'Money Is In Men's Hands': Spain's Top Female Execs Speak Out in New Documentary (Watch)

Luis Camacho/Sgae

(L-R) Gema del Valle (Subterfuge- sentada), Celia Carrillo (Ticketmaster- sentada), Sandra Rotondo (Prisa Radio- de pie), Laire Alcalde (Sony/ATV – de pie), Rosa Lagarrigue (RLM – de pie), Inma Grass (Altafonte- de pie), Daniela Bosé (BMG- de pie), Soco Collado (Arte- de pie) y Marisa Marquez (Live nation – de pie)

The term "women in music" has become akin to mentioning an endangered species, at least where Latin music is concerned. But when it comes to women in the Latin music industry, the reality -- while still leaving plenty of room for improvement -- is a bit more encouraging.

The increasingly relevant role of women in the industry, coupled with the challenges they still face despite the strides made, is laid forth in Mujeres de la música, or Women of Music, a documentary on female music executives in Spain. The 78-minute documentary features interviews with 14 women -- 11 executives, one journalists and two artists, including Eva Cibrián, Grupo Prisa’s director of radio stations; veteran manager Rosa Lagarrigue; Celia Carrillo, Chief Marketing Officer for Ticketmaster Spain; Gema del Valle, co-founder of Spanish indie label Subterfuge; and Daniela Bosé, BMG’s managing director for Spain and Portugal. 

It was Bosé who spearheaded the project, alarmed by the scarcity of women in key positions. 

"While we’re not worst off than when I started, we’re in a similar position and I’ve been in this field for over 20 years, and things should have improved notably,” says Bosé in the documentary. “I’m one of the few women who are top executives in a territory. I do see fantastic women in legal, marketing and communication positions, but it bothers me that no woman presides over a record company. It bothers me to see the lack of women in [Spain’s] sales charts."

Women, she told Billboard later, were often in middle management positions, or in senior positions in legal and marketing, two areas where they were "welcome," according to several of the executives interviewed. But rarely do women climb to the top echelons of power in labels, in management, production or live performance. As Bosé says wryly: "They're in leisure but not in business (Están en el ocio, pero no en el negocio). Money is in the hands of men."

The lack of representation prompted Bosé to seek out other female executives and compile their experiences and advice in a single document. Mujeres de la música premiered in June but will be shown again July 13 and 14 at Madrid’s Universidad Complutense and at Festival BIME in October. 

Its purpose, says Bosé, is to raise awareness and inspire. 

"It's directed toward to young women who still haven’t made it to the top. We're providing them our legacy and expertise. The point is to gain visibility and break down barriers."

For a preview, watch here: 

Here are some key nuggets from Mujeres de la música

Celia Carrillo, CMO, Ticketmaster: “I personally haven’t faced major discriminatory issues. But I’ve never understood why some of my female colleagues haven’t been even considered for top executive jobs. Personally, at this point in my career, I’ve asked myself why I’ve never been called to even interview for the job of president at a major. It’s not about being upset, but about being perplexed: my career, my curriculum, my education, makes me the perfect candidate for at least an interview […] I’ve felt that sense of injustice of, ‘why not me?’ I’ve remained in a sector where women are very welcome: marketing and communications.”

Gema del Valle: Founder and communications director, Subterfuge:
“The example we give as women is very important. It’s always been difficult for us to gain credibility and gain respect. Many women also have very sexist attitudes and those patterns have to change.” 

Marisa Marquez: Marketing director, Live Nation: “It’s very difficult to encounter a female tour manager. There are few international agents who are women. I think it’s because our live music sector at an international level is led by men. We are partly responsible. Education is key, and education begins at home; in non adjudicating roles. School is key. Family is key.” 

Sandra Rotondo Urcola: General director, music, Prisa Radio: “Your partner is very important. My husband has allowed me to develop my career and I have two daughters who are fighters.”

Rosa Lagarrigue: Founder/CEO, RLM: "To get ahead, women have to be super women. Women have to be brilliant. There are no mediocre women who triumph. It’s important not to get bogged down with obstacles or sexism. Don’t waste time playing those games. Always forge ahead. If you work well, if you’re excellent at what you do, if you put the time, everyone is put in their place." 

Inma Grass: Co-founder and director of communications, Altfonte:  
“The hyper sexualization of big female artists worries me. Why do women have to be bombshells? Why isn’t it enough for them to be great singers? And I suppose it’s because men pull those strings, although I imagine some women want to be bombshells. But I’m an optimist. And every day I see more women composers, producers, lighting managers, A&Rs; predominantly male roles are also being filled  by women.”

Daniela Bosé, Managing director BMG Spain & Portugal
“We're seeing a musical style with very sexist lyrics that's appealing to young audiences. I think we’re making a mistake [taking that direction].” 

For the full documentary, watch here: