Grammy awards body to study women’s representation in music business

Study with universities comes as Recording Academy faces accusations of systemic sexism and voting irregularities

The music industry body behind the Grammy awards has announced a study of women’s representation in the music business, after finding that just 23% of nominees for its televised 2021 ceremony next week identify as women.

The study by the Recording Academy, the Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University is expected to take a year

This year, the Academy said, just 198 nominees out of 853 across 83 categories identify as women. Three women are however among the four artists with most nominations: Beyoncé has nine while Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift have six each.

In a difficult period, the Recording Academy has faced accusations of systemic sexism and voting irregularities. A former president, Neil Portnow, was accused of rape by a female artist, an accusation he denied.

The Academy has pledged to double the number of female voters by 2025 and improve the participation of women in the music business.

“While we are hopeful that we will still see benefit from that effort, we haven’t seen enough progress to date,” the chair and interim president and chief executive, Harvey Mason Jr, said in a statement.

Valeisha Butterfield Jones, the Academy’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, said: “Women are key drivers in the economy and across all business and creative sectors in music, globally, yet we reflect 2% of producers and engineers.”

Butterfield Jones added that the Academy was “doubling-down” on its “commitment to play a more active role in providing solutions to increase the number of women working in this space.”

Susan Whitehead, the chair of the Berklee College of Music board of trustees, said: “The music industry is in need of a broad gender study that examines women representation beyond today’s popular music.

“We look forward to working with the Recording Academy to develop strong methodology for this study and to authentically address the lack of women representation in the music industry.”

The college recently issued a report on “obstacles and opportunities” faced by women in the music business.

Next week’s Grammys will honor among others Dolly Parton, who has won nine awards since her first nomination for Just Someone I Used to Know, a duet with Porter Wagoner, 51 years ago.


Edward Helmore in New York

The GuardianTramp

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