On the 9th March, three third year Music Management students held a conference at Southampton Solent; focusing on women in the music industry. The conference was curated by Jo Howarth, Maddy Howell and Eliska Kubeckova.

The conference consisted of 6 different panels covering a wide range of different music areas, with music experts from their respective field. Their were panels on Management, PR, DJing, Bands/Live performance and an intro into the music industry.

Jo Howarth and Hannah Head (Solent Student Union) opened up the conference with facts of women in the music industry. Showing the disparaging amount of female performers on festival line ups. Also showing the fact that only 30% of senior roles within the music industry are held by women but then Jo moved onto some more hopeful facts showing that the Brit Judging Panel is now 48% women and that women are getting more internships into the music industry then men are.

“We need to have an open conversation.”(Hannah Head SSU)

Then the conference moved into different rooms. One of the panels was on PR in the music industry, with experts like Debra Geddes (Great Northern PR), Debbie Ball (Create Spark) and also Annette Lee (Head of Press at 4AD) they discussed their history within the music industry, the evolving nature of PR and the key signs to look out for when getting PR and who to go for.

“Appeal to people differently for the platform…make it as compelling as possible for that audience/market” (Annette Lee)

Along side this panel we had Women in the DJ World, with panelist Natalia Data. Natalia Data has performed under her name in lots of different countries and playing sets at Glastonbury and Glade. During this panel Natalia, broke down her own personal experiences as a DJ in music, the culture for women in this world of music and showcasing her own music.

Then the next two panels begun. One of them being on Artist Management with Ellie Giles (Freelance Manager, Bill Ryder Jones) and Amanda Wheeler (Red Light). With Jo Howarth directing the questions to the experts. This panel broke down how they got into artist management, the evolving market place, physical sales vs streaming.

“Number One thing about management is passion, passion for the music…this will give you the drive to power through for your artist.” (Amanda Wheeler)

“I have to play different games for different artists…I have one artist who streams loads and another which doesn’t do well with streaming but better with physical sales.” (Ellie Giles)

Alongside the Artist Management panel, their was also a panel about Music Photography. This panel consisted of current student Georgia Penny (Freelance photographer, touring photographer) and Popular Music Journalism Alumni Isha Shah (Interscope Records, Freelance Photographer). In this panel they spoke about why they went into photography, their wealth of knowledge and personal experiences and the difficulties of being female photographers in the music industry.

Just before the final panel we had a stripped back live performance from BASH! Check out their music via the link: BASH!

The final panel was on performance and had three incredible guests on the panel; Kathryn Woods (Punk band – Fresh), Charley Stride (Solo Artist) and Laura Kidd (She Makes War). With host of the panel Esther Frake navigating the panel through the artists’ history within music, sexism they have experienced within music and  importance of image with the competitive market of music.

“I resent the fact that they look at my image more than the music sometimes…When I moved outside the bubble of music I was in, I was shocked about how image of artists’ was portayed” (Kathryn Wood)

“The word ‘female fronted/girl band’ is a weird phrase and draws away from the artist and puts them in this narrow spectrum.” (Laura Kidd).

This conference was an incredible experience and very well put together by Jo Howarth, Maddy Howell and Eliska Kubeckova, with their team. We have videos for some of the panels too coming soon.