New figures show more women entering songwriting profession

New figures released today (8 March), International Women’s Day 2021, show that despite increases in women entering the profession, gender balance within the professional songwriter and composer community remains heavily skewed towards men.

In 2020, PRS for Music, who represent over 150,000 music creators and publishers, recorded 1,971 women registering as professional songwriters and composers. This represents a 12.3% year-on-year increase compared to 2019, and near twofold increase (79.6%) compared to 2018, when 1,097 women registered.

However, despite this progress, men make up 81.7% of the body’s membership.

Andrea Czapary Martin, Chief Executive, PRS for Music, said: “Celebratory moments in the year like International Women’s Day are an important opportunity to reflect on the progress being made for gender equality around the world. PRS for Music and our industry has a long way to go.” 

While last year was an unprecedented financial year for the entire music industry due to the pandemic, male music creators still earned more money than women – the top 10 of whom generated 70% less income than their male counterparts in 2020.

Of all songwriters and composers who received a royalty in 2020 from their music being streamed, downloaded, broadcast, or performed, only one in six (16.7%) were women, highlighting the ongoing challenges women face as music creators when vying for opportunities for their music to be heard.

PRS for Music is collaborating with Girls I Rate, founded by songwriter Carla Marie Williams, to effect change and create opportunities for young women entering the music industry to succeed.

They will be actively encouraging members and staff to support positive change to address current gender bias and inequality, singing to the tune of this year’s International Women’s Day 2021 theme, #ChooseToChallenge.

Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter and President of the PRS Members’ Council, Michelle Escoffery, said: “We are incredibly proud to welcome almost 2,000 women joining the PRS for Music community as professional songwriters and composers in 2020 [but] , while promising, this number represents just a quarter of our new joiners.

“We continue to work closely with our members and wider music community to inspire the next generation of music creators from all backgrounds, as we all work together towards a more balanced, representative music industry.”

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