The music industry has long perpetuated an image of a boy’s club. A white, older boy’s club. And when the biz meets at conferences, it’s typically the lads who get to play the rock stars on stage.
But does the perception truly connect with reality? A young, female music-tech writer went in search for the answers and the results are pretty compelling.
Writing for Medium, the 21-year-old music-tech writer Cherie Hu crunched the numbers across 13 industry summits, including Bigsound, and analysed the dataset of 1,644 total speakers.
Her conclusion: music conferences exacerbate real-world gender imbalances. Hu found 73% of speakers at these conferences are male, and the percentage rises among “C-Suite executive speakers” (CEOs, COOs, CMOs), with men making up 81% of the total (Bigsound it must be noted does not get singled out for special attention, negative or otherwise).
In fact, the Brisbane conference is known as an active contributor to the pursuit of gender parity as it doesn’t re-use speakers often, offering more opportunity to women.
In her analysis, entitled ‘Unbalancing Act: How Conferences Perpetuate The Music Industry’s Gender Parity Crisis,’ Hu cross references speakers to observe the type of lineup recycling we typically see with music festival bills and she goes deeper still with an investigation into whether certain types of music companies had a worse gender imbalance at confabs than others.