Despite progress made to level the playing field by CMT, AppleMusic and the organization Change the Conversation, the gender imbalance in country music remains an issue. It even caught the eye of Samantha Bee, who devoted an entire segment to the shortage of Nashville women on country radio on this week’s Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.
In just seven minutes, comic book correspondents Sasheer Zamata and Amy Hoggart, on the ground in Nashville, are breaking the industry balls not only with wisecracks, but with real facts. Since 2000, there has been a 66% drop in songs by female artists on country radio, they point out, citing Dr. Jada E. Watson’s study “Gender Representation on Country Format Radio”.
They also meet with artists Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker, Mickey Guyton and Margo Price (who performs his new song “Stone Me”) and CMT director Leslie Fram, who knocks out Zamata and Hoggart explaining the role of radio country in the genre. “Why is radio still a big problem in the country? Do you still use rotary phones? Asks Hoggart.
Guyton also raised the issue of race in country music and how it fits with the lack of women played. “Black people love country music, and there are so many people who look like me who love country music and that’s what I’m here to do,” said Guyton, who tweeted his frustration over the problem more early this week.
In the end, Zamata and Hoggart commit to finding a phrase that women in country music can rally around – but “Twang’s Up” is the best they can do.
“Ask yourself this question, what do you want your daughter to know about herself?” Said Carlile. “And if you can’t get that from country music or you can’t get that from country radio, that’s a problem.”