Stop Asking Me What It’s Like to Be a Woman in Music…

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I recently profiled DJ/producer/vocalist Anna Lunoe in a lengthy interview conducted at Decibel Festival. In the interview she discusses her approach to social media, which involves both being open with fans and calling out problematic issues when she sees them.

I previously covered a discussion she started on the number of women playing electronic music festivals. She posted an infographic put together by THUMP showing exactly how many women some of the larger electronic festivals booked. Movement and Mutek had the highest percentage of women on the list, hovering just above nine percent.

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For the record, the number of women booked at Decibel was significantly higher than other festivals. I feel their numbers are more in line with the realities of the industry.

Decibel booked 144 acts. Twenty six of acts booked were women or groups with at least one female member… A whopping 18.1 percent.

Decibel founder and curator Sean Horton responded to a tweet I sent praising the number of women they booked. He thanked me for noticing, implying that Decibel made a conscious effort to be more balanced.This issue is a complex one, and there are constructive and unconstructive ways to discuss it.

A Facebook post Anna Lunoe posted in February is still very relevant. Lunoe addresses the neverending “women in music” questions that female musicians are asked in interviews. Unfortunately, many women are asked: “What do you think of Miley Cyrus?”. This type of question is irrelevant and brings nothing to the table.

I’ve seen everyone from riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna to my favorite up-and-coming singer/rapper/producer Adi Ulmansky face the “what do you think of Miley Cyrus” interview question… Why?

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Check out Anna Lunoe’s Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud.

Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more for Digital Music News. In her spare time she heads music blog West Coast Fix. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

11 Responses

  1. Question from yesterday

    Nina, I’ve always been curious about something and this article makes it a good time to ask. How do you feel about a DJs podcast not paying artists and basically being illegal? You say you love it for new music which is a big reason labels intentionally service the music to DJs. Yet so many times those same labels and artists take action against the very same process. Not in all cases of course because so many illegal sites don’t really “help” but when it comes to DJs, for decades they’ve been the foundation of breaking artists. Then you have a strange occurrence when their illegal podcasts can sit on iTunes with no trouble, but sitting on SoundCloud makes it a problem.

    At least this is how I percieve it but please correct me if I’m wrong. And also, without looking for a big debate to start, I was genuinely just curious of your stance. Always been, but seeing that you pointed out how you appreciate Anna’s podcast I figured I’d ask.

    • Nina Ulloa

      That’s a really good question.

      I think with podcasts like Anna Lunoe’s, which are recordings of DJ mixes, she’s helping to boost smaller and medium sized artists. If she was spinning rich DJs with Vegas residencies and was monetizing her mixes I would have a different opinion. It’s also interesting that SoundCloud mixes get so much shit, but I listen to Rebecca & Fiona’s iTunes mix podcasts as well, and they seem to have no trouble.

      Artists and label who own the recordings could ask Anna to take it down/have the music removed, and that would be their right. I think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot, but wouldn’t argue with their right to do so. I’d be pretty annoyed if SoundCloud were to take down her mixes. The tracks are mixed into each other, so it’s hard to rip them.

      Labels are obviously very confused and fragmented in their approach. Ultra, for example, who seems to have given Michelle Phan permission to promo their music on YouTube but then sued her.

      • Anonymous

        Theyre not confused or fragmented over that… They have a fiduciary duty as the owners of the Master recordings to ensure others dont use their property to make commercial gains, thats all…

        Depending on a multitude of things, it can appear to be fragmented…

        These purity free sharers or whatever you want to call them come off like gypsy squatters wondering why the home owner comes home and chases them around yielding an axe and getting all upset about it…

        And believe me, with what they do to me, its hard to say shit like this…

  2. Anonymous

    Only goes to show a complete lack of understanding on how that show works…

  3. Anonymous

    be blessed and thankful a show media stooge even cares what you have to say about anything, bow to their superiority as our great leaders and deities…


  4. Guy who asked the question

    Confused and fragmented is actually 100% on point. Who ever else is commenting on this thread clearly doesn’t work with or for record labels. I can remember sitting in Promotions as far back as 2004 being handed cease and desist letters to the very DJs we were servicing with music. What’s more sad than that though is that the labels have barely changed in the past 10 years, while the tech industry is in warp speed.

    One thing I know for sure though. DJs will be here serving the purpose they always have. Breaking new music for artists. And that’s with or without soundcloud, youtube, FM radio, or any major record labels.

  5. Anonymous

    The low percentage of women performing at electronic music festivals proves nothing.

    More context is needed. For example, what percentage of electronic musicians are female? If that percentage is itself very low, then why should we expect 50/50 representation at festivals?

    Not everything is a conspiracy, after all.

    • Nina Ulloa

      I said I believe Decibel festival is more in line with realities aka it’s not a 50/50 split.

      It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a sexist attitude that permeates our entire society. Exactly why Anna Lunoe said “Why are there less women in the upper levels of ALL industries?”

      • Anonymous

        Im a middle age result getting hard working peaceful white man and where the fuck can i get some goddamn respect and equality and opportunity in this world??

        Im about to raise up a goddamn picket group for middle aged white men and the goddamn lack of respect and equality we are currently facing in the World….

        Whos with me?