Women Are Rarely Credited as Songwriters and Producers – ‘We Make Music’ Song Camp is Here to Change That!

Most of the music we hear on the radio is co-written by men. They sure are good at it, but so are women – we just don’t hear it enough. Together with the Danish Association of Songwriters and Composers we’re launching the We Make Music song camp for female songwriters, topliners and producers in Scandinavia.

We Make Music
We Make Music is a Nordic songwriter camp for female songwriters, topliners and producers

Ever wondered how your favorite songs come to life? How the biggest hits transform from nascent ideas to lyrics and beats with the potential to change the world?

Maybe you picture the artist walking through a forrest. A leaf slowly falls from a tree above her and inspired by the wonder of nature, the first verse has written itself. She catches eye contact with a cute little squirrel and thus the idea for the chorus comes as send from above.

Yeah, it may be like that for some artists, but a lot of the songs we hear on the radio and add to our playlists are born out of what the music bizz calls a songwriter camp or just a ‘song camp’.

If you use the ‘show credits’ function on Spotify, you’ll actually be able to see who’s credited for writing a song – and it’s not always just the artist performing it as you may think. Look up Cardi B’s “Be Careful” and you’ll find 17 different names listed (some of them are credited for samples).

In short, what happens at a song camp is that a group of professional songwriters, producers and sometimes topliners (topliners writes melodies and lyrics over a pre-made beat whereas songwriters often start of scratch) get together with an artist – and magic happens.

The artist might come with an initial idea – an emotion, an experience, a thought, a smell or whatever – and then the songwriting begins. It may ruin your illusion of how you think songs are being made, but we’re often better together, right? And the reason why songs can make us feel things are because they bear some universal feelings that we resonate with which means that the artist isn’t always the only one knowing how best to describe what he or she is feeling.

So what’s the problem?

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that there’s a huge gender gap in the music industry as there is in a lot of the creative industries. You may hear a female artist on the radio, but statistics show that it’s most likely men who’s worked on the making of the song together with the female artist.

DJBFA | Koda Kultur | Music Production

We’re missing out on great talent and good music when half of the population is a minority in the business and we need to change that! – Anna Lidell, Chairwoman of DJBFA

In March 2021, The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative published a study called inclusion in the Recording Studio: Gender and Race/Ethnicity of Artists, Songwriters & Producers across 900 Popular Songs from 2012-2020. What the study showed is that out of all of the songwriters credited in 2020, only 12.9% of them were women. Diving deeper into these numbers showed that less than 1% of the 900 popular songs examined had only female writers. And in 2020, 65% of the songs on the Hot 100 Year-End Chart didn’t feature any female songwriters at all. A look at the top-performing songwriters revealed that the two top male songwriters each had more than double the credits than the top female songwriter.

And don’t even get us started on the production side of things. In 2020, 198 producers were credited and only 2% of them were women. Across the 6 year sample, the number was 2.6% which leaves a ratio of 38 men to every 1 female producer. Gosh!

What are we gonna do about it?

Girls Are Awesome and DJBFA (the largest association for Composers and Songwriters in Denmark) have teamed up to create the We Make Music nordic songwriter camp. Taking place in Copenhagen Studio from the 20th to 25th of September 2021, We Make Music will gather 12 Scandinavian female songwriters, topliners and producers to create tomorrows top tracks.

The 12 participants will be put together in different teams everyday so they can meet as many awesome music creators from different countries as possible. Each day a new artist will join the camp. This is the artist that they’ll be writing for which leaves a good chance to actually get the songs crafted on the camp released afterwards. On the power of songwriter camps, Anna Lidell, Chairwoman of DJBFA, says:

We’re extremely excited to launch this camp. In general, songwriter camps are important for us as an association because we can gather songwriters that have never met each other before to craft new songs – songs that will have a long and wide life both through radio airplay and on live stages around the world. They provide an invaluable network for each songwriter while we also help to further qualify the participants through talks and by giving them new experiences.

On the importance of an all female camp, she continues:

Obviously this camp is special because it’s only women who can participate. We’ve had two similar camps in the past which stems from the fact that we’re facing an extreme gender gab. We need to make up with this and one way to do it is by showing that the women are there! That we’re doing this together with our Nordic colleagues only makes this project stronger. We’re missing out on great talent and good music when half of the population is a minority in the business and we need to change that!

At Girls Are Awesome we believe in the power of representation and it’s key for us to make sure that the 12 participants will get a chance to actually publicly share their stories and passion for music creation. There’s already incredible female talent in songwriting and production – we just wanna see more!

Throughout the next months leading up to the camp, we’ll be publishing articles, interviews, playlists and much more focusing on great female talents within songwriting, toplining and music production so stay tuned for that.

If you’re from Sweden, Norway, Denmark or Iceland and want to join head to DJBFA (DK), NOPA (NO), SKAP (SE) or FTT (IS) to apply.

Do you like music? So do we… Check out our music content here and follow our Best New Music playlist on Spotify so you’ll never miss a beat. 

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