exclusive Features September 17, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s first all-female booking agency launches: “We need to band together and create that change”

Former Assistant Editor
EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s first all-female booking agency launches: “We need to band together and create that change”

Established EDM booking agent Kailei Ginman is taking the push to make Australia’s electronic sector more welcoming, inclusive and safe for women into her own hands.

Today she announces the launch of Australia’s first female-focussed and LGBTIQ+ inclusive booking agency – an all-female roster, run by female agents, employing all-female freelancers and supporting community charities – aptly named Alpha.

In a time when gender parity on lineups and female representation in the industry is a hot topic of debate, Ginman is leading the charge to take the issue off social media and “actually do something about it”.

Alpha Booking Agency is not only dedicated to nurturing an all-female and female-identifying roster, but is the first booking agency run entirely by women – right down to outsourced work.

A powerhouse in the EDM scene after years working across disciplines as a booking agent, promoter, publicist, merchandise marketing, brand partnerships and more, Ginman has worked with companies such as Platinum One Entertainment, Shake Appeal, Araca Australia and Ministry of Sound.

Her roster and tour involvement spans over 80 electronic acts including Havana BrownThe PotbelleezTimmy Trumpet, Apollo Jackson, Brooke EversSalt N PepaSean PaulFatman Scoop and more.

But despite years of experience and establishment in her field, Ginman told TMN that starting Alpha Booking Agency was driven by her own confrontation with sexist discrimination in the workplace, as well of that of the female artists she’s nurtured.

“Female talent on the roster continued to organically fall over to my fold from male agents, and by the end of my time at the agency I represented 90% of the female talent because the relationships I was able to build with my talent from simply being able to understand and nurture them as women led to really positive and successful careers for them, and me as a result,” she shared.

“In the EDM world, I found personally that there’s a negative connotation when it comes to being a woman in the industry. I’ve seen my female talent not be respected by male talent, venue managers, and even other agents, with them not thinking that the female talent is at the same standard as males.

“There’s a definite boys’ club in the venue and the EDM world – I really did have to fight to be respected.”

While she says that callout culture is important, change also stems from women supporting women in the industry, and Alpha is where she’s starting.

Her mission is not only to foster the talent of a diverse army of artists and increase the visibility of women in the electronic sector, but also to be on the frontline to protect and support the needs of her female talent when it comes to performing and touring.

“The purpose of the business is to represent female and identifying talent, developing and promoting them in the music industry and corporate/brand space, navigating them a safe, positive and successful career with an agency behind them who believes in their talent and power as artists and as women,” she explained.

“We need to band together and create that change, and let the old culture of boys’ club know that it’s not okay anymore, it’s not acceptable; female talent have exactly the same capability as male talent and work just as hard, if not harder at times.

“They’re using the exact same equipment, they’re playing in the same venues, they need to do exactly the same job, so respect that, and respect that a woman’s not coming in with a USB and just plugging it in and getting someone to press play.”

She sees the sexualisation of female electronic artists as a necessary shift to change the sector’s perception of women: “Posters, artwork, compilation CDs… it’s like girls in bikinis with cars and mountains behind them. Like come on, people!… It’s Zoo on a poster. It’s so dated. Get with the times.”

As well as filling the books with a diverse tribe of female talent – including FelineStaraAyebatonye, Stacie FieldsRosie Kate and Sara T – she’s walking the walk a step further by outsourcing jobs to women, such finding other female-run startups to do her website and artwork. 

“It’s been really nice to be able to employ females to do something that, a lot of the time, a male gets the job on. It’s something that I really want to encourage; giving talented, creative women a go.”

Thus far, she’s worked with Angie Young, Xposed Media (publicity); Annie Walter, Annie Walter Design (logo); Kate Carmen, Rabble Rouse Creative (website and branding), Renee Peterson (copywriting) and Alex Drewniak (photography).

As Alpha grows, she’s also looking to work in the charity space, driven by what her talent is passionate about; whether that’s refugee activism, LGBTIQ+ charities, disadvantaged youth or broader women’s charities.

“It’s exciting, and hopefully we make a pretty big difference, not only from Alpha’s selected charities but through what the talent on the roster would really like to support and get behind as well.”

Looking to the future, she hopes that more initiatives and businesses which support female careers in the electronic sector will see more women entering the tech space, management, promotion, sound and light design and venue management. “I think once that happens as well, it will change the way that a nightclub feels or the way that a space for a DJ to perform in feels.

“I think changing the culture and the mindset in that part of the industry is super important. And I think that once that happens… there’ll be more space for [female artists] to rise up into that same level as Alison [Wonderland] and those other giant electronic acts. And then that will create more parity on lineups as well, because there will be more women of that scale in the industry.”

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