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Music industry misogyny, sexism and discrimination

Hayleigh pod

Women in Music podcast sits down with inspiring legendary females

Brix Smith, Imogen Heap and Katie Waissel are among the talented trail-blazing all-female guests in the new podcast, Women in Music.

The first episode, which went out last Wednesday, heard from SoundCloud’s Hazel Savage, who founded AI social robot, Musio.

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the 16-episode series features stand-out women in the music industry. It is the third season of music podcast series by Brunel Law School’s Dr Hayleigh Bosher. Her previous two, Whose Song is It Anyway? focus on copyright in the music and creative industries.

“Working with the music industry, I have had the time of my life and made a lot of wonderful friends,” said Dr Bosher. “But I also became acutely aware of the ubiquitous misogyny and sexism in the music industry.”

“Women and gender minorities will find the podcast particularly resonating, but I hope people of all genders will listen,” said Dr Bosher, who lectures in intellectual property at Brunel University London.

With festival line-ups and award nominations only now questioned about the proportion of women on them, Dr Bosher says the series simply touches the surface of the issues the industry has at stake. 

“Music is such a magical and integral part of life and society,” she says. “The music industry has a social responsibility to do far better, to be an example of best practice for inclusivity. It is currently falling short by a mile.”

Guests talk about their experience as a woman or non-binary person in the music industry and open up about the challenges. They speak personally about career problems like confidence or imposter syndrome and share tips and advice on career and life success.

Discrimination and exclusion particular groups face because of their gender, race or neurodiversity are also discussed, before talk turns to tackling solutions. Dr Bosher asks how women and non-binary people can empower themselves and each other to make the music industry more inclusive, and also what the industry needs to do to meet them.­­­

In a firework finish, the finale episode at The House of Commons on March 22 features former Fall legend and badass rockstar Brix Smith; ex X-Factor singer–songwriter Katie Waissel, who since studied law and is on a mission to make the music industry a safer place; and Ivors Academy Ethics Committee chair Charlene Brown, who founded a people intelligence company specialising in investigations, culture, diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I am incredibly grateful to the guests,” said Dr Bosher. “What an honour to speak to these trail blazing performers, songwriters, innovators and women in leadership.  

“It was important that the season had an intersectional feminist approach and that the best range of voices were heard. I hope the series brings more solidarity, community and galvanises changes in the music industry.”

Guests are (in no order):

  1. Hazel Savage, VP Music Intelligence, SoundCloud
  2. Chess Galea, Performer and songwriter
  3. Stephanie Haughton-Campbell, Director of Operations UK Music
  4. Nadia Khan, Chair of AIM and founder of Women in CTRL
  5. Olga FitzRoy, Sound engineer
  6. Cari Quoyseser and Silvia Olivieri, Musixmatch
  7. Helen Choudhury, Music Publishers Association
  8. Sarah Woods, Deputy Chief Executive Help Musicians  
  9. Charisse Beaumont, Black Lives in Music
  10. Naomi Pohl, Musicians Union
  11. Grace Meadows, Music for Dementia
  12. Imogen Heap, Performer and songwriter 
  13. Vick Bain, Founder of the F List
  14. Michelle Escoffery, President of PRS for Music 
  15. Dyvr, non-binary queer performer and activist 
  16. Finale episode: Brix Smith, Katie Waissel and Charlene Brown (panel to be recorded at launch event at House of Commons on 22nd March).