Are Streaming Services Perpetuating A Male-Dominated Music Industry?

BY Milli Midwood / Dec 4 2019 / 10:32 AM

Turns out, gender diversity in the music industry may be even worse than in Hollywood

Are Streaming Services Perpetuating A Male-Dominated Music Industry?
Post Malone is the most-streamed artist on Spotify across the UAE and globally in 2019

Last year, a study of Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart between 2012 and 2018 revealed that only 22.4 per cent of performing artists who made the list were women.

Gender inequality was also rife at last year’s Grammys, when out of the 1,064 people who were nominated for an award in the five main categories between 2013 and 2019, 89.6 per cent were male, and 10.4 per cent were female. Oh, and lest we forget about the trending #GrammysSoMale hashtag, which emerged in response to Recording Academy president Neil Portnow's comment that women should "step up" in order to achieve recognition.

And now, Spotify’s list of the top streamed artists for 2019 has offered mildly discouraging, albeit predictable, findings, with an all-male line-up taking the top three spots, and seven out of 10 being male.

The top streamed artists on Spotify in the UAE this year are:

1. Post Malone
2. Ed Sheeran
3. Khalid
4. Ariana Grande
5. Billie Eilish
7. BTS
8. Shawn Mendes
9. Drake
10. Taylor Swift

Coincidence? Not according to journalist Liz Pelly, who spent one month listening exclusively to Spotify playlists and analysing the data to find a major gender imbalance.

“I found that over the course of one month, 64.5 percent of the tracks were by men as the lead artist, with 20 percent by women and 15.5 percent relying on collaborations between men and women artists,” she writes. “I had merely been listening to what Spotify told me to listen to by way of its playlists…These playlists overtly contribute to the continued “othering” and marginalizing of non-male artists.”

Ariana Grande, one of the women who appears to be an exception to the rule, said in an interview with Paper, "I feel like there are certain standards that pop women are held to that men aren't."

"It's just so male-dominated. It's so easy for them. There are so many unbelievable female artists out there that try so much harder. I would just love to see a chart with as many women on top as men.”

You and us both, Ariana.