Powerful Women in the Music Industry


Women in the music industry were at the center of many students’ conversations this week after a presentation about the role of women in music and the media. It is easy to forget all of the powerful women in the industry, especially when thinking about how it is an area mainly controlled by men. It is important to recognize these extraordinary women who have broken down barriers and paved the way for even more inclusivity. I have chosen two of my favorite popstars and described some of their greatest accomplishments in order to show the power they possess.  

Ariana Grande: Grande was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year in December of 2018 after a year of incredible success, while also suffering through a year of tragedy. Following the release of her Grammy award winning album, Sweetener, Grande’s ex-boyfriend and friend of 6 years, Mac Miller, passed away from a drug overdose. Grande also broke off her engagement with comedian Pete Davidson the following month. Instead of letting these unfortunate events ruin her passion for music, she embraced the losses and penned her first #1 single, Thank U, Next. This was a monumental moment of her career, cementing her place as a force in the music industry. Her next single, 7 rings, was a tribute to her best friends who got her through the terrible time in her life. The song celebrated the importance of friendship and was Grande’s second #1 single. Grande released her 5th studio album, Thank U, Next, on February 8th, 2019. Released less than 6 months after Sweetener, this album was created as a form as therapy for Ariana, who was going through many personal problems at the time. While promoting the album, Grande said I made it with my best friends over the course of a really small period of time, and it kind of saved my life… I don’t think life has ever been as bad as it was when [we started].” The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and broke the record for the largest streaming week ever for a pop album. Grande continues to break more records, including having the most simultaneous top 40 singles by a female artist and being the only artist to hold the #1, 2, and 3 spot on the Billboard charts since The Beatles in 1964  

Taylor Swift: Swift is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, with over 50 million albums sold. She has received awards from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. She has won 10 Grammys, and is only the person to receive the Billboard’s Woman of the Year Award twice. She is also the only artist to ever have 4 albums debuted with over 1 million pure sales in the first week. Swift has also become an advocate for sexual assault victims after battling through a public trial against a radio personality, David Mueller, who assaulted her. She was originally sued by Mueller, who claimed she lied and made him lose his job. The jury threw out his claim and she counter-sued him for sexual assault, only asking for a symbolic $1 in return, which she won. Swift has also been an advocate for adequate compensation for artists who put their music on Spotify and other streaming services. In an Instagram post detailing her move to Republic Records, Swift said I asked that any sale of their Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable… They have generously agreed to this.” This allows smaller artists on the label to be fairly compensated for their work. Swift also made a public call on Instagram for voter registration, which lead to a huge spike in registered voters in Tennessee, with 105,000 people registering in the following 36 hours after the post.