Columbia Business School Research Shows Bias Against Women in Music Industry

Press Release from Columbia Business School (February 27, 2020)

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Over the past few years, the Grammy Awards has come under fire for not sufficiently recognizing and celebrating diversity. In 2018, only one female artist was nominated for Album of the Year and only one of the Big Four awards (Record, Album, Song, and Best New Artist of the Year) went to a woman. That year, Neil Portnow (then the Recording Academy president) suggested that women "who want to be part of the industry on the executive level to step up." From 2013 to 2019, women represented less than 10% of nominees for Record and Album of the Year, and less than 25% for Song of the Year. In January 2020, Billie Eilish became the first woman to sweep the Big Four in Grammy history. 

Recent research from Columbia Business School's Professor of Business Michael Mauskapf and Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior Noah Askin demonstrates that women have been "stepping up" and excelling for decades. First, Mauskapf and Askin found that women actually participate in the creative industry at higher rates than men. They analyzed 250K+ songs and found no mean difference between male and female artists in terms of "novelty". When they controlled for size and gender composition of an artist's network and the gender makeup of the genre in question, the results found that female artists actually created significantly more creative outputs than their male counterparts. So, the lack of recognition and the pay gap should be attributed to social factors rather than creative quality. 

To learn more, please refer to the full research report, available here.

Ellen Chu

Global Manager, Employee Experience & Engagement, Anheuser-Busch InBev