There are certain subsets of the music industry that are starting to recognize that they have a bias against women in both opportunity and representation. Unfortunately, the movement towards rectifying that has been slow. So it’s heartening to see when organizations step up and consciously choose to place women on the forefront in defiance of industry norms. We’ve written about the FYF Fest booking top-billed women artists and now there’s a new policy at the Stockholm Music Tech Festival that requires the lineups to be at least 50% women, across every piece of the event.
What does the 50% women policy entail?
This is a step forward for a music industry that often runs anemic percentages in the gender gap. According to The New York Times, from 2012 to 2017, of the top selling artists, 22.4% were women.
It’s even worse in the less prominent roles, such as songwriters coming in at only 12.3% and producers at less than 2%. This is not an issue of women being less talented, as should be obvious. Instead, it’s an industry systemically choosing to give opportunities to men over equally or more qualified women.
The festival is going beyond just giving women opportunity. They are welcoming the transgender community as well with open arms.
Further, none of this ends on the stage; it’s across everything that they do, including the hack camps, the labs, networking areas, everything. Part of the festival’s purpose is not just music, but technology. Over the three day festival, in addition to the music, people from all over the world will meet give chats, labs, and more on AI, neuroscience, VR, gaming, blockchain, accessibility, fashion tech, design, and music performance.
Each one of these events will be billed with women equal in number to men, which not only has implications for opportunity and representation in music but also in STEM fields. The festival states that one of the goals for this new policy is, “The best outcome for our 50% women policy is that this comes to be the standard for all events, workplaces, and contexts — that it becomes utterly unremarkable.” There is a measurable impact that women’s representation in STEM fields can help encourage girls to pursue STEM education and careers themselves.
Some of the highlighted events at the Music Tech Fest this year include:
- A 24-hour creative lab hosted by NASA scientist and musical instrument designer Kelly Snook.
- Five-time Grammy-nominated artist, Imogen Heap, will be leading a lab on the ongoing development of the Creative Passport.
- Dr. Danica Kragicwill will lead a chat on AI and Robotics as part of the invitation-only #MTFLabs.
- And finally, Swedish recording artist Robyn, will be hosting unique technology and hacking workshops for girls.
If there’s any way you can get to the Music Tech Fest, it’s going to be innovative in absolutely every way. Tickets are still available for the September festival, and be sure to check it out even if you can’t go for ways to support their mission.