With 83 Million paying subscribers as of June 2018, i think its safe to say that Spotify isn’t doing too badly. Gone are the days of teens illegally downloading terrible quality music online. Not to mention it was ruining the music industry throughout the 00’s.

Despite mixed opinions on the impact of the popular streaming service upon the music industry, music is becoming increasingly accessible, which is great right? Even artists that aren’t able to make the ‘Top of the Charts’, can still rake in the money through Spotify. Ill give you an example. Independent London record Label 37 adventures, signed Jones, a soulful singer-songwriter, to the label. Not a particularly big artist, however she plays mid-sized venues in London. Yet her debut album failed to make even the Top 200. Whereas on Spotify, she was a roaring success, being streamed more than 70m times. Sahil Varma, who works for the label said “That equates to revenue of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Five years ago, with such low sales, she would have been dropped the week after her album came out.”

SoundGirls Partnership – EQL Directory

With big U.S stars like Drake and Post Malone dominating the music industry, the fact that any old ‘Jenny from the Block’ can still have the opportunity to be successful through Spotify is amazing. As a company, Spotify have recently teamed up with non-profit organisation SoundGirls. This is to launch the EQL Directory, which is a global database of women working in music. Sounds good to me. Well, SoundGirls dedicate themselves to creating opportunities for women in music. This was recognized by Kerry Steib (Spotify’s director of social impact), who admitted that:

”Increasing equity for women in these fields is a complex problem to solve”.

With this in mind, they feel that by working with partners in the industry, great solutions will be created! For more information visit: Spotify Newsroom.

Spotify in 2018

The end of the year means one thing. The Spotify results are in. Unfortunately its not good news. Firstly the most-streamed artists of 2018 are as follows. Drake, Post Malone, XXXTentacion, J Balvin and Ed Sheeran. Notice a trend? All male. This may seem terrible, but its not the first time this has happened. Last year even, the top five most-streamed consisted of only men. Ariana Grande, who just so happens to be Billboard’s Woman of the Year, had something to say about this gender inequality. Referring to the Charts she told Billboard:

 “It’s just so male-dominated. It’s so easy for them. There are so many unbelievable female artists out there that try so much harder.”

Spotify also released a chart for ‘Female Artists of the Year’, as the broader category was taken over by males. With the likes of Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande, its shocking to think they need their own category to stand a chance at being in the top five. In fact Dua, who was the most-streamed female artist in 2017, said that ”For a male artist, people instantly assume they write their own music, but for women, the assume its all manufactured”. Seems that these Spotify charts are frustrating for the artists themselves not only us. Never mind the fact that the 22 year old co-wrote the majority of her Brit award-winning debut album?!

Warner Music Sweden [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These male dominated chart results are perhaps because of Spotify’s curated playlists that consist mainly of men. In 2017, the top playlist was RapCaviar, which was fifty-tracks worth with 9 million followers. And take a guess at home many female-led songs their were on the playlist…ONE.

The ‘Smirnoff Equalizer’

In order to solve the algorithmic issue, Spotify announced a brand partnership called ‘The Smirnoff Equalizer’. In simple terms, the companies claimed that this new app would be able to analyze users listening habits. Therefore the gender ratio of their experience is equalized. Only a slight issue. The fact that gender bias are reproduced over and over on Spotify, makes this issue very difficult to solve. For example, if a users listens to mostly playlists that are male dominated, what will Spotify do? Produce even more male-dominated playlists based on these ‘preferences’. Quite possibly this whole ‘Smirnoff Equalizer’ is just an advertising scheme, continuing to uphold the sexism within the music industry.

When you think of Spotify, i’m pretty sure that playlists come to mind rather than albums. Am i right? Well after taking a look into some of the most popular playlists such as ‘Today’s Top Hit’s’ and ‘New Music Friday’, it seems that these playlists that Spotify is continuously forcing you to follow are completely full of male artists. To shade this imbalance, you may have seen genre specific playlists by Women. ‘Women of Pop’, ‘Women of Rock’, ‘Women of Hip-Hop’, the list goes on. Is this not suggesting that the female gender should be recognized more over their music? Just my opinion.

Anyway, here’s my solution to this Gender imbalance. This weeks playlist! My very own Top Hits 2018, full of all my favorite Male and Female artists. Get listening!