The Unseen Struggles: How Music Management Fails Female Artists

The music industry is one of the most glamorous fields in the world. Yet, behind the glitz, women face systemic challenges. Music management often fails female artists, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and unfair treatment.

Taylor Swift’s saga with Big Machine Records is a glaring example. Swift signed with Big Machine at 15. When she tried to acquire her masters, she faced a roadblock. Scooter Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine meant he owned her early catalogue. Swift described the experience as a “nightmare.” Her fight highlighted the lack of control many artists have over their work. not to mention her feud with Kanye west and how she overcame it.

Ariana Grande has faced her share of issues too. For example, in 2019, she sued Forever 21 for using a look-alike model in their campaigns. The retailer had approached Grande for an endorsement deal, but when negotiations failed, they used her likeness without permission. Grande’s case sheds light on the frequent misuse of female artists’ images and brands.

Kesha’s battle with Dr. Luke is another stark reminder. Kesha accused Dr. Luke of abuse and sought to break free from her contract. The legal battle dragged on for years, highlighting the limited recourse artists have against powerful producers.

These examples are not isolated. Female artists often face pressures unique to their gender. Management judges them more harshly on their appearance and personal lives. Management frequently questions their creative choices. Such biases hinder their growth and autonomy.

Even newer artists aren’t spared. Moreover, Megan Thee Stallion’s dispute with her label, 1501 Certified Entertainment, showcases ongoing issues. Additionally, Megan alleged that her label prevented her from releasing new music. Consequently, she had to seek a court order to drop her EP “Suga.” This incident underscores the restrictive nature of some contracts.

Women in music face a double bind. They are expected to be perfect while managing behind-the-scenes battles. These battles include unfair contracts, lack of control over their work, and exploitation of their image. The industry’s male-dominated structure exacerbates these problems.

Change is slow but necessary. Furthermore, advocacy for fair contracts and artist rights is gaining momentum. Additionally, artists like Swift are vocal about their experiences, pushing for industry reforms. They inspire others to stand up for their rights and demand better treatment.

The music management system needs a significant overhaul. It should empower artists rather than control them. Transparency, fairness, and respect should be the guiding principles. Only then can we ensure a truly inclusive and supportive environment for all artists.

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Written by: Kusha Singh