This article for Women Creators is part two of an article series by Amber Parkin. To head back to part 1, Women in Music: Building a Strong Music Community for Gender Equality, click here.
Community building is frequently discussed as a solution to the gender equality challenge faced by women and non-binary individuals in the music industry — both on the mic and in the boardroom.
For example, according to the 2022 Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Report, women represented only 30% of the 160 artists on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart. Men made up 69.4%, and artists who identified as non-binary made up less than 1%. That 30% representation number is slightly better than the 11-year average, which places women at 22.3% of the total. The numbers are not as rosy behind the scenes.
How do we challenge these numbers? As addressed in a previous article, spaces and communities are crucial for empowerment and support — they combine your smaller, individual efforts to achieve larger goals faster and more ambitiously. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to expand your network, here are ten ideas to help you build new connections:
Create an online presence.
It’s usually the first advice anyone gives about making connections in the music industry, and that’s because it works. Make yourself discoverable by establishing an online presence by creating a website or using platforms like SoundCloud, YouTube, or Bandcamp to showcase your work. Sharing your music and engaging with your audience can attract other people in the industry.
Keep using social media.
Not only is social media the crème de la crème for music discovery (TikTok being the most popular amongst Gen Z — used by 45% of those aged 18-24), but social platforms can be powerful tools for finding your community. There are the usual suspects like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, but I’ve also found support and inspiration through the likes of Reddit. Follow and engage with female musicians, producers, managers, and other industry professionals. Join music-related groups and forums where discussions and connections are actively happening.
Attend industry events.
Look for music industry events, conferences, workshops, and seminars in your area or online. Many of these events offer networking opportunities. Attend those that are relevant to your genre or area of interest. When I worked at a rehearsal studio network, my hands down favourite thing to do was get out to events and meet people, the artists and producers who used our spaces. It genuinely was the highlight of my job! Through some of these events, I met many fantastic people we collaborated with on writing, photography and other projects.
Join women-focused music organisations.
Many organisations are dedicated to supporting women in music, such as Women in Music, She Is The Music, and the F-List. Joining these groups can provide access to exclusive events, forums, and networking opportunities. Looking for one in your country or region is the first step.
Collaborate on projects.
Seek opportunities to work with other musicians, songwriters, producers, and artists. Collaborative projects can lead to valuable connections and open doors to new opportunities.
Take a global perspective.
International collaboration is an excellent source of inspiration, mainly when working with people in a different culture. While there’s still a bit of a latency problem to be solved, there are considerable benefits in connecting with artists worldwide.
Attend female-focused workshops and masterclasses.
Look for workshops and masterclasses designed explicitly for women in music. These events often include networking sessions to meet and connect with like-minded individuals. They’re out there, happening the world over — for example, Mix Nights is an initiative for aspiring and emerging DJs in the UK, while in New Zealand, Women About Sound offers songwriting workshops and more.
Online networking platforms.
Well, there is always LinkedIn. But why not consider specialised music industry platforms like Music Gateway or ReverbNation, which often have features for connecting with other professionals in the industry? Create a compelling profile and actively reach out.
Attend local music shows and open mics.
Support local female artists by attending their shows and open mic nights. These events can be excellent places to start conversations with musicians, songwriters, and others who share your interests. My friend Kate in Los Angeles, aka Feathers, is the queen of connecting via performance (and sharing it all on Instagram).
Attend virtual events.
In addition to in-person events, explore virtual events and webinars (like Byta’s very own series #HowWeListen). These can be convenient ways to network from the comfort of your space.
Remember that this is all about building relationships, so be patient and persistent. It’s not just about what you can get but also what you can give. Be genuine in your interactions, offer support and encouragement to your fellow artists, and be willing to help when possible. Over time, your network of women in the music industry can become a valuable resource for collaboration, mentorship, and career growth.
Ten Practical Tips: Finding a Community for Women Creators is part two of an article series by Amber Parkin. To head back to part 1, Women in Music: Building a Strong Music Community for Gender Equality, click here.
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