Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why women don’t rule OK at music companies

The rarest sight in the music business? A female boss at a major record label or live music company.

Fri, Mar 8, 2013, 10:00

   

The rarest sight in the music business? A female boss at a major record label or live music company. It’s one of those things which people rarely talk about or even notice, but it seems to be how these companies operate. Female artists rule OK – but when it comes to the business of music, it’s a far, far different matter.

The fact that, with very few exceptions such as Annette Donnelly at Sony Music Ireland, women just don’t get the big gigs in the music business is something which has struck this writer many times over the years. Females may dominate the PR and marketing classes and there are some excellent A&R women, but there’s very little promotion to the upper echelons and the opportunity to take the real decisions involving strategy and development. Perhaps the powers-that-be are afraid that women won’t make the same mistakes the industry has been making for the last 15 years?

It’s not for want of talent. If I was putting a band together tomorrow (and please note that I’m not), my choice of manager, agent, front-of-house engineer, tour manager and lawyer would all be female, because the best ones I’ve come across at those jobs just happen to be women. But when it comes to actively promoting talent to run the shop, the big music companies run a mile.

Perhaps this is why so many women end up leaving to run their own management companies, PR agencies or consultancies. They know they’re good at the job and they’re certainly not going to stick around forever while they see incompetent triumphs of mediocrity (or the boss’s son) advance at their expense.

It’s a question I’d love to hear posed to one of those who run these companies for a living. Perhaps, there are valid reasons for this, but I wouldn’t count on those lads being able to articulate them.

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