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Where Are The Women?

Lisa Ward


Last month the BPI ran a wonderful story, the title of which exclaimed “Female Artists Dominate Official Albums Chart in 2011″. Great I thought, the music industry and consumers are finally waking up to the thousands of talented women out there. Imagine my dismay then as I read on only to discover that female artists now account for one in three sales in the album charts, not exactly domination is it? Not when the world population figures highlight that there are more women in the world than men, in fact if you want to be precise 51% of the world has XX chromosomes.

Ever the optimist, I decided not to worry too much. If female artists take a third of sales, then that still leaves male artists, male groups, female groups and mixed groups. Sadly when you look close, unpicking these stats make for pretty grim reading. If anyone dominates the 2011 charts, it is in fact male groups, narrowly taking the highest percentage with 33.5% of the sales. Female artists don’t even quite make the third mark, weighing in with 32.6% of sale. Still, I decided to continue on, wondering what would happen if you combined groups and solo artists percentage.

Given that PRS claim just 14% of it’s membership is female I have to admit by this stage I wasn’t holding out much hope. Combined male solo artists and groups take 59.5% of the sales, well over half. Combine the women and you get 33.3% of the sales, with mixed groups taking just 6.7%, not exactly happy reading for the women of the world. Granted there’s a nice little trend where the women are concerned, female solo artists sales seeing a nice upward climb since 2000 but it’s sadly still a long way from representative and with female groups trailing a long way behind the rest, I can only fear it will be a long while before women in music finally get the recognition they deserve.

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