USC Annenberg’s Dr. Stacy Smith’s groundbreaking research has put quantifiable evidence behind the problems we all know exist—her think tank, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, has exposed Hollywood’s inequality, and its most recent project came after the music industry.
The world’s interest has been piqued, and so has the interest of She Is the Music (SITM), a female-led nonprofit focused on increasing women’s’ representation in the music industry, founded by music-industry powerhouses Alicia Keys, Jody Gerson, Sam Kirby Yoh & Ann Mincieli. In the last year, the amount of women working as songwriters has grown 2.8% and Grammy nominations for women have increased 4.1%, thanks to the efforts of initiatives like She Is The Music and their work empowering and training young women about to enter the music industry.
Only 20% of all recording artists are women.
Spoiler alert: the numbers just get worse from here.
14.4% of songwriters are women.
56% of songs have no female contribution whatsoever.
On January 21st, SITM announced a partnership with Annenberg Inclusion Initiative through appointing Dr. Smith to their board, at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Their newest campaign, SITM12, introduces powerful steps to increase the amount women creating music. 19 influential organizations, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, and Warner Music Group have partnered with the campaign to fund 12 all-female songwriting camps, artist events, and a mentorship program.
At the campaign announcement, Alicia Keys and Jody Gerson shared a little about why this cause means so much to them. As a young female artist, Keys “had to learn to command [her] space” among rooms full of men telling her which direction to pursue. She shared that “there are a lot of things and ideas we carry with us that belong to other people, that we need to unlearn.” As a young girl, these ideas were pushed onto her and she wants to encourage girls trying to create music to be true to themselves and create the art they want to create.
Gerson has learned through her time managing artists and as CEO of Universal Music Publishing, that “it’s amazing what you can learn from being vulnerable with each other” and with She Is The Music, “the idea of community is really important and feels really good.” By pursuing this vulnerability, they believe their initiative can make a lasting impact on the music industry.
On the partnership with Dr. Smith, Gerson revealed that “her data” propelled them to “jump into action.” The power of data is real – with these numbers fueling the fight, real progress and change can soon be at our fingertips.