P&G LAUNCHES HEAR HER MUSIC — A GAME-CHANGING INITIATIVE TO CLOSE THE GENDER + WAGE GAPS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
By Jessica Sobhraj
It’s no secret that our industry (and virtually every other industry) suffers from a severe lack of diversity, particularly the absence of women. The lack thereof doesn't just manifest itself as staffing issues. It also fosters the scarcity of opportunities that are available to women to generate revenue from their talents and copyrights within visual media such as film, television, and advertising. Without question, there is a noticeable lack of diversity in the music used in these productions, which has created an enormous wage gap.
Procter & Gamble ("P&G"), the world's largest consumer goods company and home to iconic, trusted brands, including Febreze®, Gillette®, Pantene®, Pampers®, Tide®, and Vicks®, is leading the charge in the advertising community to fix this problem. As announced by Alma Har'el, founder of Free The Bid, at the #SheIsEqual Summit in NYC on September 28, 2018, P&G has launched the Hear Her Music initiative — a series of efforts that will have the most significant, direct impact on the gender/wage gap that the music industry has seen yet.
Similar to the #SeeHer campaign launched by the Association of National Advertisers and backed by P&G as well, Hear Her Music is an initiative designed to eliminate bias against women in ads and media as it relates to the licensing and commissioning of music. This initiative will empower female songwriters, composers, and artists to capture more revenue-generating opportunities from P&G and other agencies that need to either license or compose music for their productions.
The first phase of Hear Her Music has begun with the creation of a curated database of women composers hosted on Free The Bid. Free The Bid is a non-profit initiative that initially began advocating on behalf of women directors for equal opportunities to bid on commercial jobs in the global advertising industry.
As of Free The Bid's second anniversary in September 2018, over 100 global agencies and agency networks have committed to the Free The Bid pledge, using Free The Bid's database to find women directors and provide them with the opportunity to compete for jobs within their productions. To date, Free The Bid has also received 15 brand pledges, representing commitments from over 145 global individual brands. Free The Bid's database has already expanded beyond profiles for women directors to include listings for women editors, colorists, and DOPs. Women composers within the Free The Bid database have been identified and presented with this opportunity to have profiles created to showcase their work via various organizations including Procter & Gamble, Hear Her Music, Women In Music, shesaid.so, Manners McDade, SixtyFour Music, Publicist, Sundance Institute, and Leo Burnett.
Following the launch of Free The Bid's database of women composers, the Hear Her Music initiative alongside Women in Music will undertake the challenge of creating more opportunities for female artists and songwriters to monetize their existing original music through leading synchronization licensing platforms. Publishers, labels, artists, and other copyright owners using these tools will be able to enable female-centric filters in order to easily catalog the millions of songs they represent to be readily available for licensing to productions participating in the Hear Her Music initiative.
"The Hear Her Music campaign will help us drive a awareness of the untapped opportunities as we today only use 8% of women composers in this industry but will also help drive some concrete actions by offering a database which should leave no excuse to involve more women composers," says Jamila Belabidi, EIMEA Gender Equality and Supplier Diversity Champion for P&G.
"Consideration is essential to our success with this initiative. The talent has been out there, and now original music companies, agency teams and brands have no excuse not to consider the multitude of talented women composers ready to create for their communication," says Chris Clark, Director of Music for Leo Burnett USA and Hear Her Music's agency lead.
"Free The Bid is proud to host this landmark database of women composers for visual media, as a continuation of our work to tackle gender inequality in hiring practices for all production roles within the worlds of film, television, and advertising. The contributions of women to composition in film and media can no longer be ignored — what are you waiting for? Dive in and discover this wealth of incredible, untapped talent!," says Alma Har'el, Director and Founder of Free The Bid.
"This initiative empowers creatives with a practical solution to close the gender gap in their every day work. P&G's new initiative Hear Her Music embodies corporate responsibility in the effort for gender equality," says Moira McCarthy, Board Director of Women in Music and Senior Director at Position Music.
Jessica Sobhraj is President of Women in Music, the longest operating and largest non-profit for women in the music industry, and CEO of Cosynd, an easy and affordable way for creators to protect their copyrights.