8 March 2021
By Ben Sisario
The latest study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that women’s representation in music has not improved in the last decade.
Three years ago, an academic tallied up the performers, producers and songwriters behind hit songs, and found that women’s representation fell on a scale between, roughly, poor and abysmal.
The starkness of those findings shook the music industry and led to promises of change, like a pledge by record companies and artists to consider hiring more women in the studio.
But the latest edition of that study, released on Monday by Stacy L. Smith of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, has found that the numbers for women in music have mostly not improved, and in some ways even gotten worse.
Among the findings of the study, based on the credit information for songs on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart for each year since 2012, is that last year women represented 20.2 percent of the performing artists of the year’s top songs — down from 22.5 percent in 2019, and slightly below the nine-year average of 21.6 percent.
Of the 1,797 artists behind the 900 songs on those charts — representing solo performers as well as members of duos and groups — there were 3.6 men to every woman, according to the study, which received funding from Spotify.
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