From more women in the studio and in leadership roles to in-office breastfeeding rooms, these executives from across industry sectors see promising signs of progress. But there's still plenty of room for improvement before they're on equal footing with their male counterparts.
Change is Coming: As a woman of color, I’ve encountered ill treatment, but before needing to defend myself, others have showed up to condemn that behavior. More people are standing up against prejudice, proving that there’s no space for that in our industry.
There's A Ways to Go: There aren’t enough women — especially women of color — in leadership roles. An example is the disparity of women in songwriting, producing and A&R. There should be more active efforts to implement initiatives or internship programs designed for women from underrepresented backgrounds interested in entering the industry.
Kerri Edwards President, KP Entertainment
Change is Coming: I’ve seen awards shows increase awareness of gender equality. When I look at the country radio chart and compare it to four years ago, I see a change in the right direction. This year, our executives at CMT pledged to play males and females equally on their music video hours. In one of our Country Music Association board meetings, I noticed so many more women managers on the board.
There's A Ways to Go: Continuing to break down the stigma that our audience does not want to hear women on the radio is imperative. I look forward to the day when we reach a point where we can recognize each other based solely on accomplishments, regardless of gender.
Change is Coming: It’s so cool to see women producing full projects — like Alex Hope and Catherine Marks on Alanis Morissette’s Such Pretty Forks in the Road. Soon, I hope a woman wins producer of the year at the Grammys! With the election of the first female vice president, I think there will be even more of these opportunities for women.
There's A Ways to Go: She Is the Music recently shared that in 2019, only 21.7% of artists were female, only 12.5% of songwriters are female, and only 2.6% of producers are female. Hopefully in the next year, we’ll start to see an increase in those percentages.
Mary Megan Peer Deputy CEO, peermusic
Change is Coming:My grandmother became CEO of the music publishing operation [at peermusic] back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, when women rarely led international companies. Today, our company continues in the tradition of driving equality and female leadership in music. Of peermusic’s 30 global offices, 10 of them are run by female executives.
There's A Ways to Go: The past few years have been a watershed moment in terms of creating conversations about diversity and inclusion. From mentorship programs to female songwriting camps, we see the creative community being recalibrated to support female creators and executives. As the mother of two twin girls, I think a lot about building bridges for future generations and about opening doors.
Vera Savcic CFO, Secretly
Change is Coming: At our new offices in Brooklyn, we have a designated breastfeeding room. Twenty years ago, this would’ve been a “their” problem, but now we respect the needs of working mothers. We now have a rule that all promoted panels should be diverse and have 50% female representation. We also internally publish an annual gender pay gap analysis.
There's A Ways to Go: We are far behind in ownership — female-owned music companies or women owning controlling shares of companies. There are no [key performance indicators] that we embrace as an industry to track the very necessary changes. When you start tracking the data you become more aware of it and can begin to change it.
Anjula Singh Executive vp/CFO, SoundExchange
Change is Coming: I do see progress happening. I’ve been CFO at SoundExchange for more than six years. In 2020, I took over management of the operation departments, and now I manage over half the company. The honest conversations that exist today didn’t happen when I was first starting out in my career.
There's A Ways to Go: Like anything, we can always do better. We can’t take our foot off the pedal. We need to make a steadfast commitment to identifying and engaging the next generation of female leaders through mentorship.
Ty Stiklorius Founder/CEO, Friends at Work
Change is Coming: Last year, I was part of the task force behind the “Women in the Mix” initiative, which asked that at least two women are considered during the hiring process for producers or engineers. It required producers to take gender representation into account when deciding who to mentor for further development.
There's A Ways to Go: We’ve seen modest gains in gender equity. It’s encouraging that the Recording Academy named Valeisha Butterfield Jones its first chief diversity and inclusion officer, but that came on the heels of forcing out its first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. And while I congratulate Michelle Jubelirer for becoming co-head of Capitol Records, I wonder why women are often co-heads with a man.
Marsha Vlasic President, AGI
Change is Coming: When I started, I was one of only three female agents in the entire business! There weren't women in record companies or publishing. That clearly isn't the industry today. There are many female agents, and some of them are like me — presidents or owners of their own agencies.
There's A Ways to Go: There's still a long way to go for women with intersectional identities, such as women of color and women in the LGBTQ community. The music industry can only benefit if we have a wide range of women representing all areas of our business.