Survey Report on women’s wellbeing in the live music industry WILM May 2019
The aim of the survey was to collect data about the well-being of women working behind the scenes in the music industry in production, logistics and technique.
Our prior thesis was the belief that a high number of women, especially young women, experience loss of confidence in themselves due to the fact that they are underrepresented in the music industry.
It was also the belief that there is a need for a supportive community for women, especially those who are newcomers in the music industry.
All women who have worked or are working in the live music industry, with a main focus on those currently working in the live music industry.
All women, who have studied or are studying a trade in the live music industry, no matter if they finished or not.
The target group was reached mainly through social media, where the survey was shared broadly within the music industry.
Who are the respondents?
A total number of 187 women from 26 different countries answered the survey.
The respondents are predominantly situated in Europe, but other parts of the world were also represented like, for instance, Chile, Japan, USA.
Their job function in the live music industry varies from sound and light technicians, over stage and tour managers to drivers, bandcare, merch and stagehands, and can therefore be said to represent a broad section of women behind the stages.
The biggest part of the respondents (45%) are between 25-34 years old, followed by the age group between 35-44 years old (28%).
40% of the respondents have worked in the live music industry for more than 10 years.
There is almost a 50/50 % distribution of respondents who have a degree in the music industry and not.
Well-being at work
44% answered yes to the question Do you think that you in general feel less confident than your male colleagues?
Some of the comments to this question suggest that this is a problem in the beginning of the career, and gets better with time.
Here for instance a comment from a woman from the Netherlands “I feel equally confident now, but did not start that way”.
This also shows in the results, where 46% of the No-sayers have worked more than 10 years in the music industry and it must be assumed that they are now settled in and feel more confident among their male colleagues.
To the question Did you ever feel that you had more to live up to than your male colleagues, while learning your trade in live music? A noticeable majority of 82% answered yes.
Another question like “Did you ever feel that you put more pressure on yourself than your male colleagues did while learning your trade in live music?” had a majority of yes sayers (76%).
This points in the same direction that there is a disquieting pressure coming from the inside among women during their first years in the trade.
“Do you feel that you are or have been more afraid of making mistakes than your male colleagues?” 70% answered yes and one of the comments underlined the issue, “The industry forgives male mistakes and highlights female ones” (a woman from the UK).
43% of the respondents answered that they had felt a lack of confidence to a degree that made them consider quitting the music industry.
A Finnish woman comments, “The frustration of having to “fight” or work extra hard, to prove to male colleagues one’s own capabilities, and having to work against the assumption that I, as a female, don’t know what I’m doing, becomes at times, too much. And you start questioning if it has to be so hard and if it’s really worth it.”
41% answered that they had felt that they didn’t belong to the music industry because they are women. Asked about if the respondents considered the fact that the industry has a preponderance, 91% answered yes and many of the comments express wonder why we would ask such a question. – The condition is so evident that only very few of the respondents have not considered it.
“I am the only woman working in the tech/stage department at my current job, including freelancers and stage hands. It shows every day. Just seeing someone’s surprised face when they see it’s a woman on the job (not necessarily negative!) During my two years at this venue, we have had 1 female touring sound tech with a foreign band and 1 female tech under the mentorship of the sound tech for a known Danish artist.” (A female crew member from Denmark)
89% of the respondents are interested in further training/workshops, and 62% answered that it would make a positive difference for them, if the training would be for women by women.
65% answered that it would make a positive difference to them if they had a female mentor.
In the last question WILM’s Safe Learning Environment program (SLE) is explained to the respondents, and they are then asked if they think there is a need for this.
91% answered yes.
(read more about SLE here: https://womeninlivemusic.eu/organisation/)
The survey supports our thesis, that women behind the scenes in the live music industry, especially young women, feel a lack of confidence compared to their male colleagues and experience gender imbalance in the music industry on a daily basis.
It also highly supports our belief that there is a need for an organisation like Women In Live Music, which aims to offer women in the industry a supportive and motivating community as well as female role models.
Please email us at email@example.com for further info
The WILM team