- 28 Apr 21
The Why Not Her? campaign was launched in 2020 to call for female-identifying and BIPOC Irish artists to be played more frequently on Irish radio stations.
The Why Not Her? campaign has published the latest gender and racial disparity report analysing the past 20 years of the Irish Singles Chart.
The data contained in the report was extracted from the weekly Official Irish Singles charts - compiled by The Official Charts Company - examining the period of January 1st, 2000 to December 31st, 2019.
While there are currently no Irish women or BIPOC in the Irish Singles Chart, Imelda May has scored a No. 1 album with her latest offering, 11 Past the Hour.
The report by Why Not Her? also analysed the 'Homegrown' chart, which was introduced in June 2019.
"In this report, we see a direct correlation between artists who receive airtime and heavy rotation playlisting, and those artists who get radio support, go on to get booked at festivals," Why Not Her?, curated by music publicist Linda Coogan-Byrne and Winnie Ama, wrote in their introduction.
"Over a four year period, between 2015 and 2018, only 9 Irish chart entries hit the Top 10, only one of which was by a female artist. The top spot was an Irish free zone from early 2015 up until Dermot Kennedy in late 2020. An Irish woman hasn't been seen as a lead artist in the top spot since 2009."
Over the 20 year period covered in this report, there were 594 musical acts who achieved a total of 1,233 Irish chart entries, this averages as 1.2 new chart entries a week.
In terms of numbers, 138 female chart entries were achieved by 89 acts in total over the last 20 years. These chart entries spent a total of 485 weeks on the chart. 966 male chart entries were achieved by 418 acts. These chart entries spent a total of 5600 weeks on the chart.
For each female act that reaches the chart, 4.6 male acts reach the chart.
For each female chart entry, there are 7.0 chart entries from a male act.
For each week spent on the chart by a female act, a male act spends 11.5 weeks.
78.3% of hit singles (and 71.1% of Top 10 tracks) in the last 20 years were by Irish male artists or bands.
78.1%. of No. 1 hit singles in the last 20 years were by Irish male artists or bands.
96.4% of No. 1 hit singles in the last 20 years were by Irish white artists or bands against.
Since the Homegrown Charts launched in June 2019, 126 Irish artists have featured in the Top 20 Charts with a total of 241 songs.
In summer 2020, diverse Irish female talent scored success on the Homegrown chart, including hits by Aimee, Denise Chaila, Soulé, Orla Gartland and CMAT.
Irish Women in Harmony, formed by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter RuthAnne, became the first ever female band and BIPOC diverse/inclusive act to reach No. 1 in the Homegrown charts.
CMAT became the first ever 'Solo Female Artist' to reach No. 1 in the Homegrown charts, while in March 2021, for the first time ever, females outnumbered men in the chart by 11:9, showing potential for positivity.
Dublin native Imelda May offered her verdict of the report:
"As expected, this report puts outstanding artists at an immediate disadvantage merely for being female. How can a female artist have her music heard if she’s not played? How can a female artist reach chart success if people aren’t even aware her music exists? I wanted my success to prove a point that it can be done but my God it should not be so difficult or biased. I simply want to hear talented artists with the ability to connect with me and move me. Musicians and writers are storytellers."
"I’m eager to hear all voices that speak to me regardless of gender, age, race or sexuality," May added. "Aren’t you? Art is art is art."
Read the report in full on the last 20 years of Irish national singles chart history below:
The most comprehensive report of the Irish Chart ever done: 20 Years of the National Irish Singles Charts (+ the correlation to Radio) Proud of the team @winnie_ama_ @ciansullivan @MargaretEWard @bdonohu in @WhyNotHerIre #WhyNotHer View Report Here: https://t.co/n7zKdUGCIt
— Linda Jean Coogan Byrne (@lindacooganB) April 28, 2021