200 female songwriters assemble to #GETHEARD and address gender disparity in songwriting

Only 17% of songwriters are women

Carla Marie Williams in a white t-shirt with the Girls I Rate logo, next to Naughty Boy and Simon Aldridge

On Saturday 30 June, Grammy-nominated Carla Marie Williams hosted #GETHEARD – a major event to shed light on the underreported gender gap in the songwriting business. 

In collaboration with PRS for Music, the event assembled over 200 aspiring women songwriters, giving them the opportunity to have their original songs heard by some of the most influential experts in the music industry, including Platinum-selling UK artist Naughty Boy.  

Latest data from the World Economic Forum reveals women account for 48% of jobs in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media.

But according to PRS for Music, the organisation that represents the rights of 130,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and across the globe, only 17% of its writer members are women. 

It is hoped #GETHEARD will inspire more women to take up songwriting as a profession and that opportunities like this will create an equal playing field for them to succeed in the business.

In addition to writing for Beyoncé, Carla has written songs for the likes of Little Mix, Britney Spears, Paloma Faith, Craig David, Naughty Boy, Girls Aloud, The Saturdays, Alesha Dixon and Kylie Minogue.

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Our research and experience shows that underrepresentation of creative professionals from diverse backgrounds is an industry-wide issue affecting all genres of music. This an exciting and much-needed initiative, and it’s great that PRS for Music is part of the #GETHEARD movement. Creating platforms like this to support the drive for a level playing field and champion new female talent coming through is invaluable.

Claire Jarvis, Director of Membership, PRS for Music

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I love hearing new talent. My mission is to use my leverage to get girls heard in the music industry and to help increase female representation on mainstream playlists. I will continue as long as it remains a problem!

Carla Marie Williams
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Having spent 13 years working in this fast moving and ever-changing industry, I am only just beginning to understand the intricacies of how things work myself. I’m sick and tired of seeing artists, particularly young females being taken advantage of. It’s time for things to change, I want to be a part of that.

Lily Allen, who has just released her latest self-penned album, No Shame, is one of many female music stars behind the campaign
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The industry needs to change. Women make important contributions to music and that should be recognised more. Women have just as much to say as men.

Naughty Boy, #GETHEARD panellist and campaign ambassador

 #GETHEARD Panellists

  • Rich Castillo, A&R Director, Polydor: A&R for the Voice UK TV show. Signed N-Dubz (Tulisa and Dappy individually as well), Wiley, Stefflon Don, and Mic Lowry. Also worked with Skepta, French Montana, Luis Fonsi, Labrinth, and Mick Jagger
  • Char Grant, Senior A&R, BMG: managed Little Mix and MNEK, signed Giggs and MoStack, A&R for Ray BLK and Tre Jean Marie
  • Jacque O’Leary, Senior A&R Manager, Downtown Music Public: signed Ella Henderson and Lucy Pawws (who wrote “Be The One” for Dua Lipa)
  • Carlyn Calder, Creative Manager, Sony/ATV: signed Stefflon Don’s publishing 
  • Zeon Richards, Head of A&R, Ministry of Sound Recordings: manages Wretch32 and A&R at Ministry of Sound 
  • Adele White, Senior Urban A&R Manager, Island Records: signed Not3s and Nadia Rose

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation it works to ensure that creators are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators worldwide. In 2017, 6.6 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £717m collected on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PRS for Music is also part of the joint venture company, PPL PRS Ltd, which issues TheMusicLicence, giving businesses in the UK access to over 22.2 million musical works.