to write good hit songs. 

Another female hitmaker is Bibi Bourelly, a 25-year-old songwriter whose career includes having worked with Haim, Rihanna, and Lil Uzi Vert. Just looking at where Bibi Bourelly came from, and how she was raised already shows just how much of Bibi’s life revolves around music.

She’d been involved in music since the sixth grade. Now 25, she says the place of music in her life has not changed. 

“I’m driven by my love for music and my desire to connect to as many people who have ever felt like me, as I can. Why? I don’t know… maybe because I’m lonely. I’ve always felt pretty misunderstood,” she shares with Teen Vogue. 

Successful women in music aren’t always the big stars; sometimes they are those working behind the scenes / Photo by: Lorie Shaull via Flickr

 

The Obstacles 

If women like Victoria and Bibi worked as hard and as early as they did to make it in music, how come they still don’t get the recognition that they deserve? 

On the technical side of things, business news source Forbes reports that the main problem with the astonishing lack of recognition that hardworking female artists get is due to both a problem in the industry itself (the ratio of female producers to male producers is 47:1) as well as the perception of the listeners (listeners feel as though the ‘male sound’ is more danceable while the ‘female sound’ leans more on the acoustic side). 

The fact that 57% of female songwriters also don’t get credited is probably a good reason why Bibi and Victoria are relatively unknown to the mainstream audience even though they’ve always been working behind the scenes. Here, you may be thinking, “ah, well, some male songwriters are also not credited”; tell that to the less than 1% songs not credited to male songwriters, a far cry from 57%. 

The Gamechangers 

Is there hope for the women who work hard on their craft? There is. Some of the powerful women in music still continue to help empower more female artists to unapologetically take up space and lay their claim on their position in the music industry. 

Leslie Fram, the senior vice president of music and talent at CMT “has been leading the charge in the music industry to get women the airtime and accolades they deserve,” Refinery29 reports. “Fram’s efforts have resulted in the network sponsoring all-women tours, booking an all-women show for their Artists of the Year special in 2018.” 

The #MeToo movement has also helped female artists shake the music industry to its core, at least for its dated perceptions on what a woman’s place is in the music industry. Lauren Mayberry, vocalist and frontwoman of the band Chvrches, is intimately familiar with this kind of environment, having been speaking out against online harassment and sexism since 2013. 

The #MeToo movement has also helped female artists shake the music industry to its core, at least for its dated perceptions on what a woman’s place is in the music industry / Photo by: photographer695 via Flickr

 

“Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over, and accept defeat? I hope not,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian. 

Kacey Musgraves, a country music darling, has also been making waves in the country music scene, so much so that she became “one of the biggest stars in the genre this decade by completely eclipsing, and stepping outside, the genre.” Her efforts first seemed futile as she struggled just to get radio airplay when she released her first album. 

But quickly, with the trend of the hilariously named “yee-haw agenda,” or a rising interest in country music, Kacey has managed to even land on best album lists for her music that “colors outside the lines of what current country sounds like.”