It’s new music Friday – something I look forward to every week. This morning, as I cruised my usual playlists between Apple Music and Spotify (North Country on Spotify, Canada’s Country on Apple Music), I got a little suspicious. And so I started counting one by one.
I hate to sound dramatic, but as I VERY slowly added up one by one, songs on these playlists where the artist was female, my stomach started to hurt.
I can recognize when there are discrepancies in an industry due to fewer females in the overall profession. What I can’t seem to wrap my head around is when there isn’t a significant discrepancy, and yet females occupy less than 30% of slots on these playlists.
For many of us who work in Canadian country music, it’s easy to scroll these playlists and see a glaring difference. Several female country artists who are equally talented, with music of equal production quality, with equal visibility seem to be missing among their male counterparts on these playlists.
What Exactly Sparked My Morning Numbers Game?
This morning on Spotify Canada’s North Country playlist, out of 75 songs on the playlist, a mere 18 (24%) included females. This includes collaborations and features.
Popping over to Apple Music, I decided to count again. 112 songs and females occupied or shared 31 slots (27.7%).
Females are slotted in 24 – 27% of positions on Canadian “branded” country playlists.
This week’s radio Top 40 features 8 females. 20% of Top 40 Canadian country radio is represented by females.
Some numbers to think about.
Where Does That Leave Us On This Friday In 2024?
Looking at these numbers is unsettling. There remains a clear gap in female representation all over the map.
It seems we’re happy to play songs about females but aren’t giving much space to the female voice.
If all major players are willing to maintain an outdated status quo, how long will it take for these numbers to slowly creep up?
Where does this change actually start? It’s not DSPs, radio, or festival lineups. So we keep the conversation moving. We keep talking about it. We ask questions. And we hope that the right people are also getting restless. We hope that these numbers start to change.
We hope that female representation becomes something we don’t have to ask for.
Because we shouldn’t have to ask for it.
Country music lover with an unhealthy collection of concert t-shirts. Always looking for up and coming artists. Believer in music's ability to soothe the soul. Connect with me on Instagram and Twitter.