I’ve been working with music since the late 80’s. I started my career at CBS Records (now Sony Music), made some turns: a record distributor, commercial radio and web business and ending up at V2 Records, Richard Branson’s offshoot when he left Virgin Records.
Promotion and PR has been my profession since I started my own company in 2006. I’ve worked with books, films and conferences but music has always been my passion.
Billy Momo made me take the step into management. Bands and artists has popped the question on several occasions, but I never felt the urge to really take on an act full time. In January 2015 that changed. Hearing the Momo music and – especially – seeing this unique band live made me turn the company in a new direction. Management.
Every week I receive newsletters from music industry all around the world. Industry news about appointments, meetings, conferences and the latest buzz in music. And every time I read these news I react on how few the women are. Sweden is fairly equal, but we’re still struggling with low numbers of women in higher positions. We’re getting there, but it’s a slow process. 2012 the percentage share of men and women at decision making positions within music industry (Managing Directors, General Managers and decision makers around artists, as A&R’s, agents and managers) were 80/20. Three years later, 2015, the figures were 78/22. As I said: baby steps…
The US seem not to have come as far. Every newsletter with pictures from both national and international conferences shows guys of various ages, arms around the shoulders and tapping each others backs. A lot of guys. Almost exclusively guys. And when glancing at the 100 most influential music people in the US music biz it sadly shows very, very few women.
The promotion/PR branch of music business is filled with women. The management side of the industry not so much. This part of the business is still very much dominated by men. Which makes people react when they meet a band consisting of seven men, with a female manager. I’ve received comments like ”So, you’re the manager? Which band members is your boyfriend?”. Or: ”Are you the mother to one of them?”. When trying to inform the same person that this is what I do for a living, it continues. ”Ah, so you are a REAL manager?”. Show me any man in the same position who would get comments like that.
I am a woman. I work hard. I’m good at what I do. Enough said.
8 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG POST #1: Being female in the music industry”
Thank you for that enlightening perspective. One would think with the number of women performers in the world, there would be more women managers, but your stats are a sad testament to the state of affairs about women managers in the music industry. I have had a lot of women managers through my entire working life, and we currently have an equal number of male and female managers at our office (we do work related to architecture, planning and information technology). I really feel for you having to put up with the boyfriend and mother talk — totally Neanderthal. I would think in this day and age most professionals would be way beyond that kind of “men”tality, but I guess not.
From all the music I’ve heard and all the videos I’ve watched by Billy Momo over in the past week, you have found a great band, or a great band found you (whichever way it went) and you are doing a great job of managing them.
Thanks for commenting, Timothy!
It’s not just about lack of women managers – the record industry lacks women everywhere! At record companies, booking agencies, publishing companies. We have to climb higher, talk louder and believe in ourselves, just in the same way that men in the industry do. Maybe it’s about women not wanting to ‘show off’ in the same way guys do? I for sure don’t want to take any limelight, that’s for the artists I represent. But maybe we have to, to be seen and recognized and prove that we exist in the music business…? /Birgitta
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If your limelight benefits the band and helps women in the industry, then let it shine!
But there is often a double standard for men and women managers. Behavior that is often praised as strong and confident for a man, may be considered bitchy and dictatorial for a woman. I appreciate the humanity women managers generally bring to the workplace, but I know a lot of men who really resent it.
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So very spot on, Timothy! Personally, I think humility needs to be everywhere, even in music biz. /Birgitta
You are the best manager ever! Punkt slut!
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Thank you, sweet Petra! /Birgitta
I understand everything you said. I am a music producer and talent developer . I also am asked if I am the mother of the artists that I work with. I just had lunch my old friend and boss who managed the Backstreet Boys Donna Wright . She and I both know it is a tough road when you are female .
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Thanks for sharing, Joanne. Definitely tough! But we’re hanging in there. Keep up the good spirit. /Birgitta