Published On: Sat, Aug 26th, 2017

Ladies, guitars and sexism within the music trade

Mercury shortlisted guitar group The Massive Moon are sick of the music trade placing everybody in bins.

Guitarist Soph Nathann says: “As a result of there’s not sufficient [women] on the market it is like a separate style – rock, pop, then ladies!”

I meet up with the guitar band – whose album Love within the 4th Dimension made the Mercury shortlist for 2017 – simply earlier than they take to the stage for the Studying leg of the Studying and Leeds Festivals.

They’re one among only a handful of all-female bands to make it onto the invoice.

London based female rock band The Big Moon

Is rock actually just for the boys?

Bassist Celia Archer says it is one thing most feminine rock teams have come to simply accept: “Society continues to be typically sexist, it is ingrained. It is such an entrenched drawback however hopefully it is slowly getting higher.”

This yr, embarrassed competition organisers throughout the UK discovered themselves having to apologise after nearly all headline slots went to males.

The gender imbalance has been a stark reflection of how the music scene tends to be skewed in direction of a male demographic.

Californian rockers Deep Valley say, put merely, ladies attempting to reach rock need to work twice as onerous to make it.

“You are a novelty at first as a feminine musician,” drummer Julie Edwards explains.

“You could have a surge after which it plateaus out… It looks as if the male rock bands have a extra lubricated journey to the highest.”

Male rock teams may need secured prime billing, however might feminine spending energy be key to reviving guitar gross sales which, over a decade, have flat-lined?

Now one of Britain's best guitarists, she warned men might 'struggle' with her music
Now one among Britain’s finest guitarists, she warned males would possibly ‘wrestle’ together with her music

Guitar-maker Fender is doing all it may well “to assist and cater” for feminine patrons. The enduring music model discovered 50% of its new gross sales final yr have been to ladies.

Its CEO, Andy Mooney, says the trade is lastly waking as much as that reality: “The guitar enterprise… has usually been seen as a boys’ membership.

“We’re always figuring out new artists and incorporating feminine expertise into our advertising launches.”

Fender is not alone in recognising the significance of opening up the market. A concerted trade effort is underneath option to discover new methods of reaching out to ladies.

Paul McManus, chief govt of the Music Industries Affiliation, says firms are lastly beginning to wise-up to the truth that ladies who love music are simply as very important to the trade as males.

“The trade is progressively transferring away from the stereotypical advertising imagery of the common guitarist being a long-haired male in full rock pose… to enchantment extra to each genders.”

However the music scene nonetheless has fairly some option to go.

Singer and guitarist Lucinda Livingstone set up fanzine Ladyfuzz
Singer and guitarist Lucinda Livingstone arrange fanzine Ladyfuzz

Chantel McGregor has been taking part in since she was three. Now in her early 30s, she is one among Britain’s finest guitarists.

At present on tour, she’s carved out a profession in music, singing and performing blisteringly difficult electrical guitar solos.

However when she was simply 14, a significant music label instructed her to change to an acoustic as a result of males would possibly wrestle to purchase into her sound.

She mentioned: “You may nonetheless go right into a guitar store in a costume and folks go as much as you and say ‘that is plectrum, are you aware what one is?’ and I am like ‘sure!’

“Quite a lot of music producers in all probability suppose it is primarily males that they are catering for however ladies need to spend cash on issues like guitars, not footwear and purses or no matter it’s we’re perceived to purchase.”

Specialist music fanzine Ladyfuzz was born out of musician Lucinda Livingstone’s frustration over seeing lazy stereotypes.

The Kamikaze Ladies vocalist and guitarist mentioned: “Once I was a child I wasn’t launched to guitar music that had females in it, I needed to discover that on my own and I do not suppose it must be like that.”

“Making issues like press supplies and promoting extra pleasant and extra gender fluid could be approach higher. Not simply having an image of a man with a guitar or an image of a woman utilized in a sexual option to promote music.

Studying and Leeds Festivals are on till 27 August.

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