Rae Harvey On Women In The AMID Power 50: 'I Hate Making Gender An Issue'

6 July 2012 | 11:59 am | Scott Fitzsimons

The influential manager shares her views.

If you've been living under an industry rock, earlier this week SPA and theMusic presented the inaugural AMID Power 50 list, the Australasian Music Industry Directory's ranking of the 50 most powerful people in the Australian music industry. You can see the list here.

Compiled by the editorial team at AMID in consultation with a number of industry professionals, such a list was always going to start argument and debate. One of the talking points so far has been the male-dominance of the list, with only six females making the list, two of them as joint entries with males.

Ranked 49 on the list, artist manager Rae Harvey, who with Crucial Music manages The Living End and 360 amongst others, has written theMusic.com.au an article on the perceived discrepancy:

Rae Harvey (#49) On Women In The Industry:

When I was asked to write about the discrepancy in the male/female ratio of not only the AMID Power 50 but at major labels and festivals I nearly choked on my Diet Coke - because I don't actually believe there is a discrepancy, and because I hate nothing more than making an issue of my gender. I have never felt discriminated against because I am female. As a result, I usually refuse to discuss the topic or speak on panels that attempt to address it. I firmly believe the sooner we stop talking about this so-called “issue”, it will stop becoming one.

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Looking at my inbox at this very moment I have 23 emails waiting for a response. 12 are from males and 11 are from females. I don't see a massive discrepancy there!

On a day-to-day basis I deal with a lot of strong, efficient and brilliant women in the music industry. Whether it be Kirsty Randles and Karen Tinman over at EMI or Michele Porto, Karen Don and Alicia Reynolds at Universal Music. Johanna Greenway, Melvis Crawford, Susan Forester and Jade Skelly at Big Day Out; Jo Hickey at Splendour in the Grass; Linda Bosidis at Mushroom Publishing; Gerry Bull and Dan Buhagiar at triple j; Katherine Dale and Julia Davis at New World Artists and so many more whom deserve a mention that word limitation won't allow.

John Watson no doubt values the major contribution in his business from people like Melissa Chenery and Kirsty Medynski just as I value Edrie Cullen from One Louder as an asset to this industry.

Apologies for generalising, but I think men and women ARE different. It doesn't matter how often we try to be equal, we just aren't. We think differently. Males tend to be more egotistical - and a healthy ego will usually push someone into the spotlight. Women tend to sit behind the scenes a bit more and are often more efficient and organised.  

Does this mean I think men should be at the forefront in recognition whilst the women take a back seat? Of course not. Looking at this AMID Power 50 I see some people I don't consider powerful, but do consider influential. I see some people I don't consider powerful in Australia, but powerful internationally.  And of course I see people I think should be higher or lower. It's a controversial list by anyone's standards.

I don't doubt that if I kept a higher profile, took more shitty meetings discussing nothing relevant, attended more industry functions and cared more about my own ego and profile than that of my artists, then I might earn myself a higher place on the AMID Power 50 next year, as could many of the brilliant women working in this business. But I don't care about lists or power or ego so fuck it. I don't care what people think of me, or my position in this business. I care about my artists first and foremost at all times. And that, in part, is probably because I am a woman.

Rae Harvey