Jaguar Foundation findings highlight ongoing gender disparity in dance music

The report was supported by the Sony Music UK Social Justice Fund, with research lead and primary author Nicola Davies.

Liam Konemann
  • By Liam Konemann
  • 3 Aug 2022
  • min read

The Jaguar Foundation has released the findings of its report, Progressing Gender Representation in UK Dance Music

The foundation was set up by DJ and Radio 1 Dance host Jaguar in 2020 to improve the pipeline of female, trans and non-binary talent in dance music. Drawing on research from a range of artists and industry executives, the report sets out both qualitative and quantitative data on gender balance in the genre. It was supported by the Sony Music UK Social Justice Fund, with research lead and primary author Nicola Davies.

The report found evidence of gender disparity across a range of areas within dance music overall, including in the live industry, radio airplay, on streaming platforms and in the gender balance of music organisation employees. It also explored a number of other discriminatory issues that female and non-binary people face, from pay disparity to a lack of safe spaces in venues.  

Progressing Gender Representation in UK Dance Music highlighted a lack of mainstream representation for female or non-binary artists, with just 5 percent of UK charting dance music featuring exclusively female or non-binary primary artists. A similar pattern is evident across radio airplay, with less than 1 percent of the top 200 most played tracks from 12 UK radio stations across 2020-21 featuring only female or non-binary artists. Meanwhile, female-fronted acts made up just 25 percent of the tracklist on key electronic music playlists on Spotify. 

The Jaguar Foundation report also explores how the live industry offers fewer opportunities for female and non-binary artists and those from minority backgrounds. The gender balance of the UK live industry overall was not highlighted as a point of concern, but the disparity increased at higher levels, with men occupying 63 percent of senior roles compared to the 37 percent for women.

Progressing Gender Representation in UK Dance Music follows a report by the 2022 International Music Summit (IMS) showing that UK dance/electronic music is increasing as a share of people's listening for the first time in eight years. The global dance industry’s value is estimated at $6 billion. 

The Jaguar Foundation makes several recommendations in the report to address the highlighted issues, in areas such as education, accessible working environments, measurement of progress, safety & inclusion riders, and heightened awareness of line-ups and venues. The researchers collected data sets from Skiddle (live events), the Official Charts Company (sales and streaming data), Viberate (festival line-ups) and Chartmetric (pronoun database and radio airplay data) to create the most a comprehensive picture of the landscape. 

Alongside this data, qualitative research was conducted through roundtable discussions with female, trans and non-binary people working in and around the industry, including founders of collectives, journalists and academics. The research team also conducted one-to-one industry stakeholder interviews with people working as booking agents and label executives, and artist interviews across a wide range of ages, genres, ethnicities, regional location and artist type.

Jaguar says, ‘I’m proud to bring this groundbreaking gender report out into the world. My overarching mission is to make the world a better place through my work, and bringing equality to the dance world is a huge priority for me. My hope is that this becomes a springboard for much needed change in the electronic music industry, and makes women and non-binary people feel supported and represented.’

The full report is available here.