Songwriting, Music Production are still ‘FOR MEN ONLY’: USC Annenberg Study
Despite more than a decade of industry promises, Billboard Top 100 songwriters and producers remain an almost exclusively male and white club, according to the newest edition of the USC Annenberg inclusion study.
Just 14% of songwriters on the Billboard 2022 year-end chart were women, about the same as in 2021. Over the last 11 years, an average of only 12.8% of songwriters on the chart have been women.
The percentage of female producers on the year-end chart last year was just 3.4%, and female production credits were just 2.8% across a sample of 1,700 songs. The ratio of men to women producers on 800 popular songs was 34 to 1.
Only 5.2% of all the songs evaluated featuring a woman producer, women of color made up just 26% or 13 of the 50 women producers.
There was some growth in women performers on the chart.
30% of artists on the Billboard Hot 100 2022 Year-End Chart were women, up from 2021’s 23.3%, This marks the first year-over-year increase in women’s chart participation in the study’s 11-year history.
“There is good news for women artists this year,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder, and director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there is still much work to be done before we can say that women have equal opportunity in the music industry.”
Empty Industry Promises
From Billboard and radio charts to Grammy nominations and awards, the music industry has announced dozens of initiatives and promised change since the first USC Annenberg inclusion study 11 years ago.
“This industry solution has not proven effective,” commented Dr. Smith. “Until women and men artists hire women songwriters and producers, the numbers will not move. It’s more than just allowing an artist to credit themselves on a song, it’s about identifying talent and hiring women in these roles. That’s the only way that we will see change occur.”