Research Outline

Gender Composition of Decision Makers at Music Licensing Companies


Determine the gender makeup (% female) of the staff, curators, and decision makers of music licensing companies. Determine who (male vs. female) is primarily responsible, and in what amounts, for decisions regarding website design, library curations, marketing plans, pricing, and other related issues at stock music licensing companies, particularly Epidemic Sound, Soundstripe, Artlist, MusicBed, Marmoset, and other similar businesses. This information will be used to better understand the staff composition of music licensing companies, especially considering that 90% of composers at these businesses are men.

Early Findings

  • In September 2020, a number of major music industry companies throughout the UK signed the Keychange initiative, which is an effort to ensure that at least 50% of their board members are female. A few of these organizations include PRS for Music, the Featured Artist Coalition, and the Music Publishers Association, among at least 300 more.
  • According to the 2019 Women in the U.S. Music Industry Obstacles and Opportunities report, 84% of females in the music industry reported that they had been treated differently as a result of their gender, and 68% believe that being female had affected their employment.

Summary of Early Findings

In our first hour of research, we conducted searches for data on the staff composition and gender breakdowns in the music licensing industry. As no geographic preference was specified, we identified an effort in the UK called the Keychange initiative, which is aiming to ensure that at least 50% of board members of music companies are female. This initiative does not necessarily mean that 50% of all companies that sign the initiative currently have 50% female boards, but it does entail that they are working towards that goal. It also does not take into account the boards and employment of other businesses that do not sign the initiative.

We then came across a source from 2019 that depicted the impact females have reported experiencing in the music industry as a result of their gender. We also ran a search to see if the aforementioned companies — Epidemic Sound, Soundstripe, Artlist, MusicBed, and Marmoset — had published a breakdown of their staff gender'. Unfortunately, this information was not publicly available anywhere.

While none of our early findings specified the gender composition of staff at music licensing companies, they did indicate that a majority of decision makers are likely male, and that executives are making an effort to change this. Based on these early findings, it does not appear as though gender employment statistics of music licensing companies are publicly available. As a result, we are alternatively suggesting the proposals below to provide a more competitive look into the role that gender plays in the music licensing industry.