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Women Can Do it!: Making Waves in the Music Industry

Women in Music Industry 1The music industry is always changing and evolving; the women involved in the music world are seek-ing a greater change and overall acceptance. While women have come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century, the amount of women involved in music compared to men is nowhere near the same--and it’s not because women have no interest.

Though there are a number of people that feel as though there is an equal playing ground for every-one. The industry, though it may seem like many other ‘businesses’ in the sense that it is or is not equal, provides society with the opportunity to see musicians under a different light.

Marc Muller, adjunct professor in the music department and professional song writer and musician who has played with big acts in the industry from Rush to Taylor and Shania Twain, said explained women in the industry, painting them as role models to look up to.

Muller said, “Ever since Bessie Smith sang out and signed with Columbia Records in the 20s as a black woman in segregated America to Lady Gaga leaping into the Super Bowl Halftime show with Woody Guthrie’s protest song, women have earned their plave in a male dominated business without ques-tion.” 

At Monmouth University, there are many students who spend a lot of their time over at Lauren K. Woods Theatre learning music and skills to prepare them for the industry.

Most of the time, you’ll see women practicing dance, theatre, or singing, while men strum away on guitars and bang on the drums. It’s as if women aren’t allowed to enter the man world of ‘real’ hard rock.

Kelli Misenheimer, a sophomore music industry student, explained how she grew up and wanted to pursue music: people thought she was crazy, irresponsible, and everyone discouraged her from learn-ing an instrument.

Taylor Coigne, a sophomore music industry student, talked about her experiences as a bassist looking for members to play with.

Coigne shared, “I remember I asked to be in a band with other guys and was told ‘sorry, but we don’t really want a girl member. We want to steer clear of becoming a novelty act.’”

She continued, “It’s really insulting how I can spend so much time and effort on music and yet some people will still be so quick to reduce me to a ‘novelty’ instead of, a musician.”

Muller also weighed in on this topic saying, “Artists of all eras have become role models to women of all ages, showing that not only a stron woman’d voice, but a strong woman’d actions can have a huge impact on America, musically, politically and socially.”

At the university, the numbers in the Music and Theatre Arts Department faculty can show an imbal-ance between men and women. There are only eight female faculty members out of 22 total in the department. Rashida Cruz, an adjunct professor of music and theatre arts, is the only female who teaches music industry courses.

How can it be that there are so many men running the business of music industry and women are the minority? The disregard and disrespect of women in the industry and how society lets it happen eve-ryday is the answer.

There are age old double standards and ‘societal norms’ that continue to discourage women from be-ing involved in music, the business aspect particularly.

Another statistic from the Department of Music and Theatre is that of the graduating classes of 2003 through 2013, there were only 126 women of about 300 total graduates from the department; most of these women who graduated were music education and theatre students.

Women in the music industry are still fewer than men. In an article from the Huffington Post, the au-thor writes about the low statistics of women in high paying positions within music and industry and the lack of raises and opportunities for women compared to those of men.

Women in Music Industry 2The author said, “Statistics consistently show that women in music earn less than their male counter-parts.” Hardworking women doing just as well as (maybe even better than) men are still fighting their way to simply being respected in this industry.

Meredith Graves from the band Perfect Pussy has said, “You’re never considered ‘real,’ you’ll never meet their idea of what a real musician or real music fan should be, because the standard is male.”

An article from mic.com continues to explain how female musicians are constantly used as a sexualized image or are tested for their knowledge of music. Men would never be put through this because they have dominated the industry for so long.

Gabi Soroka, a sophomore music industry student, shared a statistic on her radio show “Blue Hawk Live” last semester that was, “From 1997-2007, male vocalists accounted for 61.6% of radio airplay, whereas female vocalists accounted for only 34.3% of airplay.”

Soroka also commented, “It’s crazy how successful Taylor Swift’s 1989 album was and all the work she put into it and people can still sit there and say that she isn’t responsible for her own music, which is absolutely false.”

A recent graduate of Monmouth University, Brittany Cannarozzi, has moved down to Nashville to begin her musical journey.

Cannarozzi shared, “In the past, whether it be in New York City or Los Angeles, I had been ostracized for being a woman in this field of work.”

Cannarozzi continued, “Men didn’t seem to have any kind of desire to write with me, blaming their disinterest on a ‘busy schedule’ or their inability to focus on a creative relationship with me, rather than a romantic one.”

“I had felt that disconnect, that disrespect before, but not here, or at least, not yet. Here, everyone wants to write, and apparently, it doesn’t matter who you are,” Cannarozzi added.

“What I’m learning, day by day, is that the people living here are not put off by female creatives in the industry. Little by little, it feels like the music world is changing. And that has to be the coolest thing ever.” Cannarozzi concluded.

Muller added, “ With many of today’s top artists being women, I see no change in this pattern, and look forward to a country where all avenues are as equal to all in America, regardless of gender, reli-gion or nationality.”

Though it may be risky, the music industry is sure to be a whirlwind.

PHOTO COURTESY of Emily Minieri.

PHOTO COURTESY of Anthony Vito Cosentino and Eva Michaylin

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu