Believe and TuneCore Celebrate International Women’s Day With The Release of The Fourth Annual Study, Be The Change: Gender Equity in Music

Conducted by leading market intelligence and consulting firm MIDiA Research, this year’s study reports that, despite significant improvements, still 60% of female respondents have experienced sexual harassment while 20% have been victims of sexual assault during their time in the industry

March 8, 2024: Paris & New York – In honor of International Women’s Day, Believe, one of the world’s leading digital music companies, and TuneCore, the leading development partner for self-releasing artists, have officially released the results of the fourth annual study, BE THE CHANGE: Gender Equity in Music.
For this year’s study, leading market intelligence and consulting firm MIDiA Research surveyed more than 4,100 members of the music industry—with a predominant focus on creators—in an effort to better understand their struggles and provide tangible strategies to help them overcome their challenges. Of the thousands of respondents surveyed, more than 35% self-identified as female or gender expansive, with over 75% responding from outside of the United States, providing a truly global snapshot of the music industry.
With a foreword written by Academy Award and Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge, the 2024 BE THE CHANGE: Gender Equity in Music study yields insights into the prevalence of and sentiment surrounding issues in the music industry including gender-based discrimination, sexual assault and harassment, income disparity, industry departure, and more. Key findings from this year’s study are below, and the full study is available for download now HERE.

Denis Ladegaillerie, Founder & CEO, Believe, said, “Believe’s mission is to support artists’ development at all stages of their careers and to build a fairer, more balanced and diverse music industry. Part of our ‘Shaping Music for Good’ programme, BE THE CHANGE has become a key milestone to assess the challenges faced by female and gender expansive creators and music professionals globally. With this fourth study, we aim at once again creating an open dialogue for the industry to collectively take a stance and truly make a change towards a more equitable music industry.”

Andreea Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, TuneCore commented, “Over the course of the four years that we’ve been conducting BE THE CHANGE, we’ve witnessed a significant increase in efforts to raise awareness surrounding gender equity, but not nearly enough action taken to fight against the root causes of discrimination in our industry. If the music industry is truly going to improve for all genders, simply raising awareness isn’t enough. That’s why with this year’s study, we made it our goal to provide concrete, actionable steps that everyone can take in pursuit of true equity between music creators and professionals of all genders.”

Mark Mulligan, Managing Director, MIDiA Research added, "As always, it is an honor to partner with Believe and TuneCore on this crucial piece of work. Since the first edition of the report there has been significant and welcome progress but there is still so much yet to do. The responsibility for that change lies with the men in the industry, whether that be leaders creating environments in which women can thrive, or less senior people advocating for and making change happen. And that, perhaps, is the core of it: it is time to make the change happen, because if you do not, then that change will happen to you anyway."

Demographics of study participants:

  • Global representation included participants from Africa and the Middle East (12%), Asia-Pacific (26%), Europe (30%), Latin America and the Caribbean (6%), and the US and Canada (26%)
  • Gender: Female (32%), Male (64%), and gender expansive (6%)
  • Age: 16-19 (6%), 20-24 (12%), 25-34 (28%), 35-44 (22%), 45-54 (16%), 55+ (16%)
  • Industry Sectors: Creators (78%) and professionals (22%)

Select key findings:

  • 60% of female respondents have experienced sexual harassment—down from 82% in 2021—while 20% have been victims of sexual assault during their time in the industry
    • Among women who reported experiencing sexual assault, 56% said their claims were ignored or dismissed, 38% felt they were blacklisted afterwards, and 12% said they were terminated afterwards
  • Female respondents were twice as likely as men to discover that they were paid less than colleagues in the same or similar roles
    • While 35% of all women reported discovering they were paid less than male colleagues, nearly half (49%) of women from marginalized racial / ethnic groups, 44% of women with disabilities, and 41% of LGBTQIA+ women reported the same
  • Respondents reported the advancement of diversity in positions of power (45%), increased pay transparency (38%), and stronger enforcement of penalties for harassment and inappropriate behavior (35%) as the most important initiatives needed to drive positive change
  • Only 16% of male respondents view the music industry as generally discriminative based on gender, compared to nearly 50% of women and 41% of gender expansive individuals

The new report also features personal anecdotes from numerous artists including Armenian pop artist Rosa Linn, Chilean singer and poet Francisca Valenzuela, South African amapiano artist Khanyisa, and more who share their experiences with gender-based discrimination across different facets of the music industry.

All members of the music industry including both creators and professionals are invited to sign the BE THE CHANGE in Music Pledge and make a personal commitment to help create a more equitable music industry for all. The BE THE CHANGE in Music Pledge can be found HERE.

About Believe:
Believe is one of the world’s leading digital music companies. Believe’s mission is to develop independent artists and labels in the digital world by providing them the solutions they need to grow their audience at each stage of their career and development. Believe’s passionate team of digital music experts around the world leverages the Group’s global technology platform to advise artists and labels, distribute and promote their music. Its 1,919 employees in more than 50 countries aim to support independent artists and labels with a unique digital expertise, respect, fairness and transparency. Believe offers its various solutions through a portfolio of brands including Believe, TuneCore, Nuclear Blast, Naïve, Groove Attack, AllPoints, Ishtar and Byond. Believe is listed on compartment B of the regulated market of Euronext Paris (Ticker: BLV, ISIN: FR0014003FE9).

About TuneCore:
TuneCore is the leading independent development partner for self-releasing artists to build audiences and careers – with technology and services across distribution, publishing administration, and a range of promotional services. TuneCore Music Distribution services help artists, labels, and managers sell their music through Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, TikTok, Tencent, and more than 150 download and streaming stores worldwide, while retaining 100 percent of their rights for a low annual flat fee. TuneCore Music Publishing Administration assists songwriters by administering their compositions through licensing, registration, worldwide royalty collections, and placement opportunities in film, TV, commercials, video games, and more. The TuneCore Artist Services portal offers a suite of tools and services that enable artists to promote their craft, connect with fans, and get their music heard. TuneCore, part of Believe, is headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, with offices in Los Angeles and Nashville, and operates globally through local teams based in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore across 5 continents.

About MIDiA Research:
MIDiA Research is a market intelligence and consulting firm with long-standing expertise in the business of entertainment and digital media. We work with various companies, from TV networks, streaming services, games publishers, developers and record labels, to tech giants and financial organisations, providing a deep understanding of trends and innovations that are shaping the market and audience behaviours. We help leaders formulate commercially actionable strategy in order to navigate the evolving digital-content and consumption landscape. We leverage multi-country consumer data, market forecasts, and other proprietary data tools to provide unrivalled insight into the rapidly changing, global, digital-content markets. Our coverage areas include music, video, marketing & media, games and audio.