I thought I would make this a regular thing.
In the last four years, the illusive industry has made suggestions to Heather about what she should wear on stage, entertained a conversation that we should go back to having a male drummer to ‘balance’ the duo and discussed the importance of including a male act support. We have had promoters use ‘queer’ (or maybe it was ‘lesbian’) to describe our genre for radio servicing – I can’t remember as we asked for it to be changed. We have been called the girls and the girlie band. We have been met with the impenetrable barrier of male camaraderie on line-ups and after shows. We have smiled and thanked and shook hands, not wanting to upset or challenge so that the show can go on.
This year the industry’s top players weren’t just changing the business in the label, publishing and touring worlds, they also were changing jobs, and the shake-ups are reflected in Billboard’s 10th annual rankings. As the industry itself evolves, so do the people making the biggest waves within it.
YouTube has listed the year’s most popular global music videos, eight of which are the work of female artists. (Six of last year’s most-viewed videos belonged to women.) The indomitable Taylor Swift has the ninth most-popular clip with “Shake It Off,” Shakira made the list twice and Katy Perry leads the pack with 2014’s top music video.
Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Sia and Charli XCX topped the historically male-dominated Billboard Top 100, totally beating out and standing on all the competition. Only one month prior to this, women represented only three of the top ten, and in 1984, only four women made the top ten. However, I believe that the numbers the women reached are not even the best part of this chart victory. Almost all of the hits, from Jessie J., Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang” to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” were new-wave anthems about taking control of your own image. Finally, the country as a whole was celebrating females who were comfortable in their own skin. In an industry where women usually are respected and praised for singing love songs about other people, it’s a feat that these singers were able to find success in music by singing about loving themselves.