According to a recent study, the percentage of female artists featured in the top charting songs of the year in the US has risen to 35%.
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative releases an annual report called “Inclusion in the Recording Studio?” which evaluates the participation of women in the music industry. The latest report, covering 2023, revealed the largest number of women involved in music since 2012.
According to the study’s lead author, Stacy L Smith, there has been an increase in the number of women artists on the popular charts for two consecutive years. This is a significant achievement that should be acknowledged and celebrated. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that there is still room for improvement. In the past 12 years, women only occupied less than a quarter of all artist roles, which is far from representing their presence in the population and music audience.
In 2023, there was a 40.6% presence of solo female artists on the charts, showing improvement from 34.8% in the previous year. Female songwriters also saw an increase from 14.1% to 19.5%. Additionally, there was a rise in representation for women of color, as 55 received songwriting credits in 2023 compared to 33 in the previous year.
Smith attributes the increase to the efforts of multiple organizations dedicated to empowering women in the music industry, stating that advocacy and activism are driving progress in the field.
Prior to this weekend’s Grammys, a study was conducted on the nominations, revealing a majority of female nominees, including SZA, Victoria Monét, and Phoebe Bridgers. However, only one male, Jon Batiste, is nominated in both the song and record of the year categories. The study also analyzed all of the nominations and found a significant increase in female representation in the main categories. However, it also noted the absence of any female nominees for producer of the year.
Smith expressed that there is still inadequate acknowledgement for female producers and songwriters in these categories, and there is a lack of representation for women of color in the nominations for their work. They believe that in order for the music industry awards to accurately represent the creative workforce and their audience, there must be inclusion for women, specifically women of color, in these honors.