MusicNSW Boss Attacks Music Industry’s Male Bias

17 October 2013 | 4:12 pm | Staff Writer

"We are here. We are actively contributing to the music industry."

Kirsty Brown, Executive Office of peak state music industry body MusicNSW, has attacked the industry's bias towards males in an opinion piece today.

Writing for Crikey, Brown asked, “How is it that in 2013, female musicians are still relegated to the special interest bin of the virtual music industry record shop? What will it take for the music industry to look at its diversity problem, and move away from its whitewashed, male-centric gaze to embrace, oh you know, the other 51 percent of the population?”

The question of gender in the industry was again raised yesterday when one of the country's most prestigious music prizes, The Coopers Amp, announced their judging panel. Of the 11 judges, only two are female.

“The total number of judges – along with the number of males and females – is decided upon by getting the right people for the role,” Prize Director Scott Murphy told theMusic. “We actually had two additional judges due to be on this year's panel, both were women, and unfortunately they had to pull out before judging began.”

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Earlier this year triple j's voting listeners came under attack for their male-heavy Hottest 100 votes.

Brown – and those interviewed for her article – identified areas such as A&R and production as largely lacking in female numbers and also pointed to Tuesday's ARIA Award nominations, where it was calculated that 18 women received nominations across 27 categories.

Brown, who suggested that the boards of the major industry bodies should start including more women, wrote, “The industry is yet to have a meaningful dialogue about why women are so under-represented and exactly what we're going to do about it.”

She added, “We are here. We are actively contributing to the music industry. We play important and pivotal roles. We are writing and performing world-class original songs. We are important to this industry and its future.”

Earlier this year annual AMID's Power 50 list named promoter and entrepreneur Jessica Ducrou, Sounds Australia's Millie Millgate and iTunes' Janelle McCarthy as the most powerful women in the music industry. In a piece for the 2012 AMID Power 50, one of Australia's top managers – Rae Harvey – also broached the topic, saying she hated making gender an issue.