The organization that hands out the Grammy Awards announced an industry-wide push Friday for the hiring of female producers and engineers across all music genres.
According to a 2018 USC Annenberg study, only 2 percent of music producers and 3 percent of engineers/mixers across popular music are women.
As part of the push, the Recording Academy’s task force on diversity and inclusion asks that at least two women are identified and therefore considered as part of the selection process every time a music producer or engineer is hired.
The group is also urging working producers to agree to take issues of gender diversity within music’s technical fields into account when making hiring and mentoring decisions.
“Expanding opportunities for female producers and engineers is not only right and fair, but it also benefits music and artists by broadening the talent pool to best match the needs of each project,” the academy stated. “Similarly, established female engineers and producers will inspire more young women and girls to pursue technical careers in the music industry and lessen the gender gap.”
To assist in the effort, the Recording Academy has launched a web page — recordingacademy.com/womeninthemix — dedicated to helping in the process of identifying working female producers and engineers. The site enables potential employers to quickly access relevant resources, including tools provided by She Is The Music and Women’s Audio Mission, organizations that help connect decision-makers with female producers and engineers.
“The music industry is at a crossroads and progress won’t happen on its own,” said Tina Tchen, chair of the Recording Academy’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, who previously served as chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“There is no magic bullet to shift a status quo that has existed for centuries, but we see this initiative as an important step,” she said. “We know that change requires real commitment to intentional hiring and to providing young women with consistent training and mentorship. We aren’t here to tell anyone who to hire, but we have seen repeatedly that the simple act of making sure diverse candidates are always seen and considered makes it more likely that women will get the opportunities they previously have been denied. It’s one step everyone can take that could go a long way to catalyzing important change that is overdue in this industry.”
More than 200 producers, labels, agencies, management companies and artists, including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj, have signed on to the initiative, the academy said.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career to surround myself with powerful female figures,” Perry said. “I’m proud to have a female engineer run my own Unsub Studios. I pledge to support this great initiative to provide even more opportunity to talented female producers and engineers.”
The Recording Academy’s task force was established in March 2018 to examine issues of inclusion and diversity within the organization and the music community.