100 Women Changing Music: PRS for Music celebrates female songwriters and composers

Nearly 2,000 women registered as professional songwriters and composers in the UK in 2019, up 60% year-on-year

Image of three PRS for Music members
Above: Songwriters Cathy Dennis, Mabel, Jin Jin

PRS for Music has revealed a list of 100 of the most successful and influential female songwriters and composers in the UK in its PRS 100 Women Changing Music chart.

Celebrating its female membership, the society which represents over 145,500 songwriters, composers and music publishers, is promoting the chart ahead of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2020.

Showcasing, in alphabetical order, the most popular female songwriters and composers of 2019, the PRS 100 Women Changing Music chart lists those who had their music streamed, downloaded, broadcast, and performed the most, in a year that saw over 18.8 trillion “plays” of music reported to the organisation.

The list features some of the most highly-acclaimed music creators in the UK across pop, grime, dance, classical, film, TV and contemporary music, from multi-platinum-selling Annie Lennox OBE, to singer-songwriter Mabel, who took home her first BRIT Award for British Female Solo Artist earlier this year.

Women continue to lead the way in British music. Adele has remained the most popular female songwriter for the past five years, while The Spice Girls’ Spice World 2019 Tour grossed over £60,000,000, selling out stadiums UK-wide.

The chart shines a light on female collaboration, with powerhouses Cathy Dennis, Jessie J, and Florence Welch having co-written for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Rhianna, Sia, and Miley Cyrus. Equally, it exposes a wealth of female talent that have contributed to the success of some of the most famous British male acts too; Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran), Jin Jin (Tinie Tempah, Olly Murs), and Kamille (Westlife, The Script, Jax Jones), to name a few.

Media writers also feature throughout the list. Academy Award, BAFTA and Emmy winning television and film composers Debbie Wiseman OBE (Father Brown, Land Girls), Rachel Portman OBE (Oliver Twist, Chocolat, Emma), Anne Dudley (The Full Monty, American History X) and Carly Paradis (Line of Duty, Moon), are joined by upcoming promising composers Isobel Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Black Mirror) and PJ Harvey (The Virtues).

PRS for Music saw a 60% year-on-year increase in women joining the organisation as professional songwriters and composers last year, up from 1,097 in 2018, to 1,755 in 2019. Almost two thirds (63%) of those who joined were under the age of 30.

Despite these positive trends, gender disparity is still a major concern across the wider music industry. PRS for Music’s membership remains heavily skewed towards men, with only 18.4% of members identifying as female. In 2019, the top 10 female songwriters and composers in the UK generated 67% less revenue from their music being used compared to their top 10 male counterparts, revealing that women, even at the top of their field, receive less opportunities than men for their music to be heard and performed.

Throughout the music industry, there are encouraging steps being made towards re-balancing the current gender gap. PRS Foundation launched its pioneering Keychange initiative in 2017, empowering women and gender minorities to transform the future of the music industry and encouraging festivals and music organisations to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. Over 300 festivals and music organisations around the world have signed up to the pledge so far.

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While it’s encouraging to see an increase in female songwriters and composers joining PRS for Music, this number is still dwarfed by 5,580 male songwriters joining in the same year, which means there is still work to do. As the music industry works together towards a more equal gender balance across every aspect of its landscape, we will continue to work with our members, peers and sister organisations to encourage and support songwriters and composers from every background.

Claire Jarvis, Director of Membership, PRS for Music

PRS 100 Women Changing Music List

  • Adele
  • Alannah Currie (Thompson Twins)
  • Alison Mosshart (The Kills, The Dead Weather)
  • Aluna Francis (AlunaGeorge)
  • Amanda Ghost
  • Amy Macdonald
  • Amy Wadge
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Angie Gold
  • Anne Dudley
  • Anne Nikitin
  • Anne-Marie
  • Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)
  • Arlissa
  • Becky Hill
  • Birdy
  • Björk
  • Carly Paradis
  • Cathy Dennis
  • Charli XCX
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Debbie Wiseman
  • Des'ree
  • Dido
  • Dua Lipa
  • Duffy
  • Dyo
  • Elena Tonra (Daughter)
  • Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins)
  • Ella Eyre
  • Ella Henderson
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Ellie Rowsell (Wolf Alice)
  • Emeli Sandé
  • Emma Bunton (Spice Girls)
  • Enya
  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine)
  • Frances
  • Freya Ridings
  • Gabrielle
  • Gala
  • Galia Megan Durant
  • Geri Halliwell (Spice Girls)
  • Gillian Gilbert (New Order)
  • Grace Chatto (Clean Bandit)
  • Hannah Reid (London Grammar)
  • Helen Jane Long
  • Imogen Heap
  • Ina
  • Isabella Summers (Florence + The Machine)
  • Isobel Waller-Bridge
  • Jade Bird
  • Jess Glynne
  • Jessie J
  • Jessie Ware
  • Jin Jin
  • Joan Armatrading
  • Jorja Smith
  • Josephine Vander Gucht (Oh Wonder)
  • Kamille
  • Karen Poole
  • Kate Bush
  • KT Tunstall
  • Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES)
  • Lily Allen
  • Linda McCartney
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Louise Dowd
  • Lucy Taylor
  • M.I.A.
  • Mabel
  • MARINA (Marina and the Diamonds)
  • Mel B (Spice Girls)
  • Melanie C (Spice Girls)
  • Miranda Cooper
  • Miriam Nervo
  • Nainita Desai
  • NAO
  • Olivia Nervo
  • PJ Harvey
  • Rachel Portman
  • Raye
  • Rita Ora
  • Róisín Murphy (Moloko)
  • Romy Madley Croft (The xx)
  • Ruth Barrett
  • Sade
  • Sarah Blanchard
  • Sarah Class
  • Shania Twain
  • Sharleen Spiteri (Texas)
  • Shaznay Lewis (All Saints)
  • Stefflon Don
  • Tanita Tikaram
  • Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl)
  • Victoria Beckham (Spice Girls)
  • Wendy Elizabeth Pigott
  • Zeriiya Zekkariyas (formerly Linda Womack)

NB: Names appear in alphabetical order and show most influential songwriters of 2019.

 
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