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Female musicians underrepresented on Canadian radio playlists: study

Written by on June 3, 2024

TORONTO — A new report on Canada’s radio airwaves says that music performed by women is still vastly underrepresented on commercial music stations.

The study looked at the top 150 songs played between 2013 and 2023, plus all tunes played in 2023 on popular radio formats including Top 40, country and rock music.

It found that no matter the format, songs by women – especially women of colour – were played far less than songs by men.

Women were least represented on rock stations, particularly the harder-edged active rock format where they received just 1.9 per cent of airplay on average in 2023.

Among country radio’s top songs, women were played 12.8 per cent of the time, or two songs per hour.

The study shared with The Canadian Press ahead of its release Monday was conducted by musicologist Jada Watson through her SongData research program, in partnership with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre and advocacy group Women in Music Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2024.

David Friend, The Canadian Press