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It’s about time the Music Industry Realized that Women Make the Greatest Pop Performers

You’ll undoubtedly think of a list of ladies if you consider the most recognizable names in popular pop history, including Madonna, Beyoncé, Britney, and Whitney. And this week, the dominance of female artists has been unequivocally confirmed. The newest industry numbers for 2023 show that female musicians are more popular among British listeners than male musicians.

The British Phonographic Institute (BPI) discovered that it was the most successful performance for women on the UK singles chart since it started in 1952. This included the worldwide heavyweights you would usually expect, including PinkPantheress and Raye, whose music became quite popular on TikTok this year: Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, and others. Her song “Flowers” peaked at No. 1 on the UK chart for ten weeks.

And yet, in spite of this, the cultural weight that female artists bear is not adequately represented by uneven festival lineups and male-dominated award ceremonies. The music industry has long been incredibly misogynistic. Female pop performers as a whole have just recently begun to receive recognition from the music press and general public. The most recent data does, however, indicate some movement.

First, the numbers acknowledge and validate that women now make up the vast majority of the biggest stars in mainstream music. Furthermore, they demonstrate that female musicians’ monetary success now corresponds with their social influence.
Because pop music has traditionally been associated with femininity and women, women have, in my opinion, always made the greatest pop stars over the years—just look at all of the ones I listed above as evidence). Over the past few decades, there appears to have been a “poptimist” movement that has finally declared pop music—and maybe the women who create it—to be deserving of serious criticism. For example, Lana Del Rey, who is currently regarded as the best living lyricist in America, was infamously written off as unprofessional after her 2012 debut.

Despite the enduring appeal of musicians like Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi, and Harry Styles, it’s also important to take into account the simple reality that there aren’t nearly as many male pop juggernauts as there once were. There aren’t many solo male pop artists that feel like they can match the charisma of George Michael in the 1980s and Robbie Williams in the 1990s and 2000s (whose historic Knebworth concerts in 2003 still hold the record for the most people an artist has ever played to in Britain).

Since young women currently make up the majority of the most exciting “rising” pop bands in the globe, there is a plentiful supply of female solo musicians ready to break into the mainstream. For example, a 20-year-old Canadian named Tate McRae, whose physical accuracy and stage presence evoke memories of Britney Spears in the early 2000s, appears to be the big thing in the coming year. Sexyy Red, Sabrina Carpenter, Reneé Rapp, and a plethora of other celebrities are also fast approaching the position of household names.

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