Welcome to Marketing’s Changemakers, a new series from The Drum that tells the stories of brands trying to change the world in ways both big and small. Here, Smirnoff’s global senior brand manager Neil Shah discusses the latest installment of the brand’s ‘Equalizing Music’ initiative, which aims to promote equality for women musicians around the world.
Just like the advertising industry – and most industries, for that matter – music has a gender problem.
It’s a problem that spares no genre, and one that caused a Twitter storm earlier this year when the hashtag #GrammySoMale began trending after Alessia Cara became the sole woman to take home a major award at the Grammys. Last month, country singer Cam called out the iHeart Radio Music Awards for including zero female nominees in the Country Artist of the Year category.
The numbers show just how bad things really are: according to a recent study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that analyzed 600 popular songs from 2012-2017, females represented only 22.4% of all artists and a mere 12.3% of songwriters.
While it will surely take more than a brand effort to solve an issue of this scale, Smirnoff is doing its part to raise the profiles of and give exposure to female artists through its ‘Equalizing Music’ campaign, an effort that began in 2016 with a documentary featuring New York-based female DJ collective and booking agency Discwoman. The documentary was created via Smirnoff’s international music platform Sound Collective, which the brand says is committed to fostering an inclusive electronic music culture.