Billy Momo Says: Being female in the music industry (by Birgitta Haller)
Billy Momo #9, Birgitta Haller discusses her experience as a female in the music industry.
I’ve been working with music since the late 80’s. I started my career at CBS Records (now Sony Music), made some turns: a record distributor, commercial radio and web business and ending up at V2 Records, Richard Branson’s offshoot when he left Virgin Records.
Promotion and PR have been my profession since I started my own company in 2006. I’ve worked with books, films, and conferences but music has always been my passion.
Billy Momo made me take the step into management. Bands and artists have popped the question on several occasions, but I never felt the urge to really take on an act full time. In January 2015 that changed. Hearing the Momo music and – especially – seeing this unique band live made me turn the company in a new direction. Management.
Every week I receive newsletters from music industry all around the world. Industry news about appointments, meetings, conferences and the latest buzz in music. And every time I read this news I react on how few the women are. Sweden is fairly equal, but we’re still struggling with low numbers of women in higher positions. We’re getting there, but it’s a slow process. 2012 the percentage share of men and women at decision-making positions within the music industry (Managing Directors, General Managers and decision makers around artists, as A&R’s, agents and managers) were 80/20. Three years later, 2015, the figures were 78/22. As I said: baby steps…
The US seem not to have come as far. Every newsletter with pictures from both national and international conferences shows guys of various ages, arms around the shoulders and tapping each other’s backs. A lot of guys. Almost exclusively guys. And when glancing at the 100 most influential music people in the US music biz it sadly shows very, very few women.
The promotion/PR branch of the music business is filled with women. The management side of the industry not so much. This part of the business is still very much dominated by men. Which makes people react when they meet a band consisting of seven men, with a female manager. I’ve received comments like ”So, you’re the manager? Which band members is your boyfriend?”. Or: ”Are you the mother to one of them?”. When trying to inform the same person that this is what I do for a living, it continues. ”Ah, so you are a REAL manager?”. Show me any man in the same position who would get comments like that.
I am a woman. I work hard. I’m good at what I do. Enough said.
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