The subject of gender equality in the music business is receiving increasing attention. However, until now, there have only been a few studies on the situation in Germany. The MaLisa Foundation is expanding its work on gender equality in the music business and has dedicated itself more to collecting data in this context: 2021, a study on gender diversity in the music industry and music use was initiated together with Keychange and the Reeperbahn Festival, and the results were published as part of the Reeperbahn Festival. In addition, MaLisa Foundation conducted its own research on pop music awards, analyzing five different music awards.
For the research, five German music awards were analyzed according to the gender distribution of the prize winners based on the names of the musicians. Women and non-binary persons are clearly underrepresented in the five German pop music awards evaluated. This applies to the winners of all five pop music awards as well as to the special evaluations of the nominees, authors and jury members.
These music awards were examined from 2016-2019. Due to the pandemic, several prizes were not awarded in 2020. For better comparability, all five prizes were therefore considered for the same period:
Gender distribution was determined on the basis of the musicians' first names. On the basis of the first names, non-binarity could not be clearly identified in any case in the sample.
Artists were counted individually. For bands, all members were counted, and the same applies for producer teams. Prizes that focus on German popular music were selected for the study. In the case of prizes that award additional categories, only those from the field of popular music were included.
For three of the five prizes (1 Live Krone, Music Authors' Prize, Prize for Pop Culture), gender ratios among the nominees and the prize winners were also analysed. For the prizes that publicise the composition of the jury (Music Authors' Award, Music Prize of the BDKV, German Record Critics' Award), the gender distribution of the jury was also evaluated.
Female musicians are awarded prizes significantly less often than their male counterparts: The winners for the period 2016–2019 show a clear male predominance of 83 percent.
Over the course of 2016-2019, no lasting change is apparent: Throughout all of the music prizes, the ratio of female to male prize winners remains at around 1:5 during this period.
It should be noted, however, that women are already likely to be clearly outnumbered in the nominations. A special analysis of three of the five music prizes shows that the gender distribution among the nominees only changed slightly: 14 percent women overall on average among the nominations, 12 percent women among the prize winners.
The analysis of all composers, lyricists and authors involved in the production of singles and albums (according to the GEMA directory) shows a similar ratio between men and women.
Men are also clearly in the majority in the juries that determine the prize-winners.
QUO VADIS MUSIC AWARD?
Music awards put selected artists in the spotlight and help them gain more popularity and career opportunities. They thus send an important signal for the industry as a whole, for up-and-coming artists, and also for consumers.
The clearly unbalanced gender distribution among nominees, award winners and jury members contributes to a consolidation and reinforcement of already existing disadvantages for women in the music business.
To counteract this, analyses of the causes for the exclusion of women*, as well as effective measures for a more balanced gender ratio on the different levels of music awarding are necessary. A first step would be to establish transparency concerning the gender distribution of the jury, nominees and award winners in the call for nominations and awarding all music prizes.
MaLisa research on gender distribution in German pop music awards (download available in German language)
For this research, the MaLisa Foundation cooperated with the international initiative, Keychange, which is represented in Germany by the Reeperbahn Festival, for the "Study on Gender Diversity in the Music Industry and Music Usage”. The survey was conducted by the opinion research institute, Kantar.
The results show that women and men assess the equality of opportunities in the sector very differently. This applies both to the assessment of the status quo, and to the perception of improvements in the last five years. Furthermore, it shows that almost every woman surveyed has experienced discrimination based on her gender. In the case of music consumers, it became clear that different age groups have different perspectives. A number of possible measures to be taken for more gender justice were evaluated by the respondents.
Study concept and methodology
For the study, various surveys were conducted from April to August 2021 and supplemented with information from external sources.
KEY FINDINGS OF THE STUDY:
Existing gender inequalities
Measures for improvement
Gender diversity and music marketing
The consumer perspective
It is essential to create more visibility and more opportunities for women and gender minorities in the music business.
The quota can be an effective tool to establish more equality. Empirical examples show that where quotas have been introduced, the percentage of women represented increases.
Mentoring and female networks are also considered useful. To end the exclusion of women from existing, male-dominated networks, female networks alone will probably not be sufficient. Mixed networks of men and women seem more forward-looking.
The measures require a change in thinking and a greater willingness to take risks on the part of the stakeholders in the music business. It can also be assumed that the next generation of music consumers will put more pressure on the music business to effect change and offer greater diversity.
Ultimately, it is up to the music business itself to create visibility for gender diversity in marketing by offering appropriate music products, introducing quota regulations and signing voluntary commitments. With the current state of music marketing, it is still difficult for consumers to align their purchases with the goal of balanced gender diversity.
A detailed summary of the results, including graphics, is available for download here.
Artist: Antje Schomaker, Fotocredit: Markus Nass