How the music biz is working to close its shameful gender pay gap
The last two years have seen a major change in expectations by women in the overall workforce.
But things were really eye-opening (and embarrassing), when British music companies divulged their gender wage disparity last year, a demand by its government.
The three major labels, using figures from April 2017, showed 33.8% pay gap.
Warner was the worst offender with a 49% gap, Universal with 29.8%, and Sony at 22.7%.
Live Nation’s UK operation reported a 46% gender pay gap, alongside an incredible 88% difference in bonuses between male and female employees.
Since then, many sectors of the music industry have worked hard to address the problem, caused largely by the fact that only 31% of leadership positions at majors were filled by women.
Morna Cook MBE, senior director of HR, Universal Music UK told Music Business Worldwide, “At Universal Music, diversity and inclusion isn’t driven by compliance or obligation.
“Success in our fast-evolving industry depends on us attracting people from all kinds of backgrounds, and having a team that truly reflects and supports the incredible diversity of our artist roster and society.”
Universal has been working on its paid interns program, more mentoring of its female executives, and working at a 50:50 split in its A&R teams.
Sony implemented “inclusive environment” learning programmes and better support for working parents.
Warner, which in 2017 had 41% of females in its workforce but only 16% in leadership roles, has taken a look at its staffers through a diversity and inclusion perspective, and put more women in frontline roles.
The Australian music biz too is working at solutions.
APRA AMCOS is one Australian organisation that is actively committed to a 25% increase in female members over the next three years.
It pointed to sync, film and TV deals as a primary reason for a 23% gap, with most of these lucrative going to men.
Hence it increased mentorship and skill development, along with a number of gap-closing initiatives.
Australia Council for the Arts’ Making Art Work report found that on average, female artists earn 25% less than their male counterparts – a considerably larger number than the reported workforce gender pay gap of 16 per cent.
The report said: “Males and females spend a similar amount of time on creative work, but on average, females earn 30% less from it than males.
“This is despite higher educational attainment by female artists overall, in comparison to males.”
It makes the point that artists with a disability earn on average 42% less in total annual income than artists without a disability and that most artists with disabilities are female.
Australia Council is ensuring more grants and opportunities go to women, and like many arts and entertainment associations, has an inclusive disability program.
The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s study Inclusion in the Recording Studio noted that of 600 songs which appeared on the Billboard 100 chart from 2012 to 2017, only 22% of the songs were performed by women, 12% were written by women and a mere 2% were produced by women.
Another study found that women only make up 28% of the music recording workforce.
Again, the solutions have included the compiling of databases of female studio engineers and producers so they were visible and easily contacted, and to urge people who book recording sessions to include a number of women, and for studio veterans to consider women when they mentor.