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Studies Show that Country Music Really Does Exclude Women

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Women in country music have certainly campaigned for their voices to be heard. However up until this point, their voices and perspectives – particularly those of more mature female artists and songwriters – are not being heard in Music City.

Studies Show Women are Being Excluded

In an article published by NPR, the University of South California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released a study on the gender gap in country music.

There has been a huge success that musicians like Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Kacey Musgraves achieved in recent years. But, it seems that most of Nashville have gone deaf with all these awards.

studies, Como La Flor, Kacey Musgraves, Kacey, all-star performances
via Kacey Musgraves’ Official Facebook Page

For example, Musgraves had won the 2019 Grammy for the Album of the Year for Golden Hour, as well as the Best Country Album and the Best Country Solo. Yet, she has been given a hard pass in the Entertainer of the Year category for this year’s ACM’s.

studies, top five, news, miranda Lamber
Photo Credits: Miranda Lambert/Official Facebook Home Page

Lambert is one of the most decorated artists of the ACM awards, and yet, she has failed to snag either an Entertainment of the Year Award or the Artist of the Decade Award.

Studies show that only 16 percent of country artists are female, and only 12 percent of country songwriters are women. The team also notes that when these women find success, they achieve it when they are in their younger years.

“Not one of the top-performing women was over the age of 40. While all but one of country’s top-performing men had reached or exceeded that age.”

Studies also show that the average age of top female artist is 29; while for me, the average is 42.

studies
via the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Official Twitter Account

“One of the reasons we did the gender in country music research is that there is so much fear in this space. People are terrified to speak. Let’s all raise our voices so @iHeartRadio & @CumulusMedia will play female artists and give them the visibility their talent deserves.”

One giant elephant in the room is how radio is a massive driver for country music audiences, and how little women are played on the radio airwaves. And, being ignored by the radio is a significant barrier to having a hit song. It’s the foundation of most country music.

It is still saddening to see that no radio outlets pledge to work with the Annenberg team – and is essentially forcing women to reinvent the marketing world for their industry to find an audience.

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