Dec 01, 2021
Sydney Blu & Rebekah Spearhead Campaign To Increase Female Representation On Record Labels
Highly respected electronic artists Sydney Blu and Rebekah with the support of LP Giobbi, Femme House, Ableton Live, Native Instruments, DJ Minx, and Baby Weight are launching a new initiative, calling on labels to commit to increasing the number of female artists on their roster.
"We don’t receive many demos from women," "not many women produce music," and "we have one girl on our label already." These are common responses received by Sydney Blu, Rebekah and many female producers, from (usually) male A&R reps of dance record labels when asked about their lack of female artists on their label.
For women, trans and non-binary artists who have been participating in a male-dominated community for decades, it is disheartening to see the lack of female visibility on lineups and music festivals time and time again. For women of color and trans women, underrepresentation and discrimination is even more prevalent in the dance industry. However over the last four years, various music initiatives have emerged in attempts to level the playing field. It has been an exciting time to witness the conversation shifting and female artists rising up and raising awareness on the issue.
Sydney Blue says, “I believe in 2021 we need to do better with how we shape, brand, and release music, to support a new generation of female producers and create lasting change and equality. I encourage the following questions to any A&R rep: Are you making your label a welcome space for women? Do you provide feedback to female submissions? Are you proactively seeking female artists who are producing music similar to the sound of your label? This is the basis of the 23by23 campaign.”
Oftentimes, when a label signs one female artist they automatically think that they have done their due diligence. This is a classic example where a label will deny their lack of female representation, but it is no longer good enough reason. It’s time to acknowledge all of the talented women making incredible music by committing to a realistic goal.
The #23by23 campaign is an open call to all record labels in electronic music – regardless of size or stature – to have 23% of their releases from female producers by the end of 2023.
Not only will adding more female artists to a label roster be significant for dance music, it will open up a new audience of female fans, it will encourage promoters to diversify their lineups, and inspire more female artists to continue to work hard and make notable music. The ripple effects of positive change from a diversified label are boundless.
Rebekah says, "If we are wanting a diverse and equal opportunities scene then highlighting an area where this is heavily imbalanced can only be a good thing. Starting out on many labels as the first women producer nine years ago, its seems that only baby steps have been made in this area to have more female representation. It’s also important to note that women of colour are not only underrepresented on dance labels, but also affected the most by discrimination, so this makes it even more imperative for diversity to be a priority. I am fully behind this campaign and hoping to understand more deeply the reasons why this is still the case in 2021 and how things can improve."
DJ Minx adds, “As a female who has spent most of her life in dance music, I strongly believe that there should be far more equitable opportunities for female artists on established labels. The talent is out there. Highlighting female artists was a primary reason for starting my Women on Wax Recordings label. I have always supported causes that help provide greater representation for female and non-binary artists in dance music, especially POC artists, who face an even harder battle for recognition and discovery.”
An ardent feminist and an advocate for gender equality, the forward-thinking, boundary-breaking artist LP Giobbi is also firmly behind the campaign. LP Giobbi is the founder of FEMME HOUSE, an educational platform and 501 business created to address the lack of representation and equity in electronic music by empowering women and non-binary people in the technical areas of music.
LP Giobbi says, “A huge part of it is about visual representation. When you see yourself in a role, you believe you can do that role and so then you do that role. I 100% stand with 23% by 23. The issue in this industry is exactly why Femme House aims to create more equitable opportunities for womxn, trans, non-binary artists. I am pumped that allies are raising their hands and committing to open space on their labels."
Baby Weight adds, “All too often, I feel like the music industry is this echo chamber. People say things should change and be more equitable, but nobody really sticks the landing or makes a hard commitment to the changes we would like to see — especially in situations where femme, non-binary, and gender diverse talent are straight up asked the question, “What can we do better?” I stand by 23x23 because, as a transwoman, this is an action plan which sets the tone; it generates the necessary visibility or diversity to create more opportunities for artists who aren’t cis, het, or male in a way that can be executed with accountability, grace, and focus. It’s just as much a call to action as it is an entry point for those uninitiated to the conversation.”
Making proactive, sustainable changes to a label landscape that has been male dominated for years will resonate with people, especially resonate with female producers. You cannot be what you can not see, and labels have the power to inspire an entirely new generation of female producers and artists.
In October, 1001Tracklists, Select Radio, Whoa! Promo & VIRPP launched their The Future Of Dance campaign – a commitment to provide more exposure and opportunities for womxn, people of color, and underrepresented individuals in dance music. The Future Of Dance demo submissions are open to all womxn and POC producers and winners will be selected monthly to recieve professional mix and mastering, DJ promo, radio shows, and more! November 2021's winner was just announced, and you can submit your demo for December 2021 here: https://virpp.com/contests/235
short link 1001.tl/hl77nb