News March 11, 2019

New PRS For Music report highlights the troubling gender gap of UK songwriters

New PRS For Music report highlights the troubling gender gap of UK songwriters

The plight of UK female songwriters and composers shows a greater gender gap than in Australia & New Zealand.

New figures from the UK’s PRS For Music show that only 17% of its members identify as female.

The figure was 13% in 2011.

PRS For Music is the industry body that represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK.

Of the top 20 highest earning songwriters and music composers in the UK last year, only one was female.

However, the figures change drastically for the younger demographic.

42% of PRS For Music writer members under the age of 20 identify as female.

40% of the top 10 highest earning female songwriters are under the age of 35, and include millennials Charli XCX, Jess Glynne and Romy Madley Croft of The xx joining Adele, Ellie Goulding, Florence Welch and Emeli Sandé as successful female-identifying songwriters and composers.

In Australia and New Zealand, overall member gender split for APRA AMCOS is 77.5% male and 22.5% female, according to its 2018 annual report.

The rights organisation is in the middle of increasing its female-identifying members as part of a three-year campaign which included workshops and mentoring initiatives, among others.

In its first year, there was a 16% increase in female members.

Of its new members in the last 12 months, 72% identified as male, 26.8% as female, and 1.2% didn’t specify a gender.

Last Friday’s By The Numbers report by triple j’s Hack noted that while APRA AMCOS pays male and female songwriters the same amount of royalties, women continued to earn less on average than men.

The report suggested, “This basically means that male songwriters either write more songs, or are behind works that get played more often, or in higher-paid spots (in a TV ad, for example).”

It also noted that the earnings gap between male and female APRA members is narrowing at a relatively fast pace: in 2018, female songwriters earned 88 cents for every dollar male songwriters did –  up from 77 cents in 2017.

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