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AIRPLAY STUDY FINDS BIASES

A new report on U.K. radio airplay finds that between August 2020 and August 2021, male artists accounted for 44% of the tracks in the Top 50 while female acts took only a 20% share. 

It’s a slight improvement from 2019-2020; male acts are down 7%, while the share of female acts has risen by 1%. There were 34% mixed-gender collaborations, which is up 4% year-on-year, and 2% non-binary acts. 

The ethnicity stats are as follows: 60% white artists; 36% white and POC collaborations; and 4% POC artists. Artists and bands signed to major labels accounted for 96% of the Top 50.

Behind the scenes, male songwriters and composers accounted for 76.4% of those credited in the Top 50, and female songwriters and composers accounted for 23.3%. Non-binary songwriters and composers, which amounted to a single entry, Sam Smith, took a 0.4% share. 

In addition, 54% of male artists/bands had male-only songwriters and composers while 100% of female artists/bands had at least one male songwriter on each song. 

The authors of the report, the Why Not Her? collective, said: “The music scene has been one of the industries hit hardest by COVID, and one of the key ways an artist can make revenue is airplay royalties. We cannot stand by and continue to allow women, people of color and members of the LGBTQIA community to be excluded from equal pay and the opportunities that come from airtime allocation across the radio industry.”

The report also analyzed individual radio stations and found that BBC Radio 1’s airplay included 45% male artists (85% in 2020), 10% female artists (no change) and 45% collaborations (5% in 2020). The playlist at Capital FM represented 30% male acts (75% in 2020), 10% female (5% in 2020), 55% collaborations (20% in 2020) and 5% non-binary acts. 

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