Why did almost no women perform at Coachella this year?
Let’s get in formation
Countless USC students migrated east to the desert oasis in Indio, CA for America’s most influential music event – Coachella. Over the span of two weekends, 198,000 tickets were sold to gross $94.2 million.
While the festival boasts some of the most famous names in music, Coachella has consistently underrepresented women in the music industry.
Since its inception in 1999, female-fronted music groups have only comprised, on average, about 16 percent of the total acts.
Coachella did attempt to be more inclusive this year with Lady GaGa – who replaced Beyoncé – as headliner. Nonetheless, GaGa was the first woman to headline since Bjork in 2007. In the nearly 20 year history, they are the only two female headliners ever selected.
Considering 55 percent of festival-goers are women, the number of participating female artists should be reflective of that, yet, it appears Coachella is an embodiment of the larger gender disparity problem in the industry.
The music industry has consistently underrepresented women. While some of music’s biggest stars are female, women are expected to only fulfill specific roles.
The most popular role for the female musician is singing, and just about everything else is a boy’s club. In 2015, Billboard reported only 3.2 percent of top 40 producers were women. For genres in which the producers are the biggest stars, like EDM, the gender divide is even more visible.
Current USC Thornton student and EDM producer, Madi Walsh, has experienced this firsthand.
“I absolutely feel that my credibility is lowered because I’m female,” Walsh said.
She also admits that sometimes when collaborating with others, she has only been valued as a vocalist and not as a co-producer. Sadly, because production correlates with technology and leadership – strengths traditionally considered masculine – women are often deemed unsuitable by male counterparts.
Production is not the only industry position where women are underrepresented. Billboard also claims in 2015, only 13.5 percent of songwriters and 25.8 percent of performers in the Top 40 were women, proving a major gender divide even in industry positions associated with femininity.
While Goldenvoice is blind to their male-dominant Coachella lineups, we can make an effort to support the next generation of women in music.
Below are songs from emerging female music students that attend the USC Thornton School of Music, one of the best in the country. Coachella lineup 2K18?
Madeleine Mayi, Sophomore
Genre(s): Indie Pop
Madi Walsh, Freshman
Haleigh Bowers, Senior
Genre(s): Pop, R&B
McCall Kimball, Freshman
Genre(s): Pop, Blues