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

  4. Pingback: Tangents: Action Painting, Oscar 2012, Nano-Ear, ….

  5. Pingback: Womentronic: Selective Herstory of Electronic Music | Leil-Zahra Mortada

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