One of the dirty little secrets of the Netlabel / Creative Commons music scene is that it’s a man’s world. I’m not saying that the community of men who inhabit the Creative Commons Music world are misogynistic or prejudice toward women musicians in some way, but the exclusion of women has happened.

This post is not going to examine why the exclusion occured, rather that it has and how we can erase it.

From Tara Rodgers’ Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound:

Another artist remarked that her entree into the world of electronic music felt as if she had landed on a planet where something had happened to make all the women disappear.

There are obviously plenty of women musicians in the world, but somehow the Creative Commons Music world has missed them. For instance, at Acts of Silence, I have reviewed over 250 different albums over the last 18 months and have only reviewed about a dozen works by women. Of that dozen, a good portion of these were written right after I realized the lack of women in my blog.

Sadly, it’s not an anomaly, but somewhat pervasive through the community. Of the 25 musicians who participated in Marc Weidenbaum’s Instagr/am/bient release, only one was a woman. Of the 42 musicians who appeared in Future Sequence’s Sequence 1, I count about 4 women musicians.  I’m giving two examples here, but really I could have thrown a dart at any blog or netlabel and come up with the same results.

But don’t be taking any glee with the examples I’ve mentioned. We are all guilty, each one of us reading this post. If you run a netlabel, look at your roster of artsists. How many women appear on it? Probably, just a handful. If you are a listener, take a scroll through your iPod and see how many women musicians you listen to. The women musicians are missing and we are all to blame.

As a community we have two choices: ignore the issue or take steps to correct this. Here are a few of my recommendations.

  1. Listener: Seek out women musicians, download and listen to their work, and, comment on their website or archive.org that you like their work.
  2. Blogger: Search out releases by women musicians and review them. I will be attempting to review at least one album a week by women for my blog which means at the end of the year, I would have reviewed work by 52 women musicians instead of the paltry dozen in my first 18 months.
  3. Netlabel: Release work by women. If you don’t have any queued up, go look for them on Soundcloud, last.fm and other netlabels. Be a curator, not just a publisher. If you release an album a month, shoot for 3 maybe 4 albums by women.

We have a long way to go till we correct this situation. And maybe my suggestions don’t go deep enough, but hopefully in 2012, we as a community can start celebrating the work of women whether it is by fan, blogger or netlabel curator.

6 thoughts on “Netlabels Need Women

  1. Women are not necessarily under-represented, but there is unquestionably a community overemphasis on electronic music — a genre that has always been predominatly male. There are plenty of labels/netlabels that represent women, but very often they are classical pianists, guitarits or jazz artists, so they don’t show up on the aggregators that pledged early allegiance to Phlow Magazine and its analogs. If women appear absent, it is merely because the tastes of the community are agressively narrow…

  2. Unlike in other domains, in which there is an indubitable problem with discrimination, I don’t see that it is the case here.The fact that only 10 % of your reviews/others’ releases have female contributions, could be caused by only 10 % of all free music artists being female. Why should women then be forcefully overrepresented? You could make the same case for a music genre, say Death Metal. Should you write an unproportional amount of reviews about Death Metal releases to reach any arbitrary quota?

    That said, I would highly appreciate more women to release CC music. Good example: Morgan Sadler – Go On

  3. Pingback: Netlabels Still Need Women | Acts of Silence

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