Tipping the scales: PRS for Music reveal membership gender data

To honour International Women’s Day, PRS for Music have revealed data that shows an increase in the number of women registering as composers and songwriters.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 10 Mar 2021
  • min read

In 2020, PRS for Music recorded 1,971 women registering as professional songwriters and composers. This represents a 12.3 percent year-on-year increase compared to 2019, and near twofold increase (79.6 percent) compared to 2018, when 1,097 women registered. Over half (58 percent) of women joining PRS for Music in 2020 were under the age of 30.

Despite progress, men make up 81.7 percent of PRS for Music’s membership, which is significantly higher than the music industry as a whole. Umbrella body, UK Music, reported the proportion of women working in the music industry had reached a record high of 49.6 percent in its latest Diversity Report for 2020.

While last year was an unprecedented financial year for the entire music industry due to the pandemic, male music creators still earned more money than women.

Research released today found that the top 10 highest earning female songwriters and composers, generated 70 percent less income than their male counterparts in 2020. The drop in income for women reflects a widening of the gap compared to 2019, where the deficit between the highest earning men and women was 67 percent.

Of all songwriters and composers who received a royalty in 2020 from their music being streamed, downloaded, broadcast, or performed, only one in six (16.7 percent) were women, highlighting the ongoing challenges women face as music creators when vying for opportunities for their music to be heard.

Andrea Czapary Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, said: ’Celebratory moments in the year like International Women’s Day are an important opportunity to reflect on the progress being made for gender equality around the world. PRS for Music and our industry has a long way to go. Initiatives like, Keychange, led by our charity partner, PRS Foundation, are doing incredibly important work to create a more sustainable and stronger music community for all genders. Creating equity and access to opportunity should be at the forefront of everything we do.’

Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter and president of the PRS Members’ Council, Michelle Escoffery, said: ‘We are incredibly proud to welcome almost 2,000 women joining the PRS for Music community as professional songwriters and composers in 2020, showing creativity is alive and well. Dedication to the craft is still thriving and music creators have shown great resilience through the pandemic. While promising, this number represents just a quarter of our new joiners. We continue to work closely with our members and wider music community to inspire the next generation of music creators from all backgrounds, as we all work together towards a more balanced, representative music industry.’