Women have often faced gender discrimination in the workplace but especially in the music business industry. This feminist issue of inequality between the sexes is evident in the business side of the industry in which club owners and promoters are predominately male but also in the creative side where women performers are frequently stereotyped and their music is coined as “chick music” created by “chick bands,” both of which have negative connotations. For our interview project we decided to take a closer look into the industry to discover just how much discrimination exists therein and how women have been able to become successful in this business despite gender stereotyping and gender discrimination. We also were able to further examine the tactics of three specific women and discuss whether or not they believe this industry is heading in a more female-friendly direction.
Purpose of Research:
The purpose of our research is to shed light on women’s experiences in the inner-workings of the Athens music business industry. By interviewing three women with three very different jobs within the industry, the group was able to gain knowledge about their individual experiences in the business and whether or not they believe being a woman has helped or hindered their career advancement. The three women that our group chose to interview were Lisa Hunt, a club promoter, Velena Vego, the booking agent for the 40 Watt Club located in downtown Athens, and Jessica Forbes, a local performer and blues singer. All three women have also worked with the 40 Watt Club before in helping to put together a concert, which made this project even more interesting because the interviewers got to analyze the role that each individual interviewee plays in making specific concerts at this venue a success. We also were sure to address with these women the role that female sexuality plays in the success or failure of female performers and determine if each interviewee believes that this business has evolved as a whole overtime.
All three women we interviewed were eventually able to combat negative stereotypes of women in music business by continually exhibiting their talent, merit, and hard-work ethics. This proves that although many of these women faced some resistance when they first appeared in this field, for the most part it is possible to become successful in the music business industry and garner the respect of your male-coworkers if you work hard enough to prove yourself and be taken seriously. Every interviewee also seemed to agree that it is essential to leave your sexuality out of the workplace if you hope to gain this respect. All three women seemed adamant about the fact that exploiting your sexuality for personal gain in fact only hurts you by degrading your own image and the image of other industry professional women. From this it is possible to learn that even if you are not responded to well from the beginning, it is important to pursue your ambitions and achieve the goals you have set out for yourself, just like these women have to been able to do in the Athens music business scene.
Many of our group members have not only a passion for music, but also an interest in music business as a career field. That is why it was so interesting to be able to do our interview project on this subject, because the experiences of these women might personally affect many of us one day and ultimately reveal how our female group members will be treated if they are to enter the music industry. The fact that each interviewee says that they have faced resistance is important for our group members to consider but also important is the fact that every interviewer argues that the industry is slowly becoming more female-friendly as a whole. What the group was able to gather from this project and our interviews is that no matter how you’re treated by others, if you have a passion for something and are willing to work hard enough to achieve your goals, nothing can stop you. The views of others did not stop these women, which is truly inspirational for our group, and they have been able to proudly represent the female gender by becoming prominent success stories in the Athens music business industry.