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PRS for Music says that more women are registering as professional songwriters, but they’re still underrepresented and earn less than their male counterparts

Michelle Escoffery
Michelle Escoffery (Image credit: Ernest Simons)

First the good news: new figures released today - International Women’s Day - by PRS for Music show that the number of women registering as professional songwriters and composers in the UK in 2020 was up 12.3% year on year. However, despite this step forward, men still make up 81.7% of PRS for Music’s membership.

A total of 1,971 new women songwriters and composers registered with PRS for Music in 2020 - the organisation represents more than 150,000 UK music creators and publishers in total - and more than half of the women joining are under the age of 30. However, despite this progress, the total percentage of women members still falls well short of the proportion of women that UK Music claims makes up the music industry workforce overall (49.6%).

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.

Michelle Escoffery

PRS for Music also reports a significant gender pay gap between male and female songwriters, with the top 10 highest-earning female songwriters and composers generating 70% less income than their male counterparts in 2020. Worryingly, this figure is up on 2019, when the difference was 67%.

What’s more, 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%) were women, indicating that many women are still struggling to get their music heard.

Commenting on the figures, 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.”

Find out more about diversity and inclusion at PRS for Music.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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