New US report finds number of female songwriters and producers in popular music is incredibly low

The annual University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative report studied the amount of female-identifying performers, songwriters and producers in Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart

Women in studio

Image: Hinterhaus Productions / Getty

A new US report has found that the number of female-identifying songwriters and producers in popular music remains incredibly low, and that overall women remain “underrepresented and stereotyped.”

The annual University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative report studies the Billboard year-end Hot 100 chart which lists the most commercially successful songs of the year.

As reported by The Guardian, it shows that while the percentage of women represented in the chart jumped by 28.7 per cent last year to a total of 30 per cent, only 14 per cent of songwriters represented on the chart were women, which has decreased from 2021 by 14.3 per cent.

Of the 232 producers represented on the year-end chart, only 3.4 per cent were women, and one producer was non-binary. Since the beginning of the reporting period for the Annenberg report – which began in 2012 – the amount of female songwriters represented in the Billboard year-end chart has never been higher than 14.4 per cent, which occurred in 2019.

The peak amount of female producers represented on the chart also landed in 2019 when 5 per cent of producers on the year-end list were women. “There is good news for women artists this year,” Dr Stacy L Smith, who led the report, said. “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.”

She added, “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.”


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