Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Kacey Musgraves, Kassi Ashton, Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Shawn Mendes are a few of over 200 other artists, producers, labels, management companies, and other industry members have signed on to a new task force initiative on Diversity and Inclusion started by the Recording Academy. The unprecedented new initiative aims to expand opportunities for female music producers and engineers in the industry, and is the first step in a broader effort to increase the number of women in those fields. According to a 2018 USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study, only two percent of music producers and three percent of engineers/mixers across popular music are women.
The initiative is the first step in a broader effort to improve those numbers and increase diversity and inclusion for all in the music industry, and calls on any entity or individual responsible for or involved in selecting and hiring producers and engineers to commit to making hiring decisions only after considering a slate of candidates that includes at least two women. It also asks working producers to take gender diversity challenges in music’s technical fields into account when determining who to mentor and prepare for development and advancement opportunities.
“The music industry is at a crossroads and progress won’t happen on its own. There is no magic bullet to shift a status quo that has existed for centuries, but we see this initiative as an important step,” said Tina Tchen, Chair of the Recording Academy’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and Partner at Buckley LLP, who previously served as chief of staff to former First Lady, Michelle Obama. “We know that change requires real commitment to intentional hiring and to providing young women with consistent training and mentorship. We aren’t here to tell anyone who to hire, but we have seen repeatedly that the simple act of making sure diverse candidates are always seen and considered makes it more likely that women will get the opportunities they previously have been denied. It’s one step everyone can take that could go a long way to catalyzing important change that is overdue in this industry.”
To assist in ensuring the success of this initiative, the Recording Academy is creating and hosting a webpage dedicated solely to facilitating the process of identifying working female producers and engineers. The site will enable anyone seeking to consider and hire a woman for a position to quickly access relevant resources, including tools provided by She Is The Music and Women’s Audio Mission, organizations that help connect decision-makers with female producers and engineers.
“As an artist and member of the Recording Academy, I’m proud to join this pledge and appreciate the work of the Task Force to bring this forward. Women deserve as much opportunity as men, and we know this industry has not always been fair. The only way to change these inequities is for us to face it directly and commit to do more,” said artist and Task Force member, Common.
The Inclusion Initiative gives employers and creative decision-makers the continued ability to make the right choice for their music, while simultaneously providing visibility and opportunity for female producers and engineers. Bringing visibility to these issues will not only expand opportunities for women today, but it will also inspire more young women and girls to pursue technical careers in the music industry going forward, which could help shrink the gender gap.
A full list of artist, label and producer pledges is available here.
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