For years, the country’s major festivals have been criticized for offering a stage to mostly male musicians. But there is also a so-called gender gap behind the scenes. According to a new study, more than 85 percent of the music in the German charts is composed by men. In the period under review, the proportion of men even increased: in 2010, 86 percent of the authors in the top 100 single charts were male, in 2019 it was 91 percent.
An absolute rarity are all-female songwriting teams: Their share fell from 3.3 percent to 0.5 percent in the same period of nine years. “Most of the time, men produce with men,” according to the authors of the study. The survey was initiated by the MaLisa Foundation. That organization was founded by the actress Maria Furtwängler and her daughter – the musician Elisabeth Furtwängler. In an interview with the “Frankfurter Rundschau” she said about the results: “The strongest barriers are in production.” Women are accepted and wanted as singers. “But the technical side, the production on the computer, for example, the structure of a song, the manipulation of sounds and arrangements,” claimed men for themselves.
Study initiator pleads for quota regulation
The study is to be presented on Thursday (September 22nd) at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Among other things, a panel discussion is planned with the title “The end of the buddy business? Who will shape the sound of the future?” In order to counteract the gender gap in songwriting, Elisabeth Furtwängler advocates a quota rule: “If you don’t work with quotas as part of the solution, then nothing will change. It would move so much if there was a 50/50 ratio for broadcaster playlists.”