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She's Got The Look

Photo of Piper Kaplan, Pearl Harbor.

Piper Kaplan, Pearl Harbor.

I sing, play bass, program the drums, and come up with the keyboard parts. My sister is 15, so I pretty much call the shots as far as business goes.


"My debut album was released in 2009, recorded at Abbey Road Studios and The Dairy Brixton. I raised £12.5k through fans money by pioneering and setting up 'Pick an Orange Project' in 2008. Each song was called an 'orange' and each 'orange' had 10 'segments'. I sold these segments for £100 each and in under 5 months had raised £12.5k towards the album. I co-wrote every track on the album and I co-produced the album and arranged the tracks. I sat in on mixing also. I hand picked the musicians. I book all my gigs, I act as my own manager. I set up my own label TLC Records, to release the album on. I often use my middle name and maiden name to make up Victoria Powling, Head of TLC Records, when making business calls. I do my own press plugging using this alias and have had success getting airplay and reviews globally. So, I make all the decisions basically! I'm hoping people will come on board along the way so I can concentrate on writing and performing more, but having said that I enjoy driving my career and think I will find it hard to release control!!!! "
Absolutely. Music is a mans world. On the tour bus, in the studio, in the business meeting; its all about the boys. I find it hard as a young, blonde girl to often get taken seriously especially in meetings and in the studio. On my album I had to fight to get musicians that were working for me to take my seriously at first and they kept looking to my co-producer Kevan. Eventually you get taken seriously but you have to prove yourself for a lot longer than a man would. The same is said for meetings with industry types. I have to prove myself to be intelligent and business minded. That is not taken for granted, even looking at my past with setting up the label, setting up Pick an Orange Project, raising £12.5k and co-writing and co-producing the album. The impression I get is that they think all that has been worded well to look like I actually drove all that, instead of assuming that I actually did all that...by myself!! I think if you want to survive in the music industry as a woman you have to accept this is the way it is and be prepared to work hard and longer than the men often do to proove yourself.

Photo of Marianne Dissard

Marianne Dissard

I write my own lyrics. I didn't produce my first album, Joey Burns of Calexico did, but for my second, I am now the producer, and well surrounded. I do all my business and marketing decisions and manage myself. I even booked many a tour and act as my own label for North America and the rest of the world besides Europe. Now, I mostly coordinate between my different distributors and licensed labels, booking agents in Europe...

Jen O'Connor, Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, We are Jeneric

"In We are Jeneric I am a general partner with Eric. The two of us write and record all of the music, produce the albums, book the shows, keep the websites up to date. As the co-owner of a small business I'm in charge of everything from submitting our sales tax to the state, to coaching Eric on his vocal techniques, to filling CD and tshirt orders.

In Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned I am one out of eight in the Corporation. We incorporated last year for tax and legal purposes. In addition to bringing songwriting ideas to the band and performing live, Eric and I also host regular writing and recording sessions at our Farmhouse, where the eight of us hole up for weekends at a time. I'm also the band's Secretary -keeping track of meeting minutes, merchandise, as well as tax and legal information.

I've always gotten bored easily, and being involved in so many different aspects of the business keeps me excited, interested, and never bored."

Photo of Lily Chapin, The Chapin Sisters

Lily Chapin, The Chapin Sisters

My sister Abigail and I trade off singing leads and we share the writing. We've worked with producers in the studio (Thom Monahan produced our first record, with Mike daley, and working with them, and an earlier producer, Michael Fitzpatrick, I was more inclined to take their direction). Our latest record Abigail and I co-produced, andwe were much more active and involved with the decision -making. I can be very obsessive in the studio and nitpicky, but I love the process of recording. We've always made our own business decisions, as a cooperative venture, we put things to a vote, discuss, its definitely a democracy. Recently we started working with a new manager, and he's helping us with the details as theings getbusier for us and more complicated!

Photo of Zoe Keating

Zoe Keating

"everything, I'm a one-""man"" band: composing, recording, engineering, business...all of it.

when I play with other arists, I'm just a rock cellist...but I always take responsibility for the technical engineering aspects of my tone."
"I'm very tech-minded and know how to make an amplified or recorded cello sound good. However, most sound engineers (who tend to be men) will assume off the bat that I don't know anything and I have to work a little harder to gain their respect and let them know that I know what I'm doing. So, I've made it my thing to be super professional and really on top of my technical knowledge (i.e. live sound amplification, acoustics, computer tech, etc). This seems to be a common problem with other female musicians I've met...the need to continually prove yourself. I also feel like I can't make mistakes.

Also, I remember when I was touring with Rasputina (a rock band consisting of 2 female cellists and a drummer) we would have the male member of the band advance the shows with promoters and venues and then settle afterwards...because not only would things run smoother when we arrived at the venue, we would also be less likely to be swindled. On the flip side, I played on a tour with a tour manager who saw being female as a definite benefit. She claimed that unzipping her (rather tight) sweater and leaning forward, as she and the promoter settled the show...helped the band walk out of the venue with more money.

Another anecdote...the first band I ever played with in 1996 was an all girl power rock group called Van Gogh's Daughter. They were signed to Hollywood Records, and I joined them as a cellist in their final years. They complained that the record company wanted to ""doll them up"" and be more sexy, but they refused and it caused quite a bit of friction with the label who accused them of being ""difficult"". They were dropped in 1997.

Lastly.... It does seem with men its less about looks and, as a result, they get a little more time. I know so many female musicians who feel like if they have to look perpetually young and pretty in order to keep their career going...or they have to do it all before they hit the might-as-well-be-dead age of 30. "

Photo of Sue Lott, Luder

Sue Lott, Luder

We are all on equal footing. Nobody fights for a greater percentage of the credit. We all have something to bring to every song. There is no 'head songwriter'. Additionally, we have very talented and experienced friends in the studio side of the business and had a fantastic experience recording Luder's debut release, Sonoluminescence. Small Stone Records does a lot of marketing for our release, as any label should, but we get a lot of support from my business partner and significant other in the realm of marketing, in our web presence, in the ever-increasingly important use of social media. We also have a decent fan base from our old bands who have come to follow our latest endeavor closely. There’s a lot of history here.

Photo of Sandra Velasquez, Pistolera

Sandra Velasquez, Pistolera

I am the founder, leader, songwriter, musical director, guitarist, singer, and cheerleader of the band. My husband is our producer and recording engineer. I used to be our booking agent and manager as well,but when I got pregnant I got people to take over those positions so I wouldn't have to wear all the hats.


i am the boss of the band, the studio, the production and even in my business!
"no, i never had big plans and was surprised when i found out that (some) people even liked it. so it went on and on. my advice is: just DO IT! don't wait for big record companies, booking agencies or whatever. nowadays it's so easy to put out your stuff and book shows for yourself. just use the internet and spread the word. be courageous and adventurous and you will win! play play play!!! <3"

Photo of Carolyn Wonderland

Carolyn Wonderland

"I have been given both wonderful and horrible advice by people meaning well in this industry. The worst advice I am happy I did not take was to stop playing guitar, have plastic surgery and receive a large check. While I have never been offered that amount of money since, I am happy to report that I can sleep at night and play the music that moves me on whatever instrument I choose. The advice I would give is simple: Remember that the music IS the journey and the reward. Be realistic, live cheap, share. This business is brutal in order to weed out those who are not in it for life."

Sara Bell, Regina Hexaphone, Shark Quest

When I was younger, in the mid-eighties, the chasm was fairly vast, but it seems that it has closed up quite a bit over the years, though young women who play today do report some of the same kinds of challenges. The most obvious difference is that there continues to be a disproportionate number of men who play music compared to women. I think some of the differences that fall under an emotional category can be attributed to gendered socialized behaviors--like being intimidated in music stores (where in lots of places men still treat you as if you are waiting for your boyfriend than as a customer, especially if you are young). I don't see it as often as I used to, but the music business, especially as you lean toward the harder end of the spectrum, has a very old-boy code of ethics and behaviors that are (or were) very sexist. This kind of thing causes women, especially if they are not incredibly confident to begin with, to retreat from asserting their opinions in the studio and in business environments where they should feel free to have an equal voice. HOWEVER, I must say that in my personal experience I had nothing but encouragement and support from the male musicians who befriended me and played in bands with me. This was in the post-punk underground music scene of Raleigh and Chapel Hill so it was a pretty progressive atmosphere to grow up in. I had a lot of confidence issues (or lack of) when I was younger that severely affected how much I asserted myself in the business world of music. That's not something you can attribute to women in general, of course, but it was certainly affected by growing up in the atmosphere of second wave feminism in America.

Photo of Christina Marrs, Asylum Street Spankers

Christina Marrs, Asylum Street Spankers

"I guess it's the same with most careers; women bear children, are largely responsible for child-rearing, and have to find a way to make their careers coexist alongside having a family.I have three children, and have had to tour into my ninth month of pregnancy, as well as taking an infant on the road with me until he was weaned from the breast. Obviously, these are things a male musician would never have to worry about. Some people are truly shocked to discover that I have a job that takes me away from my children 150 days a year. I know male musicians with families, and I doubt they get the same reaction; people might assume they miss their children or their spouse when they're gone, but people tend to view a mother's separation from her children as unnatural. For me, it's a good trade off. I'm home more than I'm gone, and when I'm home I'm basically a stay at home mom. I do miss out on some things; first words, first steps, first day of school. But I probably get to spend more quality time with my kids than some women who work 8 to 5 and get to see their kids for an hour a day and on weekends. One thing that seems to happen consistently is the door person at a venue mistaking my ""I'm with the band."" to mean that I'm someone's girlfriend, not someone actually IN the band. This usually just cracks me up. It's pretty apparent once we're on stage who's in charge."

Kelly Crisp, The Rosebuds

"No. My experience may not be typical, but I have surrounded myself with a team of really talented men (mostly men) who view me as an equal and who are open to my creativity. My creativity, though I do not see it as necessarily feminine, must be informed by my femininity in some ways, but the main story isn't man/woman in our creative life, it is nurture/nurture. We've been able to create a nest within which our business can thrive and it is more about caring for the project by pushing one another's ideas forward to their logical (or weird) conclusions. In the business world, I've never, in all of my meetings or interactions, felt my being a woman created an obstacle, though I don't think that's your question. In reality, I think those in my world respond to ideas and I'm bright/intelligent enough so men (music business is a man's world) appreciate and admire that in me to a degree that maybe neutralizes our obvious sex differences.

Having said all that, I occasionally find myself dressing for the show in front of men, sharing hotel rooms with men, brushing my teeth with a couple of men hanging around brushing their teeth. My femininity is apparent, as is their masculinity, but we all acknowledge the situation for what it is--probably not a conventional lifestyle but it works for us."
"I've always studied women (and men) that I respect and I try to identify what it is that makes them successful. It is usually ethics and their approach to business that I notice first. I do want my band to be wildly successful, but it has to be our own way. To be respectable in business is more important to me (than bling or whatever) and so I aspire to those goals.

My advice is to be active and present in all aspects of the creative and business life of the band. If you are making truly valuable contributions, you will remain happy. And your gender should not become an issue so long as you do not make it (or use it) as one. It is easier to be a successful woman in this business than outsiders might think because, at least in my band, we are all working together so feverishly for better, more intense creative expression in our project that we forget to see our differences. Or we burn them for fuel."

Mel Watson

"I had boundless support from my music teacher, and my parents. My father said ""it's all about the marketing and management....."" I didn't take his advice, but he was right. i was interested in making my own way, and finding my own path.

Be you. This is the most valuable advice I would give any one starting out. I want to hear what you have to say, not what you think I want to hear. :)"

Sara Hickman

I just finished producing an album of nine women. I love to produce, and have been doing that since 1989. As a label owner, I'm in charge of writing, creating, producing, arranging, getting rehearsals structured and back up bands together; I'm in charge of art direction for not only my cds, my other packaging I help art direct through Stingray, a design company I co-founded with four other designers/photographers. I set up mastering, replication, and distribution, whether digital or hard product. I also teach songwriting/creativity classes at festivals and am signed with International Speakers Bureau for public speaking engagements. I oversee contracts, whether I'm licensing (to Martha Stewart, film/tv, American Idol) and I am involved in writing/singing on regional/national commercials, from Wal-Mart, Daisy Sour Cream (I sang on their commercials for 8 years) to Southwest Airlines, etc. I also have served on the board of The Recording Academy and helped with talking about industry related issues in schools, at SXSW and through creative consultanting for other musicians with questions about how the industry works, from copyrighting to publishing to lawyers and management.

Shannon Stephens

I've gotten plenty of advice, mostly bad. All of the bad advice I've received can be summed up in the statement, "You must kill your own soul to achieve success." The good advice has come from my own gut. I refuse to kill my soul, to harm myself, to harm my child or my marriage, to achieve success. I refuse to quit everything else that gives me hope and enjoyment. Music is a part of my life because it's a part of me, but it's not the only part of me. I do it for the joy of it, and if success comes from that, I will be glad about it. If not, I'm free to continue making music or try something new. To a woman musician starting out, I would say: Make sure you're taking voice lessons from someone good, and singing every day. Work hard to stay in tune. Practice your instrument at least a half hour a day (this will sound lazy to some). Warm up before shows!!! Learn to be a savvy businesswoman as well as an accomplished artist. And don't harm yourself for success. See yourself as a whole person. Do music not because you need validation from "The Industry", but because you love it.

Miranda Lee Richards

I have received so much advice, but some of the best advice had to do with learning to do what was right for me. It's important to know somethings about the business so you can make educated decisions, but even then, you will have to be in touch with yourself to know when a situation feels right, when someone has your best interest at heart, or when an opportunity feels exciting or just the opposite. Very rarely do you feel good about things that turn out bad. I have felt cautious about things that ended up turning out great, but I've never felt bad about something that turned out good, does that make sense?

Photo of Lou Hickey, Codeine Velvet Club

Lou Hickey, Codeine Velvet Club

"Yes, I do think there is a difference. But I also think it depends which area of music you are in and what kind of people you are working with. As I have said, often my ideas get ignored, then a few months later one of then men will bring it up saying its their idea. When my band signed, I realized that everyone would approach my band mate Jon with ideas for approval and not myself. I am constantly having to ask for information. I feel like I have to prove my intelligence a little and work a lot harder than a lot of men I know in the business."
"I was just told it was hard, and that I would need to toughen up. You have to put yourself out there and give it everything you've got. It is hard being a female working in the music business. To someone starting out, I would say, keep your head down, work hard, and if people choose not to see your intelligence and talent, then more fool them. Sometimes playing up on their pre-conceptions of women is the very thing that can outsmart them the most. You can use it to your advantage. "

Photo of Lisa Shelley, Let's Pet

Lisa Shelley, Let's Pet

"Band- Keeping the band productive. Scheduling practices. Socializing with other bands. Finding natural sounds and recording them to use in the studio. Studio- Keeping the band productive. Having a good ear and listening. Business- Getting shows. Keeping up myspace and facebook. "

Photo of Meaghan Smith

Meaghan Smith

I am still at the stage of my career where I need to be an opening act. It can be more challenging for a woman in terms of exposure. It's not hard for a male to get an opening slot for a male or female performer, but a female performer usually has to try to get an opening slot with a male performer. So there's more competition for female performers. I also hear this comment a lot; "I don't usually like female singers but you're great... " and so on and so forth. It's so frustrating to know that a lot of people (generally male) won't listen to certain music just because it's performed by a female. I also noticed that when both my husband and I enter a venue to play a show, he is approached first. It seems to be assumed that he's the point person. I'm not usually offended by this, but I do find it interesting. Even though "Meaghan Smith" is on the bill.My manager is also ALWAYS referred to as "he", if it's not know that she is a woman. Again, it's assumed my manager would be male. I recently did a broadcast that involved me and four other artists being showcased with an orchestra. The other artists were male and after the first dress rehearsal, I was told to "sex up" my number because that was what people would be expecting from "the girl on the show". I rarely run into such ignorance, but it's shocking to know that it still exists in some places.

Jill King

"1. For any musician male or female: You must have a higher reason and a lasting passion for doing music, one that goes above and beyond basic goal-setting, or you will not last.

2. Try to keep emotions in the music and out of the business and continually keep good lines of communication open with those you're working with. Don't assume people can read your mind, and listen carefully to what others have to say.

3. Good paper makes good business."

Jill Barber

I am a band leader of 5 other (male) side players, I work (and rely heavily on) my team of people which consists of a manager, a label team, a producer, an agent, publicists, but I have a major hand in ALL decisions regarding my career.
I had an older brother that encouraged me from the get-go. I had lots of people give me plenty of advice, but my approach has always been trial and error. I started early, and moved slowly through the business. I feel that the business aspect of music has always come pretty naturally to me. I've always worked hard, but never had to try very hard to understand the ins and outs of the business. Sometimes I worry about young musicians who attend music conferences to "learn the ropes." I'd rather see them get out there and just do it their own way and learn as they go.

Meredith Sheldon, Family of the Year

"Absolutely. Some are good differences, some are sort of a drag... for instance, any time I have ever walked into a music store (maybe excluding the one in my home town where there are some very dear people!), even if I make it clear that I know what I want, the sales guys will almost always direct their sales pitch at my boyfriend, or if I am alone, will talk to me like a total amateur. And don't get me wrong, I don't know anything extraordinary, but sometimes its painfully obvious that they assume I a) don't really play seriously, or b) just have no idea what i'm doing. But that said, what the hell? Pick your battles. On the good side, there are ways that being a woman is really helpful, like in our band, we sort of figured out that it is more efficient after shows for the girls to go straight to the merch table to meet and talk with fans, while the guys load out the gear. It seems to be easier for people to approach a couple gals than a bunch of guys, and we're generally better at the pr side of the business. "

Photo of Ginger Brooks Takahashi, MEN

Ginger Brooks Takahashi, MEN

"Totally. Name one female producer. One! Because of the inherent sexism and huge gender gap in the music industry we hire and collaborate with female musicians whenever we can"

Photo of Cariad Harmon

Cariad Harmon

"I'm the singer/songwriter, booking agent, marketing director, band leader, manager, tour coordinator, I do it all!

I did work very closely with two producers in the studio on my recent record and we developed a great working relationship. Having three opinions to work with was fantastic as when we had a question about a decision, generally speaking two people would agree and convince the third that they were on the right track. It was a very smooth and collaborative process and a great way to work. I work very closely with one of the producers still, we co-write a lot of music together and he's been instrumental in helping me to create and define a live sound that compliments the record.

I do find the business side of the industry exhausting and am still learning how to be an artist and a business woman without one of the elements suffering. It's a tough industry with so much competition and you have to develop a very thick skin in order to make it work, you have to send out 100 emails for every 5 you receive back, you can never allow yourself to be discouraged by anyone's lack of enthusiasm about what you do, you have to sell yourself, convince people that your music is better than the next record they'll hear and stay on top of all of the social media that we use now. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace are all incredible tools for an independent musician but it's very easy to feel overwhelmed by everything an indie artist is expected to do and I find all of that external noise very counter productive to creativity and self expression.

The music itself is only a part of the process with more and more pressure put on artists to prove themselves. Unless you get very lucky, a manager, booker or label will not consider you unless you have a viable fan base and solid marketing opportunities already in place. It can be very hard to keep the motivation and faith while working full time, paying bills and taking care of the creative side of things. You certainly have to love what you do because it's a hard road to travel and I think most of us would much rather be in the studio, or at home writing a song than glued to a blackberry answering emails and updating a twitter feed. "

Photo of Laura Burhenn, The Mynabirds

Laura Burhenn, The Mynabirds

My mom, who's got her MBA and doesn't work as a musician (except to accompany her gospel choir on Sunday mornings), has always encouraged me to be as creative and outspoken as I want to be -- but to do it with an eye for the business side of things. I think that's the best advice I've gotten. It's important to do your art. But if you want to make a living doing it, it's important to read the fine print, to know what the contracts say that you're signing, to think about investment and return. You're your own best advocate and protector, so don't be afraid to stand up for yourself -- or to say "no" when it's not in your best interest. And, as a woman, don't be afraid to put on some lipstick (literal or figurative) and flaunt what you've got. The world will love you for it.

Arum Rae, White Dress

"Yes, being a woman and a musician differs from being a man. I think it's probably more fun for a woman than it is for a man. Most the time we always have help carrying our gear, we create greater mystery because we do not look like what we play so it's fun surprising an unexpected (new) audience of men and women.

But I have also encountered COUNTLESS men on the business side who are very unprofessional and have bad motives... from producers to management to top songwriters in Nashville who have shown up with promises and compliments and then eventually tried to get me in bed. I had one producer bring me all the way out to Austin from Georgia to record with him for TWO months and then dropped the project once he realized I wasn't going to sleep/be with him. But now that I know how to spot a dishonest situation it has saved me a lot of heartache and precious time!"

Photo of Jonatha Brooke

Jonatha Brooke

When a deejay in seattle asked for the bra i was wearing on the cover of an album in exchange for adding my single to the playlist, it was pretty clear what the difference can be. On the other hand, I have always maintained creative control over my work, even in the early days, I had enough good people around me advising me not to give up my publishing, and I had enough of a sense of myself not to pursue some imaginary brass ring at all costs.I am lucky to have the respect of my peers, so no one looks sideways in the studio when I'm coming up with parts or running a session....it's my own demons i have to keep in check!

Kate McGarry

I think men just tend to DO more, produce more, as artists. They are less conflicted about moving forward in the business then women in general. It seems to be simpler for them.

Jessica Larrabee, She Keeps Bees

"Yes, I think so, but it should be getting better... dear GAD i hope so! when i was in my bands in college very often we would load in and someone would direct the comment about the merch table to me. like there was no way i could be in the band. ALSO when at instrument/music stores... STILL to this DAY questions will not be directed at me... only to my father or my boyfriend ... anyone but the female. they also very often will not give me any credit for actually knowing what the hell i'm talking about. IT DRIVES ME INSANE! this past tour in Europe over the winter, i could name 4 maybe 5 shows where we saw other female musicians.. we played about 30 shows."

Chandra Watson, The Watson Twins

"Yes, the music industry is definitely a male dominated field. I think women have made a lot of progress in the past few years which is very exciting but it's not always easy to be ""heard.""

I spent a lot of years trying to voice my ideas and opinions to male producers and engineers in the studio... most of the time the reaction was that they were uninterested. I think because I didn't know as much technically and on top of that being a woman, it was tough to earn their respect. Now that my sister and I are the main artists and it is our project, we have sought out people that respect us and treat us equally in the studio and on stage."

Vanessa Silberman aka Diamonds Under Fire

Navigating through the music industry can be daunting & a lot of it is trial & error. I was lucky & fortunate enough to have met my music manager early on & the honest advice she has given me about the business has been very valuable. Having people around you who don't sugar coat things & who support your creativity in the right way is important. Working with people who nurture your art but don't kiss your butt for you makes you a better artist. My advice to any female musicians & artists first starting out is to try & develop your own opinion/style/sound. Write as many songs as you can & tour. Don't follow trends, be yourself, respect yourself & let the music do most of the talking.

Ginger Leigh

I can't blanket answer this one. There are many men and women who do the same things in the business, but from my experience I see most of my female counterparts managing and juggling all aspects, whereas the majority of my male counterparts have management and agents who handle most things for them. Maybe that's the case of women being able to multi-task better than men? Maybe it's because we are care-givers and men are typically used to being cared for? I am not a black and white person, so it's difficult to say that there is ABSOLUTELY a difference, but I do see this happen more often than not. Another example is that often when I go to play a venue for the first time, the person setting up the stage almost always expects that I will want to sit during my set. Is is that they expect female musicians to be girly and gentle? Do they expect guys to ""rock out"" and females to sit ladylike? I am not sure, but I certainly like to rock out!

A very evident moment was back in the mid-to-late 90's when the Lilith Fair craze was happening. I was very excited one evening when a representative from a major record label was coming to see me perform. Afterward she expressed how much she LOVED my music, but that the label wasn't signing anymore "female musicians"....The market, I assume, was over-saturated with female music. What strikes me as interesting is that there is rock, pop, country, hip-hop....and then "female music." So "male music" is just simply music at large, while "female music" is its own category. Or at least is was at that time. I have to admit that sometimes it can be an advantage, such that there might be a special female music hour on a radio show, highlighting those of us who happen to be female. On the other hand, if you are, for example, on tour and requesting an interview on that same station on, say, Thursday, you can sometimes get the response "Oh, sorry, our 'female' radio show is on Wednesday." This isn't always the case, but it does happen!

Though many things have changed, it's still a "man's" industry, so if you're a female wanting to be successful in music, you have more pressure to look much better and much younger than the men. You MUST be the entire package; pretty enough, sound good, dress right, show your flat belly! ha ha...

Alyse Black

Yes. Women ask for less money, so they get paid less. Men are assumed to have more draw then women, and it might be actually true, though I don't like to think so.

Corrina Rachel, Corrina's Dreamland Band

Yes-- people seem more skeptical of females in a band-leading and booking role. I feel that I am not taken seriously and sometimes that I'm being judged by my appearance and even hair color (I'm a tall blonde). There have been a few moments in particular that I've felt disadvantaged by being a woman. It also seems that my requests (esp. regarding payment) are not taken as seriously as my male friends in the same situations.

Sarah Brown

"Big question! There weren't many female bass players when I started out, so people tended to remember me, which is a bonus. That's still the case, but there are many more women on bass now, which is a great trend. Early on I decided that I had to have enough musical ability to leave no doubt that I was serious. I wanted to dispense with the ""isn't that cute"" response from the downbeat, using good musicianship to eclipse patronizing attitudes I knew I'd encounter. Still, one has to develop a sense of humor to deal with ignorant remarks. ""Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?"" Plenty of them, such as not getting hired for tours because wives or girl friends of the band members felt threatened, or because bringing me on tour would cost more if I got a single hotel room instead of rooming with a guy. Or club owners claiming that they can't hire acts fronted by women because they won't draw a crowd - and then seeing that in some markets this may be true. On the plus side - a big plus - women who see me play, especially when there are other women on stage or an all-women band, make a point of telling me they feel inspired by what I do."

Deborah Holland, The Refugees

"yes record companies sign fewer women and it's still an industry dominated by men the moment that was made clear was when an executive at Chrysalis Records said they wouldn't sign me because they already had Pat Benatar and someone going into a record store would not buy 2 records by a woman."

Brigitte London

Absolutely. I always felt it, but during the recording process of my second album, i grew up fast, and realized that you have to almost shout for the respect. And it is a boys club still to this day, but it is not as bad as it once was. the hard part is having all men work for you, you have to be very careful in how you deal with them because most of them resent it (talking about the sidemen here). Other Male artists, though, can be wonderful, and respect what you go through (because they know how hard it is) for the most part are very supportive and respectful. Booking is also a tricky thing. I actually brought in a Male agent to help book this year, as being a man he gets in doors quicker. I hate this fact and would rather not say its true, but it is and due to economic situations this year, I need the bookings, and am grateful for his contributions.

Phanie Diaz, Girl In A Coma

Besides playing drums,I run all of our social networks,replay to fanmail and work with our manager on business with the band.

Photo of Anne McCue

Anne McCue

Yes, definitely. It's still a male orientated business. Guys in the business just like guy musicians and male artists best. I don't think they really take women seriously as musicians. I'm not talking about male musicians here (whom I love), but men running the music business. They still think women should just sing. The only female guitarist they've ever 'let in' to the mainstream is Bonnie Raitt but there are plenty of us out there. Check out Guitar Player Reader's Poll where they had a Best Female Guitarist Category and many responses were: 'no such thing'. Needless to say Bonnie Raitt won that one every year as she was the only one they had heard of...

Susan Osborn

We may have a slightly different perspective on sound at times. Have had to really work to get technical skill. Learned mush from my male friends.

Lisa Sanders

"Not so much now with the advent of the independent artist. Women can write their own path. A Beautiful thing. In the main stream it is so obvious to me that we are different by the way they market women for show more than the music. Sad. When I got started. Wasn't that long ago. I'm a late bloomer. I never heard of a man on my record label being told he was too fat or too old. Or not good looking enough.when I got my record deal in 1996. That was the case for me. by then I was almost 40 had only been performing for about a two years when I got signed. It was very apparent to me when I got a distribution deal with MCA and the $65,000 advance was doled out to me at my record label's discretion while the men on my label with the same deal was given their money to do with what they saw fit.( and when I could not get a decent tour on my own after being denied by my record label radio money for a world wide tour as and opener for a major act they cut off my money all together. mind you I was a single mother with two young daughters.)I lost everything including our place to live. Was very apparent to me that men and women were treated differently. Much better now!"

Julie Christensen

Yes, unfortunately I do. For better and worse. I remember a moment after I'd been dropped from one major label when my manager said, "Well, they all went home from the weekly meeting at Warner with your demo, but came back and decided that they already had Julee Cruise and Jane Siberry, and didn't need another female artist like that now." (Among all the other men they have on board!) Also, I had a manager say that my being a woman was detrimental (in the year of Lilith Fair), and that because I wasn't 16 and black, the industry wasn't tooled up for me. Of course, I terminated that relationship.

Jenifer Jackson

"all along, i have been the minority, usually surrounded by lots of male musicians, club owners, record label owners, PR people. when i was 20, i lived and worked in italy as a singer, and had many instances where male co-workers would come on to me.

later, in NYC, signed to a label, i often felt i was very emotionally effected by the business men's actions/decisions/ways of communicating with me. perhaps if i were a man, they would not have tried to control my decisions?"

Jan Bell and The Maybelles

"During the Pro Choice Rally's in NYC in the mid 90's I grew tired of hearing women define themselves as a 'woman' artist etc. I stopped prefixing musician by 'woman/female' just because the artists are women. No one says ' And next an All male band! ' I try and keep a sense of humor about it all - sometimes I joke about producing a 'Man's Music Fest! All male bands on stage all day!"" Also, as a part time sound engineer the world does not automatically assume I don't know what I'm doing anymore - the way it did twenty years ago."

Marilyn Harris

Sexism is alive and well everywhere, no matter how much the media scream that "you can have it all" to women. Men have a built-in support system and a tradition of excluding women from better positions in orchestras, bands, studio recordings and just "hanging out", which is where a lot of decisions are made concerning employment. Many older bandleaders are just more comfortable hiring other men and don't even consider a woman to fill a chair, even if she's a superior player to a man. It's still generally accepted thought that women have other (higher) priorities with their family than their careers, and that they don't "need" the paycheck the way a man might (to support his family).

Lisa Otey

"In the beginning, I think I played harder to try to fit in with the men. They never treated me differently as a musician because I was a woman. However, if I didn't play as well as they did, that's another story. As a woman, it can be hard to fit in with men who might look at you as a sexual object. I was 17 when I started and frequently had to deflect their flirtations. even now sometimes. I earned their respect, however, and have felt like an equal for most of my professional life.

In my genre of jazz and blues, I have found an inequality- not among musicians, but with booking agents and festival and concert programmers. They usually want a white guy with a guitar in the US and a black guy with guitar or a black woman singer in Europe. In the US, you might see one woman piano player on a festival, or one woman period, but a dozen white guys with guitars. In Europe, they see jazz and blues as Black American music. They want it to be authentic so someone like me will be on a side stage, never on a main stage. Even so, I have felt very successful in my career and see more doors opening every day.

I have also never waited for someone to discover me or to create opportunities for me. I realized early on that it cost the same money to produce a short demo and shop it to different record companies as it did to produce your own full length CD and sell it. When I realized I didn't fit with concert programmers, enough to sustain myself, I started producing my own concerts as well. I have felt successful doing these things on my own. The audiences have been very receptive as well."

Photo of Amanda Monaco

Amanda Monaco

I think there are definitely differences in gender when it comes to music; however, I have felt it more in the straight-ahead jazz scene than in the avant-garde jazz scene. For some reason, straight-ahead jazz still has a vibe of being a "boys club" when it comes to female instrumentalists, almost as if to imply that in that world, only vocalists are female. I have had more straight ahead male jazz musicians make inappropriate gestures towards me than avant-garde. It also might have something to do with the fact that I play guitar, where the ratio of male guitarists to female guitarists is quite high, and misogynist comments still work their way into the guitar magazines on a regular basis.

Lisa Sokolov

Absolutely. There is a certain boy club involved in the music business. There is also the gender difference that has to do with an attitude and comfort around self promotion that I don't think many of the woman musicians I know have to the same degree that their male counterparts have. I think there is also a cultural bias around fear of the fierce expressive feminine power.

Submitted Anonymously

Absolutely. As in any field of endeavor, there is a societal structure in place that favors men over women. For example, when I was a student, the majority of piano students were women, and yet when it came to forging a career, it seems to be a majority of men who succeed. I have also experienced situations (e.g. music festivals) where I was either talked down to by younger male students or my views were dismissed or not taken seriously.

Catherine Dupuis

Yes - in both the big band and small group formats, jazz traditionally requires a pretty tough demeanor, especially where business is concerned. This isn't something that comes to women easily or automatically. But we develop it over time. There's a glass ceiling however, and it's hard to penetrate that, unless you go for glam, which isn't guaranteed to work either.

Hailey Wojcik

I know a lot of people are tired of hearing about this, but I definitely think it (obviously) needs to be addressed. While I think the situation is getting better, there are still many subtle (and not-so-subtle) reminders of inequity--little comments people make all the time, etc. You don't see many female guitarists or drummers featured in mainstream Guitar and Drum magazines. And growing up in a small town I never even KNEW any girls in rock bands; it was always guys getting up there and playing classic rock covers while their girlfriends took pictures or clapped or something. There is a really amazing book called Cinderella's Big Score about this subject, and namely the issue of women's discrimination even in the "progressive" indie scene.

Regina Harris Baiocchi

Since I've never been a man, I don't know. Women tend to be paid less than men are paid for the same job and receive less respect and accolades for the same--or greater--accomplishments.

Judy Niemack

It's different for every individual. Perhaps it is easier in some ways as a woman because most of the people in power positions in the industry are men, who basically want to impress, protect or exploit women rather than compete with them. This can be an initial advantage, but it always has to be followed up with genuine talent and skill. The disadvantages are in dealing with occasional assumptions that you won't be as skilled as a man, or that if you try to lead a group or take control that you're not feminine, but that old stuff comes up in any job. In a big band, there is a bus-full of men, and one or two women, and there you'll see the difference in the jokes, card-playing, and drinking habits, but fellow musicians in jazz respect the most important thing: musical skill.

Cassandra Douglas

Yes!!! Being a woman specifically a soprano voice is extremely competitive. The men don't nearly have to work as hard simply because their men. Males don't have to be fabulous in every area of singing in order to gain lead roles in operas simply because there are fewer men to compete with. I will say that the Tenors have a more difficult time as the tenor parts are coveted and widely appreciated almost as much as the Soprano voice. However, I cannot count the number of times I've heard an awful tenor singing in a lead role. I can't help but wonder how they managed to get the part. A female singer would never be hired if she didn't sing her languages with perfect diction with full understanding of the style, or have beautiful phrasing, or even just stage presence. Whereas, I've seen men perform with inadequately and they think they can get away with certain things because their charismatic. I'll close with a something a wonderful Baritone colleague of mine said to me after we found out that I didn't get cast for an opera that he did get cast for, "Don't feel bad Cassandra, you know they only cast me because I'm a man."

Photo of Michelle Trovato

Michelle Trovato

Being a soprano, there are at least twice as many of us as any other voice type. There are not nearly as many mezzo-sopranos, and very few truly high-quality male singers (by comparison with the number of sopranos). This makes the business exceedingly more competitive.

Jennifer Peterson, operamission

"Yes. Very different. Being in a leadership position, I feel I am treated quite differently than than my male counterparts. People often expect me to be accommodating, and then when they realize I have strong leadership capabilities, they are sometimes confused or tend behave as if they are uncomfortable.

Also as a female musician it seems to be quite difficult to command equal fees to my male counterparts."

Joan Crowe, Jesters of Jive

Yes, there are a lot fewer female leaders

Photo of Karen P. Thomas

Karen P. Thomas

Women conductors are still bumping up against a "glass ceiling".

Susan Borwick

Absolutely. The difference is in having to prove to venues and sponsors that this is good to sponsor--that we'll draw good crowds, be popular. Sponsors don't have confidence in women musicians from the get-go.

Susan Cohn Lackman

Yes! There was not one moment, but there were things like: **"We didn't recommend you for that job at X College because you once taught in high schools and thought that's what you wanted to do." (Said as I finished Ph.D.) **A young composer who said, "I can't marry and have children. That's really a disadvantage for my career." **Noticed that many of the successful male composers are gay. (Sorry, but it's true.) **Professor: "Too pretty to get more than a C." (I'd been marked down for silly flaws on my papers.) **Walking out on stage to applause for my symphony, and several audience members said, "It's a girl!" even though my very feminine name was printed in the program. **And on it goes . . .

Beth Anderson

Yes. I don't have a wife. On many music festivals and concerts there are fewer than 5% women composers. There are still professors in music schools telling their students that "only the male bird sings." Men often network and help each other. Women mostly don't have the power to help themselves, much less other women and when they do, they often seem to go in the other direction so that the men will see them as even-handed. I talked to the agent for a woman conductor who had recently gotten a significant orchestral position and asked if she would consider performing my music. I was told that it would ruin the conductor's career if she started conducting women's music!

Sarah Mattox

As a freelance opera singer, I need to establish and maintain contacts, line up lessons, coachings, auditions, update and maintain my website, keep my materials current (including recordings) to best reflect what I have to offer. It is frequently up to me to create my own opportunities, whether by recording a CD and marketing it at live performances, or offering my abilities to a new project, or just keeping my name in the minds of people doing the casting. I'm usually contracted as an independent contractor, which means I also need to keep track of my expenses and how much tax I'll owe.

Barbara Case, Free Range Chix

"Absolutely. There has been and still is a clear difference in classical and popular performance opportunities. In classical, the majority of concerts still feature mostly men's compositions. More women are allowed to play in orchestras (except in Austria) these days but auditions take place behind a screen to hide the gender. Most conductors are still male, and women, as in every field, earn less. In popular field: most of the groups hired are male groups. If you look at line-up for county fairs, weekly summer evening series, folk concerts,seasonal celebrations...the majority hired are male groups. I think every aspect of the business of music is still controlled by men. Strides have been made, especially by independent musicians. "

Elena Ruehr

Yes. It is much harder to be recognized, but women are actually better musicians. Seriously. Also, classical music is unique in that orchestras hold "blind" auditions, where the players play behind a screen. Since that was instituted about 30 years ago, American professional orchestras have reached incredible integration, both in gender and race. In fact, businesses use the classical orchestral music world as an example for a better model for hiring decisions. Unfortunately, conductors and composers (who are like management in some ways) are far less likely to be women.

Photo of Laura Schwendinger

Laura Schwendinger

To be honest, I think men still dominate much of music administration in a way that can hamper the work of women composers and conductors.

JoVia Armstrong

"Yes. But, not necessarily musical differences. Men conduct their rehearsals kinda of randomly. At a woman's rehearsal, food and drink is usually offered. Maybe even tea or coffee. Men, are a little more relaxed about conducting their business...... start late and end late.

Personality-wise, women musician personalities are way more laid back than your typical woman."

Carol Lahti, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Lyra String Quartet, ESQ (the Elgin Symphony Quartet)

Yes, I think being a woman in this industry has not always been easy. I clearly remember one occasion when a male colleague tried to convince an orchestra to hire himself instead of me, telling the management that they should "hire a real man for the job." I also feel I am not as respected in some academic circles as a male teacher would be. When I was growing up, my (male) teacher clearly expected more from his male students, and to this day he is always a little surprised when I remind him that I make my living as a musician (i.e. I have a career in addition to being a wife).

Becca, War Tapes

I do think that people assume you won't be good at your instrument when you are a female. I get a lot of guys coming up to me after shows saying "wow you really know how to play bass" like they were shocked or something. I think it's funny.

Jennifer O'Connor

Yes definitely. You are represented as a woman in the press first and a musician second. Men don't have to deal with that. I think that is the biggest difference that still exists today and probably always will.


I was the first female dj to play in the main room with the boys and get equal pay, I did not know that and I was surprised no other woman had been as persistent as I. After all if we are all good we should get the same money as the guys.

Betty Widerski, Ginger Ibex, Las Aboricuás, The Gobshites

"Yes, but sometimes it's subtle. For instance, as a lesbian playing in a mostly male, Guinness drinking Irish Punk band I was treated as ""one of the guys"" mostly - which was better than being treated as a ""girl"", but assumptions that I was as interested as a guy in oogling ""girls"" were weird.

Mostly it's the ""I told you so"" moments, where my input has been ignored as being less valid, though later turns out to be correct."

Haley Fohr, Circuit des Yeux

I believe being a woman is much harder than being a man in music. I went on tour for a month by myself this past summer. During that time and anytime with my music, I have to be very careful about preying men. I have been sexually harassed more when in a music environment as Circuit des Yeux then any other time in my life. It is hard to decipher when opportunities in music are given to me for the sake of my music, or for alliterative motives. Both my gender and age have made making music a dangerous hobby at times, and I feel that the music business is still one facet of the world in which men and women are not treated as equal.

Jocelyn Greenwood from Jets Overhead

As far as making music and being creative no I don't think there is a difference. As far as how you are perceived by press, fans, etc then yes there is. Show business can have it's shallow sides! Whether it's a flattering comment or a criticism due to the fact you're a women both feel a bit unnerving and should probably be ignore.

Tasha Golden :: Ellery

"Being one half of a man/woman duo, I've had the opportunity to see how people respond to Ellery differently, depending on which of us is the ""face"" of the band in a given moment. On the business side, I often feel as if the music world is easier for me than it would be for Justin (my partner). A lot of male venue owners, booking contacts, and promoters can be rather brusque with male artists, as if they need to make sure they establish the pecking order. For instance, some folks have spoken to Justin defensively, harshly, assuming he's going to treat them poorly... I'm guessing these guys DO often get treated poorly by artists, so we can't blame them. But then those same people, not realizing I'm connected with Justin, will be kinder, receptive. So as a woman, perhaps I present less of a threat. I find that folks can be a bit more accommodating for me, more open to my ideas, and more lenient if something goes wrong. I'm sure that part of this is based on the idea that I'm a ""weaker sex,"" but if it makes my job easier, I don't mind. :)

But the ""who's got it easier"" thing can definitely get reversed. If there's conflict or a misunderstanding about contracts, sound needs, etc, sometimes I'm treated as if my requirements/needs as an artist don't matter, and I'm not taken seriously. In these instances, I get the feeling the person is waiting to speak with the ""REAL artist contact"" (read: any male one). It's frustrating, but thankfully it happens VERY rarely.

Which is good to note: We've had truly positive experiences with venues, media, fellow artists, etc 95% of the time. :) The musician community, at least along the scope of our genre, is a kind & welcoming place."

Photo of Catherine  Cavanagh, Chop Chop

Catherine Cavanagh, Chop Chop

"Oh dear. That's a huge question. I would like to say there isn't, but yes there is. I do think I have been passed over a few times with certain bands I've wanted to join, only once overtly. Pretty annoying, but I have so much work to do on my own, I don't need to waste time dwelling on that. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that there are no barriers to really getting the work done once I put my mind to it. The female artist I truly look up to is Kathryn Bigelow, who went out of the movie industry's typical funding system to get her work done, followed her passion and didn't let obstructions to her path stop her. And worked hard for YEARS. But this is a process that can be applied to both female and male artists, a point she has made very clear in her interviews. In music, women are among the leaders in the evolution of publicity and marketing - especially on the internet. Zoe Keating, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Amanda Palmer are real innovators and push me to really take advantage of the new level playing field that is the internet. "

Photo of Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown

"Absolutely. This is still a sexist and ageist business. How many 50+ year old women do you still see getting the same chances or opportunities as men of the same age? VERY few and far between. Either that or women get so sick of being judged by age and looks alone that they give up. I am sure it is not the same for all genres, but for commercial sounding music age and looks is almost first concern when doing business deals.

I also feel that we women get 'told' a lot more by fans and industry people alike what we should be doing and how to do it. They don't ride men as hard. They are more free to just be themselves as artists. We are constantly told to conform to something.

Another thing I find is that it is much easier for a guy to tour, especially if he is a solo instrumentalist. Being a woman, you have to be so careful on tour and it can be unsafe at times. It is also more costly as as a woman you are much less likely to sleep in your broken down van on the road... it's just not safe."


"Yes. Women must stay youthful looking (young, thin and attractive) to sell, this even often trumps level of talent. It is not the case with men who can come off grungy, old, dirty, or fat.

As the manager of a 4-5 man band where I am the only female, and assistant to our actual manager, I've seen that people tend to see a strong woman as bitchy instead of ambitious.

Our stuff is rock and can get pretty heavy; however, we are clumped in with many wishy-washy singer/songwriter and girly acts. Only recently have we been getting on male driven bills and tearing down the house!"

Photo of Emm Gryner

Emm Gryner

I always see myself as a musician first and a female musician second. But I quickly learned this was my perception and not others'. I rolled into a radio station in Pennsylvania some years ago and they had artists divided up on their bulletin board under various genres. I was under the genre "Lilith Rock". I couldn't believe it! There is a tendency to group all women together as though we are the same kind of music when nothing could be further from the truth!

Photo of Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain

"I write the songs. I sing, play harmonica and kazoo, and play the guitar in the band in live performances. In the studio I do all of that but, additionally, I layer harmonies, play bass, percussion, keys, banjo, whatever I can get my hands on..... When it comes to business and marketing decisions, I'm pretty hands on. I have opinions about most things when it comes down to the ever-maddening process of existing in the music ""world"". I don't want to jump into any situations that might lack integrity in motivations."

Dana Falconberry

"well, i've never been a man musician so i guess it's hard for me to say. i guess i don't really think that there's any overwhelming difference, enough to say that it's easier or more difficult for men or women, but there are surely some small and interesting differences.

i think that it's hard to be taken seriously as a female musician (especially if you are solo, or if you only have females in your band like i do), but i'm sure that there are some men that would say that it's hard for them to be taken seriously as well. i've gone on many tours and walked into bars with my two female band-members and been treated like little annoying children. this tone always changes after we play, and people are much more responsive and respectful. i'm not sure if that's female-specific, though, it seems that it could be true for any unknown artist.

i have sang back-up vocals for many different bands (almost always men), and it's always interesting to me how that role is spotlighted. i suppose i can't be sure, but i think it may have something to do with it being a female role. there have been multiple situations in which i have come in at the end of a project, right before the performance, when the rest of the band has been rehearsing for weeks. and though i have put the least amount of time into the project and my parts are only accents to the real back-bone of the song, i am given a microphone right next to the lead singer, and treated as a featured member of the band. this has always made me a little uncomfortable, as i feel that i haven't earned that role. and maybe the same would be true for a male back-up singer (maybe people just want to highlight vocals in general), but it seems at least to be much less common.

i think female guitarists are treated much differently than men. people seem to always be surprised that i put as much emphasis into the guitars lines as i do, and that i fingerpick most of the time instead of strumming. i find myself falling into this trap, too, and expecting a female guitarist to lightly strum chords.

probably the difference between male and female roles in the music industry is most visible in the business end of the industry. in my experience, it is still pretty rare to come across women producers, label owners, bookers, club owners, etc. i definitely know women who do all of these things, but this part of the industry still seems to employ a majority of men. "

Photo of Sara Renner of Sara Renner & The Elements

Sara Renner of Sara Renner & The Elements

I think the difference is more of an issue of leadership than musicianship. Women are more and more being empowered to be leaders in our culture. The business of music is much like any other entreprenurial endeavor; you need a strong vision and strong leadership skills. Whether on-stage or off-stage you must carry yourself as a person with vision and inspire those you've got around you to support you and the vision you have. This is not something I was taught by my parents or schools as I grew up in the 70s & 80s. I realized I possessed the characteristics of a leader when I lead my first choir at the age of 22 and I've been learning "on the job" ever since.

Eve Goldfarb

"Being a woman in music is often different, and almost never in a good way. I had to fire a first violinist in a show orchestra because he wouldn't follow my conducting. His stated reason was that I was a woman and therefore couldn't conduct. Everyone else in the orchestra had no trouble following my conducting.

That made it painfully clear."

Beth Waters

"Having kids has really made it clear to me the difference. But that's a difference for any mother who would like a career as well. I really felt I had to stop playing music while my kids were little, I couldn't breast feed and be there in the way I wanted to without taking a full on break from music. Being a woman also has been helpful in some ways, and difficult in others. I remember trying to get into a venue called ""The Red Devil Lounge"" in San Francisco when I was first starting out, and they referred me to their ""women's"" night instead of just letting me come and play with my band. At the time I found that rather insulting. Also, it's harder to get ""real"" reviews about your music. Many people want to compare you to another female artist rather than comparing you to music that is similar. That makes it hard to be unique and female at the same time."

Submitted Anonymously

In classical music there is enormous discrimination against women classical composers. Even in New York City, many professional concerts will not have a single woman composer's work on their program. And, since I am one of the first women in the field of electronic music, it has been glaringly obvious to me that men across the board tend to ignore women composers as if women cannot master whatever technical knowledge is needed to use machines to make music -- even when, as in my case, I have been the instructor of these same men. The result of the discrimination against women classical composers is that few women are in tenured positions in music departments or in positions of power in the field of classical music composition generally. In classical music composition it is almost impossible to make a living as a composer; one must teach in order to live.

Tara Vanflower, Lycia

I don't really believe so. I think you have to be aggressive in this business male or female...weakness is the thing that holds you back and gets you manipulated by users. I don't personally believe it has anything to do with gender.

God-Des & She

I am co-founder of God-Des & She and G & S Records. SHE and I share in all major business decisions and also share in creating and marketing our music. Because we are different in so many ways, we have had to create our own path and make something out of nothing. The major labels have been scared of us even when they love our music. We are female's, white, queer, and don't look like mainstream pop/rap females. And, our sound crosses genre's and can't be put into a box. But we have made it work and continue to grow and flourish. Our last record was produced by Brian Hargroove of Public Enemy and charted on the CMJ hip-hop charts. We have made a living solely from our music for the past four years and continue to play around 80 to 100 gigs a year. We also make much of our income from our merchandise. We created Happy Deals which give our fans a discount on our merch. We sell 2 CD’s & a Shirt for $35, 2 Cd's $ 2 Shirts for $50 and so on. It saves our fans money by buying multiple items and gets more product out of the door. We also always stay after our shows and sign and take pictures with every single person that wants one whether they buy something or not. There have been times we have had to stay for 3 and 4 hours after a show to take pictures with everyone and give them their moment to connect with us.

Brooke Waggoner

"I think it can be if you initially let it. Especially as a writer - I have a tendency to not like most female singer/song writers (with exceptions of course). It's important not to make the material too precious and one dimensional. That's difficult for a lot of women - they want emotion and speak straight from their diaries a great deal - which unfortunately can get lost in the mix a lot.

The most difficult part about being a woman is when it comes to business. Quite often it's not in our nature to make tough business-related assertive decisions. Confrontation can be difficult. Keeping emotion out of business (some of the times) is vital yet hard for women to do.

I actually majored in music composition and was the only female out of 40 other students. It mentally forced me to work hard (nothing was imposed or presupposed by my male colleagues). I inflicted my own pressure and because of it, learned how to work hard."

Debbie Cunningham

Sometimes, I don't feel as respected during business/financial negotiations. After they see me perform and know I'm serious and professional, that seems to change!

Photo of Janis Ian

Janis Ian

How could it not be? For starts, we deal with breasts, which when big look really clumsy against a guitar. For seconds, if there's no bathroom available we can't just pee outside against a wall or tree. For thirds, men still hold most of the power, though I've been encouraged, these past 15+ years, to see more and more women taking over the tech roles in theatre. Still, there are next to no female sound engineers, even though physically we have better hearing. Still no female president of a major label or publishing house. It was clear to me the first time someone in TV asked if I really needed to play guitar on my song. I was 15 and it was 1966.

Jolie Holland

I never got any encouragement or support from my family. I just got some occasional shreds of support from older musicians and strangers. I've seen young male musicians get a lot of support from strangers and their parents. But I've also heard a lot of male musicians talking about pressure from their families to leave music behind and go into fields where there is more sure money. Women are less expected to make money in any area, so there is less family pressure to 'get serious' about making money, and burying their musical aspirations.

Dot Allison

"I think women are still objectified too much across the board.. and therefore as a creative you are always fighting against the limiting beliefs held about women's roles across the board... Yes my NME review of my past LP which accused of me getting my 'famous friends' to help me with my album... all of whom were colleagues before friends if indeed those working relationships developed into friendships... and I felt this to be incredibly sexist.. I am sure they don't accuse Massive Attack of getting their famous friends to help them with an album but more see it as it is a meeting of creatives purely.

Bless the guy who wrote it.. apparently it was so factually incorrect it was entertaining.. I didn't actually get round to reading it myself."

Photo of Renee LoBue

Renee LoBue

"My initial response is to say somewhat. I say somewhat because after being in bands for 20 years it's still about ""Dudedom"". It's my experience that men in bands still communicate with the silent-secret handshake. For example, Ray and the other guys in Elk City can talk for hours (amongst themselves and with other guys in bands) about recording and engineering.-How am I supposed to chime in?-""Hey, I've got a box of broken tape recorders and I just got the most awesome new lipstick!?!""....But there's more to it: The way men and women are communicated with by people in the music industry still differs: We were at South by Southwest in March and had to meet some industry people working with our label, Friendly Fire. We were hanging out at a bar in Austin, TX and this guy (who shall remain nameless) is talking to Ray and I, but offers Ray a handshake and offers Ray his card and I'm there holding my purse thinking...um, I write all the songs. Ok, I'm sure many women in music would disagree with me, but it's my experience that men in bands are still thought of as the decision makers."

Kimme, Suxxcess Records

"I think being a woman and a musician is different than being a man and a musician by our emotions and how we attract and engaged the listener- and also being looked as not being able to conduct business. I once heard a female music artist said she felt she needed to conduct business as a man in order to be taken seriously and not walked over. "

Melodie Bryant

"TOTALLY! No matter how great a player you are, and even if you're respected as such - and male musicians do respect great playing - you're always somewhat of an outsider. There's a sexual perspective that you will never be a part of, and you notice it if you're outnumbered.

The best way to deal with this is to be the one in control: the one who books the gigs, or who gets them. Then they will listen to you(!). The moment I had success as a composer, was hiring other musicians and seen as capable of finding work - for them and for my business - I was held in awe.

Which is not the same as acceptance, but is an improvement."

Maria Tiscia

Yes, I do think it's different for a woman in the music industry. I believe we have to work a little harder to gain respect and attention. Often we are judged by are looks more often than men. I also feel that sometimes men (in general) whether they are musicians or agents, or club owners think they can take advantage of a woman's softer side.

Holly Saucy

I think the terrain is difficult for anyone that makes the choice to persue music As a career and much like anyother profession there are overtones of misogyny, however the opportunity for women to sustain a successful career in music exsist. I keep hearing people say things like there aren't that many female emcees out there and I would bef to differ I toured with 45 all female act through out europe all of which could compete with the likes of your top 40 male emcees. I hear people say you must sell sex then we see folks like janelle monae, they say you must be beyonce then you see people like nneka. I believe that as with any thing artist having access to resources and media can change the perception

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Paula Kimper

Yes. Men get more breaks, preferential treatment and respect, especially from other men, they get more jobs, they get higher pay, they get more recognition, they get the majority of grants and commissions.

Photo of Jenny Hill, Easy Star All-Stars

Jenny Hill, Easy Star All-Stars

Not musically, just business-wise. At first, it was harder to get gigs because of the net-working issues; guys tended to call each other for the best recording work and insider gigs. Later in my career I was able to establish my reputation as a good horn player and started getting the calls. Now I feel there is a bit of age discrimination creeping in--e.g. I almost lost a big-paying tour this year because they wanted younger "girls" in the horn section (the guys in the band are all in their 50's).

Nicole Binion

Not necessarlly. Women are more respected in the music world more so in other kinds of business

Natalie Grant

There is definitly a big difference when it comes to radio. 80% of the playlist on Christian radio is made up of men. For live performances, the fees paid to men are much higher for men than women.

Ginny Owens

I have rewritten my answer to this question multiple times, as I'm having difficulty processing all of my thoughts on the subject. In my early days of staff writing, I found that most of my male co-writers were very confident in their ideas and would nearly always veto mine. I was not nearly as confident in my writing or performing as the males around me seemed to be, but this could have been due to my own challenges that had nothing to do with being a female. (When I had some success as an artist, most of the males changed their tune and began to listen to my ideas.) On the other hand, I've spent the past 12 years primarily dealing with men--on the road, in the studio, and at the co-writing table, and I've usually felt respected and accepted. (I am also totally blind and have always found the music industry to be more accepting of me than any other social or business circle I'm a part of.) This being said, I do not typically enjoy working with males in the music world who are younger than my generation. I usually find them to be overconfident and disrespectful. The younger female musicians I've worked with have been very talented, hard-working, and respectful, but I have had only a few opportunities to work with female musicians. My final thought is that it seems that the music-listening-buying audience is primarily female, and females typically love males. So I think it's easier for males to rise to the top--especially as artists--than it is for females. But in the studio or as part of a backing band, talent and proficiency matter more than gender.

Stephanie Schneiderman

For so many years it was a male dominated field, and I feel like there's still some inequalities on the business side of things. But I believe that the internet has equalized lots of factors in the industry. On the promotional side of things, I've seen a definite difference b/w how women and men musicians are treated. A band that I'm in called Dirty Martini is fronted by 3 women. We were coined as a 'girl band' no matter how hard we tried to change that.

Nedra Johnson

I have an all woman band. Probably most bands are all male. When women choose all women, that seems to be an issue or a novelty. People have low expectations of women and what we call women's music. Industry wise, there are expectations of how a woman should present. Guys can wear anything from a 3 piece suit to ripped up jeans... women are expected to look "hot"... So its often not about the music as much as the look for ALOT of people when it comes to women.

Photo of Anji Bee of Lovespirals

Anji Bee of Lovespirals

Not only am I the lyricist, vocalist, and vocal arranger in Lovespirals, but I am the front person and the band member that makes most of the decisions regarding release and promotion of our music. I am the one who spends long hours at the computer adding our music and images to various sites on the internet, updates our band site, reaches out to podcasters, broadcasters, bloggers, and other musicians, and I'm even the one that creates the band artwork, retouches and edits band photos, etc. In the studio we share productions duties, though my partner - Ryan Lum - actually tracks our music and plays the instruments. The bulk of the composition is his doing, but with my input and vocal arrangement.

Vienna Teng

Since I'm the artist, most decisions come to me. I write all the songs, except for two that I've co-written. In the band, I'm responsible for hiring the musicians (and paying them, providing travel & lodging, etc) and giving them some musical direction, though it's a pretty collaborative process. Especially with my main collaborator, Alex, his ideas and opinions carry a lot of weight. In the studio, I bring the songs and some particular ideas for arrangements, but otherwise I often defer to the producer. I've been trying to learn more about production—I co-produced my last album with Alex—but it's definitely a student role, a hands-on learning process. I'm very active in business and marketing decisions too, because the reality of my life has a lot to do with how those decisions play out. Routing tours, release strategies, nurturing an online community: these things determine whether I'm home a lot or not at all, how much rent I can afford, how connected I feel to the people I play music for.

Grace Potter; Grace Potter And The Nocturnals

We are definitely a team; from each band member to our management/booking agent. I like to be as involved as possible with business decisions, but at a certain point, it's important to me to step aside and let the professionals do their thing. When push comes to shove, I would say that I'm the de facto leader of the band. I write a majority of the songs and I get the final say on everything from set lists to the record cover graphics. I'm collaborative to a point, but just ask The Eagles, full-on democracies rarely work!

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