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Women Work Here Too

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Women Work Here Too

In light of the recent report – Misogyny in Music, it’s evident that women are underrepresented in the industry compared to men. However, if you’re a woman aspiring to carve your path in the world of music, don’t let this deter you. While there’s still progress to be made in closing the gender gap, comparing historical data reveals a promising trend: we’re moving in the right direction.

Today, let’s keep the spotlight on the positive. We want to introduce you to some phenomenal women working behind the scenes in the music industry- there are loads of them- and there’s always room for more.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the statistics and understanding the challenges women face in the music industry, we’ve provided some links to reports below. But for now, let’s celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary women. May their stories inspire you to take the next step towards pursuing your dreams in this exhilarating, passion-filled industry.

Maya

Event Marketing Manager

Hi! Who are you?

I’m Maya, I’m 24 and have been working within the events department at Hospital Records / Hospitality D&B Events for the past 3 years. 

What is your job role?

Event Marketing Manager 

How did you get into the role?

I have always loved drum & bass and have been going to raves and listening to the genre since I was around 15/16. I knew I wanted to get into the industry but didn’t go to uni so I wanted to gain some experience. I started doing my own D&B nights in my hometown alongside mates mainly when I was 18 and then began doing freelance marketing managing during covid which led me to my role. I love drum and bass, and I love marketing so this role was essentially my dream job. 

What’s the best part of your job?

There are a lot of great parts. The networking part is great, I have met friends for life through working in the industry and it’s great to be able to work alongside so many talented and like-minded people! I think definitely one of the best parts is when the event comes around and I can physically see the campaigns I work on come to life. One notable highlight of my career was probably looking out to our sold-out London festival with over 12,000 ravers seeing them all with smiles on their faces having the time of their lives, knowing I had a part in making that happen. 

Have you faced any female-specific obstacles during your career?

I have encountered instances where expressing my opinions became challenging, with my views sometimes being undermined or challenged. This has been particularly evident when collaborating with agents, managers, and promoters, which is a big part of my role. There are a lot of big characters within the industry, and I do find myself sometimes doubting my ability or lacking confidence when it comes to working alongside them and struggle to get a word in.

But I have been very lucky to have been supported by incredible men throughout my career from the artists I work with and within my company. I have grown into a manager in a short amount of time, have been given opportunities that have helped me excel, and I know that with my peers my opinions are always valued, and I know who to go to in times of need, knowing I’ll always get the support I need. 

Has the industry become more accepting of women over the years?

100%! Don’t get me wrong there is still a lot of work to be done but I have seen a shift over the past couple of years – more diverse lineups, more celebration of talented women with initiatives such as Hospital Records Women In Drum & Bass, EQ50, NOWIE, etc and generally there’s a growing presence of talented women in the industry, and I feel fortunate to work with them daily. In my opinion, more women are increasingly vocal when something is not right or when something needs to change; from challenging promoters booking all-male lineups to supporting labels and promoters with suggestions for female talent. Personally, I am very lucky to work with very talented women in my team, and within the events & music we promote at Hospital Records. 

Roshni

Distribution and Rights Manager

Hi! Who are you?

Hi, I’m Roshni and I work for AEI and in my spare time I like to hoop.

What’s your job role?

I’m the Distribution and Rights Manager at AEI. I deal with all things related to DSPs and Copyright Infringement among other things. Sometimes it’s almost like being a detective, making sure all of the metadata is an exact match and picking up on any issues, such as a few numbers being wrong in a series of numbers we use as codes.

How did you get into the role?

I was first introduced to the world of Copyright and Intellectual property at uni and found it really interesting. I used the knowledge I gained from it in previous jobs and found it really helps with this job.

What’s the best part of your job?

Hands down the team! Having a fab team around to help and support you makes all the difference. Having women at every level of the company is fantastic as well as there’s always a voice who understands and can help with what we go through as women.

Have you faced any female-specific obstacles during your career?

I would say that behaviours are different. I’ve often noticed that when meeting someone (especially for the first time) they tend to shake the hands of a male colleague yet will go in for hug with you. I’ve also had conversations with female colleagues where we’ve found that people tend to be pushier and more aggressive when trying to disagree with us than they would if they were disagreeing with a male member of the team. People think they have more of a chance of getting an upper hand with us and feel they can intimidate us.

Has the industry become more accepting of women over the years?

I think it has, but it still has a long way to go, as proven by the recent studies into the topic. We have a lot of work to do to improve the industry. That change needs to come from our male counterparts as well. We’re always told to speak up and report any issues we experience but in reality, it can be quite frightening to do so

Jess

Senior PR Manager

Hi! Who are you?

I’m Jess, 29, and have been working in PR in the music industry for 6 years.

What is your job role?

Senior PR Manager at Jukebox PR

How did you get into the role?

I got into raving late compared to some, 18 onwards- when I started uni. It was then I decided I wanted to go down the music route in my journalism degree so interned at NME and Mixmag. But I was also interested in the world of PR, particularly in electronic music and after I graduated I did PR internships and freelance work before going full-time and haven’t looked back since.

What’s the best part of your job?

Working with some top clients and having a versatile roster but also having worked on some of my dream clients across D&B and beyond! No day is the same and something new is always around the corner, you never know what exciting project you may have the opportunity to work on next. Networking too, and building long-lasting relationships face to face with your clients whether it’s the artist, manager, label or media plays a great part and is one of the most valuable and exciting parts of the job. Also, seeing the projects you’ve worked on tell the artist’s story with interviews and features as well as supporting clients at their shows, meeting like-minded people like you’re on one big team and seeing your client’s release or a live show that they’ve worked so hard for come to life.

Have you faced any female-specific obstacles during your career?

I am lucky to say I haven’t personally faced any serious female-specific obstacles during my career so far but have unfortunately heard of some other people’s experiences. I am very fortunate that so far the people I have worked for have had zero tolerance and are completely understanding of any kind of sexism within the workplace and also when working with external clients. 

I used to feel apprehensive about sharing my views or suggestions when meeting all-male client teams as if I won’t be taken seriously as I used to get cut off in the past. However I feel now with experience, I will always voice my opinion and won’t be shut down, especially if I think it’s going to add value to whatever I’m working on. I am really glad to say that in my current role at Jukebox, the team is majority female which shows that the PR, marketing and media landscape in the industry has definitely progressed. I have been surrounded by talented and influential women since working full-time in PR, it’s great to see us all smashing it and owning our talent in an industry that overall is still very male-dominated.

Has the industry become more accepting of women over the years?

Yes definitely, slowly but surely. It’s unfortunate to hear on more than one occasion that there is still a gender pay gap within the industry, and I feel this needs to change ASAP. I am extremely lucky to have never worked somewhere that employs this, women work just as hard as men and do the same job so should be paid the exact same. 

There are great festivals and events leading by example with more female headliners, and female lineups in general as well as females curating the lineups. This is super important and has been great to see a shift here, definitely in more recent years.

Personally, I have always felt supported and accepted by my male peers and never felt undervalued due to my gender. There are some men I know who are an incredible example of how to treat people fairly – supporting, encouraging and mentoring women and allowing them to be heard. I really hope more men continue to foster this mindset and attitude towards women who are making their first steps into the industry today!

Amy Jayne

Label Manager

Hi! Who are you?

I’m Amy Jayne and I’m currently based in Brighton. 

What is your job role?

I’ve worked in underground dance for over a decade and currently spin several plates. My main gig is with 1985 Music where I’ve been the Label Manager for 3 years. I also work as a freelance artist and label consultant where I mostly advise self-releasing artists. I work closely with Workforce and his label Must Make Music and have previously worked with Technimatic, S.P.Y, and The North Quarter to name a few. Outside of music releases, I’m also a freelance Tutor at BIMM Brighton focusing on Music Business and Marketing. 

How did you get into the role?

My journey into the music industry was certainly not planned or straightforward. From a young age, I was always surrounded by people with musical talent and loved organising ways of helping them showcase their art – from putting on a charity Battle of the Bands show at the age of 13 to running my own drum & bass event while at university. When I started going out to clubs I became immersed in the community as much as I could, joining forums (this was way before Facebook let alone social media as it is today) and travelling to meet other people who shared the same love for underground dance – whether that be fellow ravers, promoters, club owners, etc. I didn’t realise it at the time but it was networking – which apparently, I’m good at. After years of exit flying for fellow promoters, promoting my own dubstep events, and working as an event photographer in the North East of England I caught the attention of Tony Colman AKA London Elektricity who invited me to move to London to join the Hospital Records team as their Promotions Assistant. That was probably the point where it all changed for me, where I thought about it as a career rather than just things I did for fun or to get me into clubs for free or a bit of extra spending money for nights out. I threw myself into the role and soaked up all the knowledge I could from the amazing team which resulted in me being promoted to Head of the Promotion Department a year later. After that, I continued to try and make myself as multifaceted as possible and attended music conferences across the world – and later, going on to speak at some. Picking up even more knowledge I went on to work with other labels and after a brief freelance period went to work with Shogun Audio as Head of Marketing. You could say as I’ve grown up my role in the music industry has also grown – I’ve gone from promotion and marketing to wanting to understand the release process from start to finish – this finally led me to the Label Manager role with Shogun and the other imprints under their umbrella. Fast forward to the pandemic and everyone and their gran were self-releasing due to the circumstances, but not all creatives understand the business behind it – this is where I saw a gap in the market and started my consultancy business. A year or so into that Alix Perez called me for some advice which resulted in him asking me to manage 1985 Music – I certainly didn’t see that coming but obviously jumped at the chance. 

What’s the best part of your job?

There are so many elements to what I do. Even after being part of hundreds and hundreds of records, I still get excited the eve before a release regardless of whether it’s a single track or an album. Hitting refresh at midnight and seeing the artist’s work pop up on stores will never grow old – and if it does I think I would question my position. Artists put their faith in me to present the best campaign for their art and it’s a lot of responsibility, watching them get the recognition they deserve is so rewarding. 

Another side of it is the live events, watching the reaction from the fans as they see the venue and watch the sets – it’s such a great feeling. We recently sold out the Roundhouse and when the doors opened and fans started coming through the doors it was amazing watching the look on their faces as they looked around such an epic venue. I kept taking myself up to the balcony to have little moments on my own like “I helped do this!” in disbelief. I won’t be forgetting that day anytime soon that’s for sure. 

Don’t get me wrong – these are the fun parts of my job and it isn’t always like that. I’m hardly posting pictures on my Instagram of me knee-deep in admin, emails, and metadata which is a daily occurrence and is a very important part of what I do.

Have you faced any female-specific obstacles during your career?

Working at events as a woman can be tough at times, drum & bass in a male-dominated world where alcohol and drugs are involved and people’s judgement isn’t always at its best. I’ve experienced countless times at events where I’ve been made to feel like I shouldn’t be there, whether that’s people assuming I’m a girlfriend of one of the artists (or trying to be) or people assuming I’m just there to bring them beers when I played a large part in the event happening in the first place. I’ve been told I can’t possibly be a label manager because I’m too young or a girl! 

Another thing that I’ve struggled with over the years is people not taking me seriously when I’ve been a woman in a managerial position and had to have difficult conversations. Then when a male colleague steps in echoing what I said, they instantly back down and accept the proposal or answer they were given in the first place. This isn’t unique to the music industry of course but it is very frustrating. 

Has the industry become more accepting of women over the years?

Things are certainly moving in the right direction but there is still a lot more work to do. I feel that until women feel safe on the dancefloor itself, there is always gonna be unbalance in terms of equality. It’s great to see bookers being more mindful of equality on lineups and more women in higher positions behind the scenes but by some, especially in the live sector they are seen as token acts on bills and discredited. I’ve heard men complain that this artist is getting more bookings than them because they are a woman etc. Sometimes it feels like we can’t win! Predatory behaviour still exists too, it gets called out now more than it ever did but some stories still sadly get brushed under the carpet. Society as a whole is pretty fucked but it’s certainly improving on that front. 

Savannah Simms

Company Director

Hi! Who are you?

Savannah Simms, 28, loves the creative industries!

What’s your job role?

Director- We Are Impact, Artist Developer- MOBO UnSung, Freeland Event Manager and DJ

How did you get into your role?

In my current role as a Freelance Artist Developer for the MOBO Awards, my dedicated commitment to the creative industries is evident. My journey began with serving as a Band Coach and A&R for Mas Records charity, where I meticulously managed recordings, rehearsals, gig bookings, and comprehensive marketing and logistics strategies, contributing to the success of over 90 bands.

My impactful contributions continued as I assumed the role of Director for We Are Impact (formerly Tileyard Impact for Tileyard Studios). Here, I facilitated the employment of 82 individuals and secured work placements for over 100 young people. Spearheading masterclasses and seminars featuring industry professionals from esteemed businesses, I impacted the lives of over 20,000 individuals.

Collaborating with influential entities such as Apple Music, Spitfire Audio, Google, AEI, Ted Baker, Pioneer DJ, and Broadwick Live, I curated bespoke workshops and work experiences, furthering my commitment to fostering creativity within the community. My involvement with schools in the Camden and Islington area, along with collaborations with organizations like Sound Skool, Loud Futures, Girls I Rate, Girl Grind UK, Small Green Shoots, and The Halley, reflects my dedication to nurturing talent at every opportunity.

In the events realm, I’ve showcased my prowess as an Event Producer for Labour’s Summer Reception for two consecutive years. Working alongside prominent figures such as Sir Lenny Henry, Keir Starmer, and Tom Watson, I played multifaceted roles as Event Manager, Technical Stage Manager, Artist Booker, Promoter and DJ Promoter in live music, festivals, and nightlife. Collaborating with prestigious entities like Glastonbury, Abbey Road Studios, PRS Foundation, Royal Albert Hall, and The Great Escape, among others, has enriched my experience and expanded my network.

Beyond events, my versatility shines through. From performing spoken word at charity Galas for the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge to producing podcasts for comedians like Dane Baptiste & Eshaan Akbar, I’ve embraced diverse opportunities. My accomplishments have garnered recognition, featuring me in prominent media outlets such as ITV News, Soho Radio, BBC Radio, and The Guardian.

What’s the best part of your job?

Meeting new people, every day is different! I love the adventure of it all!! 

Have you faced any female-specific obstacles during your career?

Unfortunately sexual harassment, misogyny and belittlement.

I was once told to “not bother continuing in events, as I “would not get far as a woman in drum and bass” by an MC/DJ. 

Remarks have been made on my body as well as inappropriate touching within the workplace. 

Not being taken seriously as management, especially when I was younger, it was a constant battle!

Has the industry become more accepting of women over the years?

I feel there has been more of a change.

The report ‘WOMEN IN CTRL FOLLOW-UP REPORT- LOOKING AT THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN THE BOARDROOM IN THE UK MUSIC INDUSTRY TRADE BODIES’ opened my eyes to how far we have come within the industry within a year alone. Highly recommend you to have a read. There are a lot more women in senior roles, I feel our voice is being heard much more than before. We still have a long way to go but I am hopeful it will be a lot brighter in the future!

Marisa

Specialist Publisher

Hi! Who are you?

Hi, I’m Marisa (also known as Mel, also known as pyxis) and I co-run S2k Music which is a drum and bass specialist publishing company, with my business partner Laura.

What is your job role?

I collect mechanical and performing royalties all over the world for labels and producers in the scene.

How did you get into your role?

I fell into it by accident really, I was looking for work in the music business and I was friends with the people running the company and I got the job, this was in 2001!

What’s the best part of your job?

Drum and bass! I was a huge lover of D&B before I got the job, and this was just a dream role for me, I love being able to get people the money they’re owed, keep my ears to the ground, watch new talent rise and take care of some really big clients too. We just actually past 40k works on our repertoire this week which is massive.

Have you faced any female-specific obstacles during your career?

I honestly haven’t, it’s the opposite, everyone thinks of me as a mum or a sister but that said, I do have some really misogynistic clients who aren’t very polite, I have even had a death threat from a certain male producer and a couple of clients have made us feel very uncomfortable, I wonder if they’d speak to a man that way? Or their mum, or their sister?

Has the industry become more accepting of women over the years?

It really has actually, as a publisher and producer I was on both sides of the coin because people automatically expect women to work in admin, accounts, etc but not as a producer and the biggest win for us is watching our female client base rise and rise in the last few years. When I was in the first few years of working in publishing, we had no female clients and it felt quite miserable if I’m being honest, no offence to the lads but working with other girls feels more cosy and less corporate, signing off emails with love and hugs is really nice to work with, so big shouts to all my female clients and I’m so happy to see it rise and rise!

Misogyny In Music Report

Being Black In The Music Industry Report

Counting The Music Industry Gender Gap Report

Seat At The Table 2024 Report

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