54th ACM Awards Nominations Male Dominated

This week the ACM Awards nominations were announced – and a big congratulations are in order for every artist that has been nominated. However, as a fan of female country artists, I have to say there was a real feeling of gloom and despondency after the announcement of the awards. A week ago the mood was the opposite – Kacey Musgraves had just bagged the ‘Best Album’ at the Grammys, the best album across ALL genres, and it seemed that, for once, a female country artist had made a real mark in the industry. Not only was country music on top of the world, but it was a female artist who had risen to that position!

However, along come the ACM award nominations to remind us that people within the country music industry itself are more than happy with the male dominated status quo – why change it if every one is happy (apart from those infuriating female country artists who seem to think that they should be getting more of an equal share of the pie – how dare they?).

These awards are decided by votes from the ‘Professional Membership’ of the Academy of Country Music. Here’s the membership criteria – ‘Eligibility for professional members is limited to those individuals who derive a significant amount of their income directly from country music; however, admission to membership is subject to the complete discretion of the ACM Board of Directors.(https://www.acmcountry.com/membership)

As we all know there is a huge problem in music (and not just in country music) with female participation – and not just at the tip of the iceberg (in terms of the big stars). At all levels of the industry, men dominate. Whether that is in management, radio, promoters, session musicians, sound technicians, pluggers, playlisters and every other facet of the industry. On that basis, without knowing the exact numbers, I would suggest that the ‘Professional Membership’ of the ACM is almost certainly male dominated (I would be amazed if it wasn’t, but if the ACM want to prove me wrong, then fantastic, just get in touch!).

The nomination process for the awards is here – https://www.acmcountry.com/voting-criteria. As you can read, some of the awards have requirements, such as reaching a certain number in the country music charts – further compounding the difficulties for female artists due to the lack of airplay opportunities. 

As such, it is little surprise to see men completely dominate the ACM award nominations. Let’s just go through some of the numbers:

Entertainer of the Year – 5 Nominations, 5 Males (100% Male)

Duo of the Year – 5 Nominations, 4 Male Duos (80% Male)

Group of the Year – 5 Nominations, 3 All Male Groups, 2 Mixed Groups (3 females out of 20 – 85% male)

New Duo/Group of the Year – 3 Nominations, 2 Male Groups (66.7% Male)

Album of the Year – 5 Nominations, 4 Males (80% Male)

Single of the Year – 5 Nominations, 4 Males (80% Male) (the female artist in this category is Bebe Rexha, who appears alongside Florida Georgia Line, further male artists)

Song of the Year – 6 Nominations, 4 Males (66.67% Male)

Video of the Year – 6 Nominations, 5 Males and a Male/Female Duo (91.67% Male)

Music Event of the Year – 5 Nominations, 4 Males (80% Male). Female artists are recognised more here, as some are ‘featured’ in these songs.

Songwriter of the Year – 5 Nominations, 5 Males (100% Male)

 

If you think this paints a sorry picture for female artists in country music, wait till you see the industry awards (https://www.acmcountry.com/noms – then scroll down) – it’s like playing a game of ‘Where’s Waldo’ finding a female name in there!

And even in one of the ‘all-female’ award categories, there is something strange…

The ‘New Female Artist of the Year’ category contains just four artists, while the ‘New Male Artist of the Year’ category contains five artists. What is that all about?

There isn’t a single category which is open to both male and female artists where there is even a 50/50 split. Not one.

Here’s the thing. I’m not here to knock the voting procedure – it is completely above board. The members vote and whichever artists receives the most votes will win the awards and receive nominations. But somehow, the make up of the voting membership has to change, to make the awards relevant and let’s face it, non misogynistic. Just look at those numbers above – it is patently ridiculous that at a time when there is a real focus on equality in the industry that a set of nominations could be so skewed in favour of one sex.

I don’t have the answer as to how exactly how that change can be made – however the industry as a whole has to look at itself (once again) and ask itself if this is right? The answer to that is a resounding no. In 2019 that is simply ridiculous…

 

 

 

 

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