Initiative will help overcome barriers in the music industry, providing international opportunities for support, networking and collaboration
Canada’s National Arts Centre has announced a new initiative to support female-identifying producers in the music industry, and right the gender imbalance in their field. The new Global Network for Female-Identifying Music Producers will provide an opportunity for up to 25 female-identifying studio producers and beatmakers from around the globe to meet, discuss ideas, network and help overcome barriers in the industry together. Sounds Australia is proud to be partnering on this program, spearheaded by First Nations Export Producer Leah Flanagan, who has invited six Australian producers to be involved.
Led by Heather Gibson, the NAC’s Executive Producer of Popular Music and Variety, and developed in partnership with international music industry leaders, the multi-year program will be designed to meet the needs of its participants, develop an international network and support system, and offer opportunities for musical collaborations. The initiative will also serve as a resource for musicians or record labels who are looking to work with a female-identifying producer.
“I am thrilled to invite a cohort of diverse women and female identifying producers to this inaugural virtual event,” Leah Flanagan says. “I curated this small group of producers based from my knowledge of their previous work and this is just the tip of the iceberg of talent that exists across our country and I look forward to learning and discovering more talent who will no doubt be perfect for this program for all future iterations. This is just the beginning.”
Women are drastically underrepresented in music production. While triple j’s annual report intro the representation of women in the Australian music industry has identified the lack of women in many areas, it has never gathered data specifically on producers and engineers. A recent study by the USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative, however, determined that of 500 songs on the Hot 100 Billboard charts between 2012 and 2019, only 2.6% had women producers.
“Engineering can be an isolating line of work, especially since the pandemic,” says Becki Whitton, one of the Australians involved in the program. “Even outside of pandemic conditions, though, there aren’t many opportunities for engineers to connect and share with each other, so it’s been really illuminating and inspiring to hear about studio production practises from engineers all across the globe.”
“The National Arts Centre is committed to creating new opportunities for skills development and professional support in the performing arts,” says NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. “Through this initiative, we hope to make a real difference to female-identifying music producers, and champion accessibility and inclusion in this crucial part of the music industry.”