- 01 Jul 20
Several male artists and music industry figures have shared statements in response to the shocking findings released last week.
Following the publication of the recent report on the gender disparity across Irish radio, Villagers' Conor O'Brien, Alfie Hudson-Taylor and other prominent male figures in the Irish music industry have shared their responses – expressing solidarity with the women who create music in Ireland.
Using data compiled by Linda Coogan Byrne from June 1 2019 to June 1 2020, the report presented the Top 20 most played songs by Irish artists on individual radio stations in Ireland. In almost every instance, the list was dominated by male artists – with some stations revealed to have zero female artists in their Top 20, and many popular stations having only one or two female acts.
Today, July 1, Linda Coogan Byrne has shared 'Phase 2' of the report: 'The Male Response' – a compilation of response statements from men in Ireland's music scene.
Villagers' Conor O'Brien noted that the report's findings "present an opportunity for Irish radio stations to become a force for positive change in society."
"Radio has the unique position of controlling the measures of content which reach the ears of the public on a day-to-day basis," he continues. "When this content is written and performed almost exclusively from the male perspective it perpetuates an industry which is already male-centric and it actively fuels the cycle of gender inequality in all aspects of the trade.
"I'm slightly ashamed to admit that, as a 37-year-old man, I've had to really dig deep in the last couple of years to truly comprehend the privilege I've taken for granted; I did not see it in my 20s and early 30s because patriarchy and its psychological consequences are insidious and omnipresent and ignorance on such matters is rewarded. I'm still on that journey and I see this report as an invitation for one of our most important cultural institutions to do the same.
"Mainstream Irish radio is a commercial enterprise but it needs to fully recognise its potential as a cultural establishment too; unfortunately that establishment is currently giving a voice to only half of the population and the societal ramifications of this, both conscious and unconscious, are monumental.”
Alfie, one half of the duo Hudson Taylor, also noted that he has "felt hugely uncomfortable" on several occasions, after realising he's "on an all Irish line-up or playlist with not a single Irish woman on it".
"I've tried to call it out but it's not enough," he adds. "The people in charge and all the lads benefitting from this need to talk about it and do more to change it, myself included.
"This report highlights how unfair it is on the airwaves and it's sad and it doesn’t make sense considering how many great female artists and musicians there are in this country."
Tim Chadwick reflected that although the results of the report "were disappointing", he was "also sadly unsurprised".
"Ireland has been the face of real change and progress worldwide for the last decade or so, and the music pouring from this country needs to be represented by more than the straight white male," he continued. "I fear that radio stations believe that they can only play what is requested, but I think that that mentality insults the intelligence and tastes of the Irish population. Music has to be more than a straight white male perspective. It is a shame to not see more than one woman, Black/POC or a single member of the LGBTQ+ community on that list. We owe it to those exact people unrepresented, that they can one day soon see and hear people like themselves in Irish media. If you were to ask Irish men and women what their Spotify/Apple etc streaming artists were, I don't think it would reflect what those analytics showed. This country has a wide and eclectic taste in music that spans far beyond what is presented to us."