For a lot of young people, the music industry can often feel like a boys’ club. There is no doubt that the industry harbours a toxic gender imbalance. Though the number of women involved in the music industry has grown by 4.3% since 2016, there are still far more men in senior positions and far more barriers standing in the way of women’s progression.
“[For women] the option of a career in music does not seem fathomable”
According to the UK Music Diversity Report 2020, only 3% of production and technical roles are held by women, with just 12% of songwriters and 21.7% of all artists identifying as female. The numbers are shameful, but they are not a result of women lacking interest in the industry.
The opportunities are limited, and in many cases, the option of a career in music does not seem fathomable. Thankfully, recent years have seen efforts to change the tides. Numerous schemes have been introduced over the past few years to lessen this divide and encourage more women, trans and non-binary people to get involved in music. One of the most hope-inducing of these is Jaguar’s recent Future1000 initiative.
Broadcaster, journalist, and DJ Jaguar shared the scheme earlier in May 2021. Future1000 hopes to introduce 1000 female, trans and non-binary students aged 12-18 into electronic music; a branch of the industry that still feels distinctly male-heavy. The scheme is completely free, with modules on DJing, music production, presenting, and industry skills: all areas that are largely inaccessible yet incredibly valuable.
“Starting her DJ journey in Leeds, the prospect of a career in music only seemed possible to Jaguar because of Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show”
Jaguar’s scheme involves a 12-part video course, nine live virtual events, a year-long license for Soundtrap (an audio-creation platform) and a major community network. Nepotism is a large issue within the music industry, and so Jaguar’s network offers a method of tackling the obstacle of connections.
Through her BBC Introducing Dance show, Jaguar has quickly become known as a pioneer for championing undiscovered artists and tracks, giving them an unparalleled platform. That support is, of course, crucial to the scheme. Many of the artists she spotlights are from underrepresented groups, and she has played an essential part in amplifying those voices and increasing diversity in the genre. It’s a no brainer that she’s at the forefront of this movement.
“Future1000 sees [Jaguar] take up the helm of that inspiration for the next generation, to push for change in the electronic music landscape”
Jaguar has previously praised the presence and importance of female mentors in the industry: for her, the support and guidance of Annie Mac, Clara Amfo and The Black Madonna has been invaluable. Starting her DJ journey in Leeds, the prospect of a career in music only seemed possible to Jaguar because of Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show. Future1000 sees her take up the helm of that inspiration for the next generation, to push for change in the electronic music landscape.
Much of discovering your future career and passion comes from visibility. And so seeing women, trans and non-binary artists thriving in the music industry will undoubtedly allow the next generation to see this as a possibility for themselves. Jaguar is tackling industry imbalance in the most empowering way possible.
Future1000 joins programmes such as Both Sides Now and PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music campaign to bridge the gap for young people to get involved. By increasing visibility and offering a way into the industry, Jaguar leads the way for the next generation to access a more level playing field and increase the availability of further opportunities.
The future looks bright.