In its Power Players list in recent years, Billboard has taken heat for a lack of diversity in the names it rates and ranks (mostly being middle-aged white males, mainly from the US). Its counter-argument has been that this is the reality of the music business in 2019 as it is – with the power centre still being very much in the US and most of the names having worked their way up over several decades to get to the top of their companies.
Critics have argued that the starting point is what is causing all the problems and have called for Billboard to create alternative lists that look at the industry through different lenses.
The International Power Players is only a few years old (starting in 2017) and looks at the executives at labels, publishers, platforms, trade bodies, agencies and more that are shaping the industry outside of the US. And the good news is that it is far more diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity than the main Power Players list – and this should be applauded.
All the major regions are covered and it is far from a sausage fest, although there will still be some feeling it could be even more diverse given its international thrust (and that it could have included more small and medium-sized companies). Even so, there is plenty to celebrate here.
On the digital side, those making the list include: Azi Eftekhari, Sun Lee and David Mogendorff from YouTube/Google; Tomas Ericsson from AMRA; Rene Fasco, Paul Firth, Sahas Malhotra and Federico Pederson from Amazon; Tracey Hannelly, Elena Segal and Jen Walsh from Apple; Cecilia Qvist from Spotify; and Kerry Trainor from SoundCloud.