Why Is There So Much Testosterone in the Music Industry?

When you go to an all-girls school like Victoria and I do, it’s only natural for the teachers to talk about women empowerment 24/7. Whether that means bringing in female guest speakers who appear to run the world, only reading literature featuring female heroines, or just listening to self-proclaimed feminists talk during class, we get it all.  In fact, we just finished our first week of school, and I must say I’m still adjusting to the constant promotion of “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” — don’t get me wrong, I am in total support of women empowerment, but it’s a lot to get used to when you spent the past three months locked in your room watching Netflix.



Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is because girls are on my mind — no, it’s not what you think — girls are on my mind because looking at all of Kryptonite’s posts, we only have one post that features a female lead vocalist and that would be Ingrid Michaelson.  Basically, every band/artist that we have seen in the past four months has been entirely male.  What does this mean?  It means that I just now realized how much the music industry lacks women.  Yes, I know what you’re going to say, what about Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus?  Sure, they’re women, but can you really name any talented all-female bands that are around today?  I can’t.  Sure, Paramore and No Doubt are great, but they aren’t all-female bands.

Heart, The Bangles, Diana Ross & the Supremes, and The Shirelles were all great, but they aren’t around anymore.  The only present female band that I can think of is Fifth Harmony, and that’s not saying much.  Even if you can think of more female bands than I can, it won’t come close to the amount of male bands that are out there.  So what does that say about the music industry and the society that we live in?  Are male bands more talented than female bands?  Are they more marketable?  Does sex really sell?

Imagine if an all-female band opened for One Direction.  Do you think the fans would even show up for the opening band or would they just wait until the manufactured boy band came on stage?  I’d be willing to bet the latter because unfortunately I really do think sex sells.  Female fans become obsessed with bands maybe because they really do like their music, but mostly because they can fantasize about dating/marrying them.

Everything I have said so far means nothing without numbers, so here are the stats:

2014 Grammy Awards: 65/82 awards were given to men — only 20.7% of Grammy recipients were women

Grammy Award for Best Producer: 5/42 Grammy’s for Best Producer have been awarded to women (Joanna Nickrenz, Judith Sherman [3 times], and Eliane L. Martone all produced classical music)

Big Three record labels (Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group make up 75% of the music market): all run by men (Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Lucian Grainge, and Stephen Cooper respectively)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions: 40/304 or 13.2% inductees are female (this includes bands with women in them).  Since 1986 when the inductions began, there have been 5 years where no women were inducted at all but there have always been more men than women inducted every single year since ’86. Last year only 1 woman (Linda Ronstadt) was inducted out of 9 inductees.

Now that you know how male-dominated the music industry is, you’re probably wondering why.  Is it because men are more talented than women?  Do women make up the majority of fan bases and therefore prefer bands full of testosterone?  Or do women decide to stop pursuing a music career because they have to take care of their children?  None of those questions answer why men run the music industry though.  Why isn’t there a major female record executive?  Plenty of women are able to balance a full time job and take care of their family — Sheryl Sandberg I’m looking at you. Is it because music just isn’t an industry for women or is there another top secret reason that I’m missing?  If a woman ran one of the major record labels in the industry, I wonder if the industry would change.  Would more female bands exist?  Would existing female artists stop going on stage dressed like prostitutes (cough cough Nicki Minaj cough cough Miley Cyrus)?  Would more talented female artists make headlines instead of these artificial pop divas?  To be perfectly honest, I don’t know the answer to any of these questions I’m throwing out here, but I’d be curious to find out.

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Lots of womanly love,

Danielle Immerman

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