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  • Women’s music making and performing continues to grow

    This year’s Grammy Awards helped confirm a recent US study that found the proportion of women as performers and creators of popular music continued to rise last year.

    Women scooped Grammys in four of the gala’s six main categories: album of the year (Taylor Swift: Midnights), single of the year (Miley Cyrus: Flowers), song of the year (Billie Eilish: What Was I Made For?) and newcomer of the year (Victoria Monet).

    Women also outnumbered men in the number of Grammy nominations: for example, r&b singer SZA received nine nominations, Victoria Monet and Phoebe Bridgers received seven nominations.

    According to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the percentage of female nominees in the main Grammy categories rose 8.5% from last year.

    The study also looked at the share of female artists, songwriters and producers on the Billboard Hot 100 from 2012 to 2023 and found that the share of female artists rose to 35 percent, the highest in the study’s history. In particular, the number of solo artists increased, while there was little change in the number of women performing in bands.

    The proportion of female songwriters increased by more than five percentage points, from 14.1% in 2022 to 19.5% last year. The report also notes that 56% of songs in 2023 had at least one female songwriter, up from 2022 and the highest percentage in 12 years.

    Female producers are not faring nearly as well, although their numbers are up slightly. According to the survey, women accounted for 6.5% of popular music producers last year, with 94% of songs evaluated not having even one female producer in nine years. In practice, this means that 29.8 men worked as producers for every one woman during the reporting period.

    Stacy L. Smith, Associate Professor of Communication, who co-authored the study, points out that despite positive developments, there is still a long way to go to achieve a truly gender-equal music industry.

    “Women filled less than a quarter of artist roles in all 12 years studied, and these numbers are still far from representing 50% of women in the population and music audience.”

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