Is Spotify sexist?

I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that I’ve been an avid music collector for years. From cassettes to CD’s and now to vinyl. As any record collector knows, records are much more expensive than CD’s, so I needed a way to manage my spending but maintain how much new music I had access to.

I switched from CD’s to vinyl, partly because my girlfriend was going to kill me because of how much space the CD’s took up in the front room and partly because vinyl was having a resurgence and seemed infinitely more collectible (limited pressings, colored, gatefold, different weights, alternative covers etc.).

Part of the plan for the switch was to convert our spare bed room into a proper music space (the gf is far more supportive of my music love than I probably deserve) and we now have a proper space to chill……

So, where was I going with this……

Oh yeah, so when I switched to record collecting, I also set myself up on Spotify. This was originally intended to stop me getting overexcited and ordering things I’d not heard. The logic is sound, make sure something is worth buying before buying it. Genius right? Obviously, I complete failure as now I pre-order for limited stuff and use Spotify to discover more stuff, but I still stand by the logic of my original plan.

It seems obvious to me that I would then set up playlists for every occasion (before I even knew that Spotify made playlists for you) so i currently have:

  1. My vinyl playlist (every record I own in a mega playlist)
  2. Running playlists
  3. Dance playlists
  4. Best hip hop tracks playlists
  5. Best hip hop albums playlists
  6. 70’s, 80’s and 90’s playlist
  7. The playlist from my 40th birthday party (this one’s fucking great)
  8. New Releases and Forgotten Things (a constantly changing mass of new albums/artists and stuff I always intended to buy and/or listen to)
  9. Loads of curated stuff from record labels, artists I love etc.
  10. Favorite Female Artists

Most of these to me see pretty obvious, playlists build around genres (for those you love), BPM’s (for running speed), classics (when you need everything familiar), but the Favourite Female Artists is the one that stands out.

You might ask why?

As I mentioned, I have a playlist of everything I own on vinyl and within my collection there is loads of female artists, female fronted bands that I love.

Just starting from A in my collection, this is up to C alphabetically:

  • Agnes Obel
  • Aldous Harding
  • Amanda Shires
  • The Big Moon
  • Big Thief
  • Billie Martin
  • Chvrches
  • Clairo
  • Courtney Marie Andrews
  • Courtney Barnett
  • and so on

Let’s touch on “alphabetically” because I know ordering is important to people. Do you go by genre, by release, by artists, my album title?

Personally, I go by artist first name/band name (not including The or A), then by release date. Why? For me, you can’t use surname because a band name with a surname in it, for example, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit would then be sorted differently to Jason Isbell’s solo albums and that’s just confusing.

Anyway, back onto my point, when I listened to any of the Spotify curated playlists (the “Made For You” stuff), I noticed pretty quickly that it always seemed to be male artists or male fronted bands. The longer I spent on Spotify the more it seemed to stand out, even on my Vinyl playlist the female artists seemed to come up less than other artists/bands.

So the My Favourite Female Artists playlist was born, for those times when I absolutely NEED female voices.

Has the creation of the female playlists changed the algorithms so my other playlists have more female artists? Who knows, but I know my musical landscape is better with all those incredibly talented female artists in it.

My most recent female discovery: Hazel English – Brilliant stuff and well worth checking out


Is Spotify sexist?

Is the music industry in itself, as with society in general, weighted towards male voices?

Would I be happy just listening to female artists all the time? Abso-fucking-lutely

Until next time, happy spinning!

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