It’s International Women’s Day today and triple j have aptly taken the opportunity to crunch the numbers on the representation of women in the Australian music industry, and in the process highlighting just how under-represented women in fact are.
Hack, the station’s current affairs program, has analysed the statistics across various aspects of the industry and weighed up the male versus female representation in Australian music workplaces, festivals, on radio and at award shows.
According to triple j, one in five (21.5 per cent) artists registered with APRA are women. From there, a startling 80 per cent of indie record labels are managed by men while women make up only 30 per cent of board members on peak music bodies in Australia.
triple j has often come under fire for the amount of women represented in their annual Hottest 100 countdown and this year was no different. While 37 songs voted into this year’s countdown featured at least one women, no female solo artist or woman-fronted band made it into the top 10. Still, it’s an improvement on last year’s countdown which only featured 19 women and vastly better than 2009’s Hottest 100 “Of All Time” which featured no solo female artists or female-fronted acts at all.
Triple j surveyed all their stations, Double J and Unearthed included, over the period from 1st to 7th February 2016, highlighting that women occupy at least 35 per cent of total airplay time on each station. On triple j, 39 per cent of songs played featured at least one woman while only 16 per cent were by female solo artists.
Courtney Barnett, who featured four times on this year’s Hottest 100 told Hack, “I feel like people are extra harsh or critical of female artists.”
“I have to kind of say things five times, or ask the same question five times. Whereas I know even the guys in my band, or my manager ask it once and not be questioned.”
Over the past few years, festivals all over the world have been criticised for under representing females on the lineup and this report further demonstrates that the issue is prevalent in Australia. Splendour In The Grass, Falls Festival, Laneway and Groovin The Moo all had lineups made up of over 30 per cent solo female artists or bands with at least one woman but it was the EDM festivals that delivered poorest stats. Both Stereosonic and Listen Out’s 2015 lineups were made up of less than 10 per cent women.
Listen Out was heavily criticised last year by Australian music collective LISTEN for only featuring one female on the bill, Alison Wonderland. “We’re sick of dude fests,” they wrote in a statement.
In comparison, Splendour In The Grass was praised last year for upping its female representation as opposed to international festivals like Britain’s Reading and Leeds Festival which delivered a 2015 lineup made up of 89.6 per cent males.
Milly Petriella, the Director, Member Relations at APRA AMCOS, told Hack that she was shocked by the lack of research there is surrounding this topic. She also worryingly pointed out that up to year 12 there is a greater representation of females in “choirs, musical theatre, singing, school bands”.
“And then somehow, from that point, from 18 to going into the workforce, it completely swaps around. It’s almost like it’s 80% women when girls are younger, and in school, and it swaps around to 80% men when we’re talking about the workforce,” she said.
Over almost every category that triple j have surveyed, disappointingly, females never come out on top in terms of representation. The only exception being the triple j staff, with there being 40 women and 39 men employed by triple j in music-related roles.
This report is a good visual representation of just how much work still needs to be done.
triple j is further celebrating International Women’s Day today by broadcasting an all female playlist with a female-only lineup of hosts.