Latest ‘Inclusion in the Recording Studio?’ study offers mixed findings


The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has published its latest annual ‘Inclusion in the Recording Studio?’ study, examining representation in Billboard’s Hot 100 Year-End chart for 2022.

It’s a mixture of encouraging progress and signs of work still to be done. 30% of the artists in that chart were women, up from 23.3% in 2021 and the 22.3% average for the last 11 years (the period covered by the research).

“There is good news for women artists this year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves—there is still much work to be done before we can say that women have equal opportunity in the music industry,” said research lead Stacy L. Smith.

However, while half of artists in the chart were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, that was down from 57.2% in 2021 – although up slightly from the 11-year average of 48.1%.

65% of those underrepresented artists were women, up from 55% in 2021. However, the picture is very different for the other people behind these hits: 14% of the songwriters responsible for the Hot 100 were women, while just 3.4% of the producers involved were women.

There were also some sharp words for US body The Recording Academy’s ‘Women in the Mix’ pledge committing members to working with at least one woman producer or engineer on a track. Only one pledge-taker did so in 2022.

“Until women and men artists hire women songwriters and producers the numbers will not move,” said Smith. You can read the full report here.

Written by: Stuart Dredge