Sunday , June 11 2023

Not hearing enough, women increase the volume in the music


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Paris (AFP)

The movement

#MusicToo has shed light on sexual assault in music, but there are other battles to be fought: women in the sector are still too attacked in their legitimacy and forgotten in organizational papers.

“To talk about a problem, you have to start by giving figures,” said Corinne Sadki, of the National Music Center (CNM), speaking at the “Women in Music” forum at the Parisian MaMA festival (for Marché’s current music ).

They are talking. Sacem (Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music) thus identified only “17% of authors, composers and publishers of music”, says Catherine Boissière, head of this organization, present at ‘MaMA.

Undoubtedly because “everything is done so that women do not feel legitimate, or are not credited”, summed up Emily Gonneau, co-founder of Change de disk, a platform that fights in particular against the structural problems of women (compensation and career progression) in the music industry.

All musical genres are concerned. Heloïse Luzzati (Elles creative women’s association, to compensate for the lack of women in musical programming) recalls that “only 4% of works by classical composers are programmed”. “In 25 years of studies on the cello, I have never played the job of a woman,” she reaffirms at MaMA.

– Insidious mechanisms –

In this forum, Indian-born rapper Tracy De Sa discusses the mental burden of pitfalls to be avoided for a woman. “There’s a sexualization, going through the control of the image from the label, to the selection of photos or clips, we tell you in the beginning that it’s + that you love. + Not to mention the use of Photoshop to paint the my skin “.

“And when we are the ones who choose to strip ourselves into our clips, then there, we hear that we + do too much, + that we found + only to develop our art,” “she still describes.

The insidious mechanisms that trap women are found in all parts of the industry, such as among technicians. “The employer is more demanding of us, we are asked to have a strong character, because it’s a masculine environment, but we then get criticized + when a woman gives her opinion, makes waves +,” recounts Virginie Bègue, a manager, a spokesperson at the forum.

At the top of the pyramid, the situation is not very beautiful. Only 14% of managerial positions in labels are held by women, according to a 2019 study by Irma (an information and resource center for contemporary music).

– Levers for change –

But there are levers to change things. The Elles Creative Women association addresses the problem of the visibility of classical composers from the roots, with a project of exhuming the manuscript. Héloïse Luzzati also created the Un Temps pour Elles festival, the La Boîte à Pépites video channel and a record label, Elles Records (the first opus for 2022), to showcase this work.

Céline Bakond, an administrator for the service of entrepreneurs-rap artists, tells MaMA that she has integrated chauvinistic discourse for too long, and has developed an “imposter syndrome”. “I had difficulty charging a fair rate for my work, working for free or doing more things than I should.”

It was Mewem, a mentoring program for women in the music industry, that opened her eyes, and showed her that she had a “place” in the industry. One of Mewem’s tutors is a figure in the middle, Pauline Duarte, director of the Epic France label.

Among other similar mentoring programs, there is Wah !, praised by Catherine Debergue, administrator, who was tutor of the first edition of this device in 2019-2020. “Today, in my experience, I identify future leaders and encourage them,” she told MaMA.

The health crisis has put the sector on hold but has had a good side. “The bosses have thought about the issue and, after Covid, they want joint technical teams,” congratulates Virginie Bègue. To recruit, it will depend, for example, on the Bandshe association which aims to support, promote and democratize the place of women in live music.

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