SANTA MONICA, CALIF. (MARCH 5, 2021) — The Recording Academy®, Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University announced today that they have partnered to conduct a study focused on women’s representation spanning all sectors of the music industry. Expanding upon the important research already conducted in this space, this new partnership is one of many industry initiatives addressing women in music—one of the most urgent issues in the industry today. The study’s primary goals are to further establish a baseline analysis on women’s representation working in the American music industry, learn more about the available talent pool of women in music, and set priorities around music creators and aspects of mentorship. The data collected from the study will be utilized to develop and empower the next generation of women music creators by generating actionable items and solutions to help inform the Academy’s diversity, equity and inclusion objectives amongst its membership and the greater music industry. With this partnership, the Academy, Berklee and ASU are committed to increasing the dialogue in this space and bringing further examination and exposure to this topic.
The forthcoming study with Berklee and ASU is not the first initiative put in place by the Recording Academy addressing women’s representation in music. In 2019, the organization launched Women In the Mix, which prompted hundreds of music professionals and organizations to pledge to consider at least two women in the selection process every time a producer or engineer is hired. Also in 2019, the Recording Academy pledged to double the number of women voters by 2025. To date, it has reached 33 percent of that goal by adding 831 new women voting members to its membership.
“Two years ago, we started our Women in the Mix initiative with the primary goal of raising awareness and had an overwhelming initial response, garnering support from more than 650 of the most influential music people, executives and organizations,” said Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO, Harvey Mason jr. “While we are hopeful that we will still see benefit from that effort, we haven’t seen enough progress to date. In order to accelerate our goals, we are excited to partner with the Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University on this study. The results of the research will serve as a guide for much-needed reforms in the industry at-large.”
As a first step in moving forward with the study, the Recording Academy completed an analysis of this year’s GRAMMY® nominees and is publicly reporting gender representation amongst nominees for the first time in the organization’s 63-year history. Among the 853 nominees across all 84 GRAMMY categories, 198 identify as women, representing 23 percent of nominees.
“Women are key drivers in the economy and across all business and creative sectors in music, globally, yet we reflect 2 percent of producers and engineers,” said Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. “It’s our responsibility at the Academy to be the change that we seek and inspire progress within the industry. We recognize the important work that our industry colleagues have done in this area and are doubling-down on our commitment to play a more active role in providing solutions to increase the number of women working in this space. We look forward to banding together with others in the industry to work toward closing the gender gap and driving meaningful change.”
“As the world’s leading institution for the study of music, Berklee is continually finding ways to foster and encourage diversity in the music community,” said Susan Whitehead, Chair of Berklee College of Music’s Board of Trustees. “The music industry is in need of a broad gender study that examines women representation beyond today’s popular music in order to help accurately identify key areas for growth and improvement. 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.”
This new effort will build upon the baseline constructed by Berklee’s 2019 study, “Women in the U.S. Music Industry: Obstacles And Opportunities,” authored by Erin Barra, Director of Popular Music at Arizona State University and Executive Director of Beats By Girlz; Sharon Kramer, Dean of Institutional Research and Assessment at Berklee College of Music; and Becky Prior, Associate Director of Institutional Research at Berklee College of Music. Barra will lead the new study, which is expected to be completed and released in early 2022.
“Being able to continue this work in partnership with such powerful allies signals the importance and immediate need for this type of research and the stories the data will tell. We need to make visible and tangible the obstacles and opportunities we face as women navigating an industry that wasn’t built by us or for us,” remarks Barra. “Being able to bring the lens of inclusivity, innovation, and the depth of research experience that Arizona State is built upon to the continuation of this work excites me to no end.”
Barra will be working alongside Lisa M. Anderson, Associate Professor in the School of Social Transformation and Mako Fitts Ward, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Transformation.
On Monday, March 8, 2021, the Recording Academy will kick off GRAMMY Week with the inaugural Women in the Mix event that will spotlight women producers and engineers while encouraging and facilitating mentorship between established women in the industry and aspiring women music professionals.
For more information about the Recording Academy’s diversity, equity & inclusion efforts, please visit: https://www.grammy.com/recording-academy/inclusion.