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Smirnoff enlists Annie Mac to 'equalize' music's gender imbalance

In a bid to turn the diversity dial in the music industry, Smirnoff has launched an ‘Equalising Music Pledge’ initiative spearheaded by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Annie Mac.

The pledge is part of Smirnoff’s three-year multi-million ‘Equalising Music’ campaign which aims to accelerate gender parity in the music industry. Although gender equality has come a long way in the past 50 years, female representation in the music industry is still concerningly low.

Only 17% of the registered songwriters for PRS for Music Limited – the UK’s largest music copyright collective – are female. Further, the gender pay gap at major music companies averages at 30%, while only 15% of labels are majority owned by women.

Smirnoff hopes to change this reality through the ‘Equalising Music Pledge,’ which will challenge people in the music industry to do one significant thing for gender equality in 2019. Heading the pledge, Mac will use her voice as a radio DJ to encourage her listeners and her industry peers to make a difference.

The initiative is endorsed by the PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative and supported by Coda.

Sam Salameh, head of Smirnoff said: “Smirnoff set up Equalising in Music in 2017 because the music industry had been sidelining female talent for too long. So far we’ve raised awareness of unconscious bias towards female artists with Spotify, redressed the gender imbalance at festivals including Wireless, Lost Village and Snowbombing and empowered the next generation of female talent through a series of DJ and mentorship workshops.

“And we’re continuing to put our money where our mouth is. This year we’re proud to be partnering with Annie Mac, one of the UK’s leading music tastemakers and an artist widely known for championing gender-balance, on the Equalising Music Pledge. We all know the statistics so now it’s time for action. Together - and proudly endorsed by PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative - we’re asking everyone in the industry to step up and do one significant thing for gender equality in 2019.”

Commenting on the launch, Annie Mac added: “I am delighted to be teaming up with Smirnoff Equalising Music and PRS Foundation’s Keychange to head up the Equalising Music campaign. Together we have the tools and the reach to make a real impact here in the UK.

“The music industry is still embarrassingly lopsided when it comes to gender parity. We are all acutely aware of the enormous contribution women make to this business, and yet there’s still so much work to be done to ensure they’re embraced and championed, both in front of and behind the scenes.”