'The lack of women at the top is embarrassing': Annie Mac has a message for the music biz

'The lack of women at the top is embarrassing': Annie Mac has a message for the music biz

Annie Mac has told Music Week that she is “frustrated” by labels’ treatment of new artists and music's continuing equality problems.

The BBC Radio 1 DJ and founder of Annie Mac Presents launches AMP London today (March 27) and stars on the cover of the new edition of Music Week, out now.

AMP London features an array of gigs from some a batch of emerging artists including Amyl And The Sniffers and Sam Fender, while the event sees Mac branch out into conferences for the first time, with a two-day programme of talks at London’s Moth Club.

Mac kicked off the debate in trademark style in her most explosive Music Week interview yet, beginning with emerging talent.

“I still see so much of people signing artists out of panic and then dropping them because they didn’t sign them for the right reasons,” she said. “It’s mad how much that still happens.”

While the DJ said “it’s not my place” to feed her opinions back to labels, she revealed her frustration at  “seeing an artist do really great things that are very authentic, and then you see them get signed and you see ?it changing quite slowly at first, then quite extremely and they become something other than who they are.”

Mac also warned that, while progress is being made towards better equality in music, the business cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

“It’s still really, really unequal at the top levels, it’s embarrassing, the lack of women decision-makers at the top,” said Mac.

Just because you can name a woman that runs a label doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing

Annie Mac

She continued: “There are a few women general managers in the labels now, which is good to see, but you have to remember, just because you can name a woman that runs a label doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Mac said young women entering into the industry could “definitely feel more encouraged” now than when she was breaking through and believes there is “an open door policy for women and an active awareness of having more women and trying to make it work for them”.

However, the presenter warned that, “we now need to see tangible results of the good intentions and to see women having the courage to own their ideas and start their own businesses.”

Last month Mac spoke out on Twitter criticising negative reactions from listeners to Radio 1 DJs playing Dave’s song Black, from his chart-topping debut album Psychodrama.

Now, the DJ has revealed that a lack of opportunities for BAME acts in the live sector is a source of great frustration.

“There are black artists coming through and storming the charts, but the reality is, in a live music capacity, they’re still not getting what they deserve from being able to put on nights, to gig, to make money from live touring as other artists would,” she said.

Mac said venue owners remain concerned about losing licenses and that the “main problem” comes from the police.

“With Form 696, it seems that what people were allowed to do or not do under the legislation is still happening in a way. The removal of 696 doesn’t seem to have affected a big change,” Mac said. “We need to be helping more of these artists at a grassroots level get out there and play shows and make money from it.”

Subscribers can read the full interview online here.

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