Irish women rocking the global music industry
Five Irish women who are upsetting the balance of a traditionally male-dominated industry
marketing manager, Domino Recording Co. Based in London
I look after the roll-out of artist campaigns across all international territories, with a concentration on mainland Europe, Australia and Japan. I liaise with our label partners in each territory and oversee their marketing strategies, budgets, release plans and targets, discuss touring possibilities and so on. I’m in the job just over a year – I moved over from Dublin in early 2012, where I’d been PR manager for [Pias Ireland] for three years.
I’m loving my 30s; my career is going in the right direction, I have more confidence, I give less of a damn what people think, and more of a damn about the important stuff. That happy-in-your-own-skin feeling is coming through at last, which was maybe lacking somewhat in my 20s.
Over the past few years, my thoughts have changed somewhat about the nature of the male-dominated music industry. In earlier years, I would have said no, there wasn’t resistance to me just because I’m female – the PR industry in Ireland, where I started out, was, to my eyes, predominately female. My superiors were female, and the woman who first drew me towards PR, Ellen Gunning, of the Irish Academy, was helpful and encouraging. The world I saw around me was full of these strong, vibrant women, and that was the world I was trying to conquer.
In my experience, it’s higher up the ladder that women start to become aware of the patriarchal aspect of the industry, the “boys’ club” element, the far-too-small sprinkling of women in top management, the lack of women in A&R. I’ve definitely come across a few misogynists, and have somewhat figured out how to navigate them. I’m starting to think about these things, and how they should change. I think I was very naive about the industry in my earlier years, or perhaps just too busy to think about it properly.
Freelance production manager, touring
and artist liaison assistant working on events and festivals. Based in Ireland but works predominantly in UK and Europe
When I am working abroad, I am mainly on the road with a band or artist. I look after band and crew hospitality, including accommodation, flight and crew visa requirements, crew and band logistics including payroll, budgeting and advance sheets. I’ve been doing the job for five years.
How did I start out? It was at the 2006 Electric Picnic when I first found a love for festivals and seeing live gigs; I thought to myself, I could do this. I approached Dave Allen, then booker for the then Temple Bar Music Centre (now Button Factory), for some work experience. When my week’s work experience was over, they offered me an evening job in the box office doing tickets and guest list, and it was here I met one of my mentors, Paddy McPoland. At the time he was tour manager for Sinéad O’Connor. I was very determined and a little brazen, I guess, and asked him could I do some work experience with him. He agreed.
As a woman and mother, I believe I bring a unique quality to looking after bands. If I can persuade my 12-year-old son to do something, then Liam Gallagher is a piece of cake! In terms of touring with a band, when you are doing long stints on the road, it helps to have a female as a mediator. Also, I was told that when dealing with music and festival personnel abroad, they found my Irish accent and charm very trusting, and therefore it was easier to get things done.