New York City, 2019
Photo: Jacqueline Schneider
The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is addressing the underrepresentation of women in music by opening up $500,000 worth of grants to local female-identifying musicians. The announcement was made by Anne del Castillo, the new commissioner of MOME this week at the third annual New York Music Month Conference.
After a recent USC study revealed an alarming but not surprising gender divide of nearly 70 % men to 30 % women across the entire music industry, MOME was motivated to extend a dedicated fund beyond film, television, and theatre to support music. The fund, The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre is administered by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).
The money will go towards grants for female-identifying people across all sectors of music – specifically areas where gender disparity is most dramatic – sound engineering, songwriting and production. According to USC’s Inclusion in the Recording Studio study, women comprise 21.7 % of artists, 12.3 % of songwriters, 2.1 % of producers in music.
The fund application for the 2020 cycle will be available July 10 (and announced March 2020) to NYC-based female-identifying producers, composers, engineers, solo musicians, ensemble bands and orchestras. Applicants must show evidence of a growing fan base, have multiple live shows under their belt and cannot be signed to a major label in order to qualify. Grants of up to $20,000 will be given to help cover expenses for recording costs, studio and equipment rentals, promotional materials for videos and artwork as well as associated costs related to music creation.
As the first city to support the musician gender gap financially, New York City reinforces itself as a driving force for art and access in the U.S. “We have the strongest creative community in the world, and the most talented female-identified musicians,” says Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo, “we want to make sure they are equally represented in the music industry.”
This is the second round of a $5 million, three-year program made possible through the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME).