The Belles and Gals mission statement has the following segment:
‘It is evident that female artists do not receive a fair deal in the country music industry. The comparative lack of radio play for female artists in comparison to their male counterparts is well documented. This has a knock-on effect. Male artists find it easier to secure record deals, sell tickets, secure advertising deals and enjoy many other perks which all lead to successful careers in the country music industry. Some in the industry point to this success as justification for the lack of equality in radio play – we simply see a vicious circle which needs to be broken.‘
In the last couple of years we’ve aimed to counter this by simply promoting and featuring female artists in the genre exclusively and we hope that this has had some kind of impact. However, despite our efforts and the efforts of many other fantastic radio shows, websites and live event companies, things are not changing quickly enough and some reports even state that there is no change happening at all.
One way to counter the disparity is to highlight radio stations and festivals who seem happy giving their spotlight to male artists predominantly – and this is an approach we’ve taken in the past. However, at Belles and Gals, we’re not really into ‘negativity’, so we thought we’d try a different approach!
We’d like to introduce the ‘Belles and Gals Badge’ which will be awarded to ‘festivals, events and radio shows offering equal opportunities for female artists in country music and for active promotion of female artists in the genre’.
How will we decide who receives the award?
We will give the award to any festival or radio show which features a minimum of 35% female artists on the line up (festivals will require that same level or higher on the main stage too).
In an ideal world we would set this number at 50%. However, if a festival is striving for an even 50/50 split of male/female artists, it’s an incredibly tough ask, with availability of artists the first factor. There could easily be a festival with a 60/40 male/female split which has made every effort for parity. However, when the number dips below that 35% line, it’s not clear that parity is a consideration. Sadly there are many events where the number is way below the 35% level.
What does the Award Mean?
It simply means that Belles and Gals recognises and applauds your efforts in gaining parity in country music. If recipients so wish, they can choose to display their personalised certificate or the badge below online or in print.
We hope this ‘positive’ method of creating a change can have an impact on the industry.
The Belles and Gals Team