Who would have thought that your favourite vodka brand would be getting involved in an initiative to promote women’s equality in the music industry? In the spirit of International Women’s day, Smirnoff have teamed up with Spotify to create an extension that allows you to see the ratio of male to female artists that you listen to based on your listening history from the last six months. According to Spotify data, all of the top ten most streamed tracks were by males in 2017, with no female artists or bands featured. The Smirnoff Equaliser will offer users a tailor made playlist, with an equal representation of both male and female artists. It will also feature a slider that will enable users to increase the amount of women artists in their playlist.
I tried out the Equaliser myself and was so surprised to find that 69% of of the artists I listen to are male and only 31% women. I was almost in denial when I first saw the figures and refreshed the page to try it again. As someone who identifies as a feminist, how could my music taste be so male orientated? But, alas, the figures don’t lie and I had to face the fact that I too am guilty of listening to more male artists. This obviously wasn’t a conscious decision but it’s definitely opened my eyes to the disproportionate gender balance in my playlists and I’m going to make a conscious efforts to change that.
The fact that this Equaliser is even needed, demonstrates that society still has a way to go until females can obtain the same equality and representation as men. This inequality is evident too in festival lineups, where 80% of festival headliners are male. Smirnoff have also pledged to increase women’s representation as headliners to 50% by 2020.
One of the artists that Smirnoff have teamed up with is African-American transgender DJ Honey Dijon. She has been praised for being an advocate of LGBTQ+ and women’s rights and personal music style that defies being assigned to specific genres. In a promotional video on Smirnoff’s website, she states: “I think what’s most important about this is to have the visibility to allow people to feel that they can do this, and that their gender wont restrict them from being a part of it. Music is better when everyone is involved.”
It’s such a shame that so many amazing female artists are overlooked in the music industry because they are not receiving as much representation as male artists. The more people that install this extension, the more females can receive the attention and praise they deserve for their music. Some of my personal favourite female artists at the moment are Mahalia, Molly Nilsson and Jorja Smith- so check them out if you haven’t already!
Find out your listening habits at the Smirnoff Equaliser Online