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New social enterprise launched to grow The F-List initiative

By | Published on Monday 23 November 2020

The F-List

A new social enterprise has launched today to support and expand on The F-List directory, an online resource that lists artists, bands, songwriters and composers who identify as female. The aim of the directory is to encourage and enable more festivals and commissioners to book and work with more female music-makers, and to build a community of those musicians.

The directory began as a simple spreadsheet compiled by equality and diversity campaigner Vick Bain, who has been regularly sharing the results of her PhD research that is documenting the careers of women in the music industry, and the extra barriers female music-makers and industry execs routinely have to tackle. That spreadsheet has now evolved into a full online directory.

Among the stats Bain has compiled through her research are that only 14% of UK writers and composers signed to publishers, and just 20% of artists signed to record labels, are female.

And, while certain music festivals have sought to book more diverse talent, many major events continue to have male-dominated bills, in some cases with the upper-level of the line-up being entirely male. Bain compiled the initial F-List spreadsheet after some festival bookers said that they wanted to book more diverse line-ups but they “didn’t know where to find female acts”.

The new company set up to expand on Bain’s work, called The F-List CIC, has also announced composer and musician Anoushka Shankar as its first President. Commenting on that role, Shankar says: “I am delighted to represent this fantastically talented and committed community, who are passionate about creating opportunities for the great wealth of female talent that exists in the UK”.

“The F-List is the first initiative of its kind to give female artists and musicians a platform where they can be discovered”, she goes on. “Its breath-taking thoroughness and scope nullifies any excuses from people in the music industry who blame a lack of representation and diversity by saying there’s a dearth of women to hire. But it’s also a supportive network that can transform the music industry into a place that better represents, and reflects, the richness and diversity in British society”.

Bain herself adds that, through the new enterprise, she wants to build “a nationwide network that represents the interests of all female artists and musicians in the UK, and spearheads projects and initiatives that match their ambition”.

With a network involving “so many talented and experienced women who are committed to creating the lasting changes that are so desperately needed in the music industry … I believe we can empower more female artists to successfully start and sustain their careers in music”.

You can find out more about The F-List here.