European Music Managers Alliance: Women in management more likely to earn less than men

European Music Managers Alliance: Women in management more likely to earn less than men

The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) will present new research that explores the opportunities and challenges faced by music managers in Europe.

Commissioned as part of EMMA’s EMMpower project, which is supported by a three-year grant from Creative Europe, a research team from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University drew on survey responses from 354 managers as well as a series of qualitative in-depth interviews. 

It is described as the most comprehensive research project of its type and will help deliver the goals of EMMpower, including the development of pan-European professional development networks. 

Based on the survey, most music managers own their own company (36%) or work as freelancers (22%). Most have have 10 years or less of experience as music managers (particularly women) and have worked in the music sector before becoming a music manager (68%) – often having worked in live/touring (37%), followed by record labels (32%), marketing and communication (29%) and as an artist/musician/creator (27%).

The report shows that 54% of music managers make less than €20,000 annually from music management activities. The greatest percentage (40%) make less than €10,000, but there are pronounced differences: 52% of women make less than €10,000, while 27% of men make this much. The majority of respondents (56%) work full-time in small companies, and are paid on commission.

Speaking ahead of ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag), where the research will be presented to industry delegates tomorrow (January 18), Jess Partridge (pictured), executive director, EMMA, said: “This groundbreaking research will help EMMA and the wider industry better understand the barriers faced by music managers across Europe, and ensure we can help them build sustainable businesses that support the widest diversity of  artists and other music makers.” 

“By engaging with a wide cross-section of our community, the findings are able to underline fundamental issues such as the stark difference in the earnings of women identifying and male identifying managers, as well as gaining an in-depth understanding of how managers are developing their skills. 

“Despite management being at the centre of the music ecosystem, it can be a tough and isolating job that has to constantly respond to a rapidly changing context. These findings will empower EMMA to strengthen and connect the music management sector, foster diversity and enhance managers' capacities. To ensure the European music sector reaches its creative and commercial potential, it is vital we better understand the needs of these individuals and how we can help them thrive.”

The findings reiterate the vital role played by managers, while highlighting the increasing workload placed on modern management businesses and the demand for greater support with professional development and mental health provision. 

Marie Dimberg, co-founder of Dimberg Jernberg Management, whose roster includes Roxette and Loney Dear, said: “Over the three decades that I’ve been a manager, I’ve seen the music industry go through several seismic changes. Today, our work includes A&R and branding, DSPs and social media, traditional media and marketing, touring and business management. 

“At any given time, we handle hundreds of moving parts and complex issues, alongside the mental health and wellbeing of our artists. It’s very easy to put yourself last, and to overlook both your own needs as well as the demands of your own business. I’m happy to read this report, which captures our industry and highlights the challenges that managers face, with a focus on our role, independent of our clients.” 

The full report can be downloaded here 

Despite management being at the centre of the music ecosystem, it can be a tough and isolating job

Jess Partridge

The key findings of the report include: 

Of 354 survey respondents, 53.9% were based in Western Europe, 25.9% in Northern Europe, 12.3% in Eastern Europe and 7.9% in Southern Europe.

Although the majority (67.6%) have obtained university degrees, 96.5% say they are self-taught in music management and learned through experience.

58% are either self-employed or own their own business. 60.6% are paid on a commission basis.

78.3% manage between one and five clients.

Although the majority of respondents (51.9%) were women, female managers are more likely to earn less. 51.5% of female respondents said they reside in the lowest income categories, compared to 27.1% of male respondents.

When looking at gender differences in experience, the majority of women have less than 10 years (average = 9.7 years) of experience, while this is less pronounced for men (average = 15.5 years). Women in the research dataset have 1.94 fewer years of experience compared to their male counterparts when comparing them across similar ages, levels of education and ethnic groups.

Many women respondents have been active in the music management field as long as men, but the overall difference in experience revealed in the survey suggests that more women than men are more likely to leave the creative industries at a younger age.

One interviewee, a woman from Finland, is quoted in the report: “Yeah, I sometimes have noticed that for men it's a lot easier to get new positions, for example, that they seem to have their own little circle. [...] it seems that as a man you don't need as much experience to land a position at a record label, for example as you need as a woman."

The report suggested that it is possible that more women are now increasingly entering music management, but that remains to be seen and would require further analysis over a longer period. 

The top three areas for professional support were identified as: legal and contractual skills; music synchronisation; accounting and financial planning and brand partnerships/sponsorships (joint third).

The top three challenges identified were: access to finance; time management and work/life balance; networking and partnerships  

Respondents indicate that the two most important policy items for EMMA to pursue include lobbying for the user-centric streaming model and legislation for fairer remuneration to creators.

The findings of the report indicate several areas where EMMA may focus their efforts in order to further support the growth and development of the music management sector. 

Key areas include: developing revenue streams and structures as well as advocating for changes in the streaming model; implementing programmes that address the gender imbalance and the lack of diversity in the field; increasing mentorship opportunities; access to mental health resources for both managers and artists. The findings indicate that mental health is an area that is ranked high as a challenge to managers. 

The report’s findings and recommendations will be discussed at ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) on Thursday, January 18 (1.30pm-2.30pm CET, Oosterpoort - Ronde Kamer) in a panel titled Thriving Or Just Surviving: Strategies For The Future of Management. 

The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) is an umbrella organisation uniting industry organisations in 13 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK) with a combined membership of 2,000-plus music managers. Additionally, EMMA has partnerships with Music Managers Forum Canada and the Association Of Artist Managers in Australia. 


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