For three weeks in December of last year, not a single song on the country chart was sung by a women. A Billboard study showed a rapid decline from four songs by women in the Top 20 in December 2015, three in December 2017 and none in December 2018. Where do things stand now?
56 men released 111 Top 20 songs in the last 19 months vs. 9 women releasing 14 Top 20 songs
A new analysis by SongData shows that little has changed with only a handful of female artists programmed at a high enough rate to break into the top of the charts.
For 19 months between January 2018 and July 2019, the number of artists with #1 songs offers a striking comparison: 27 male artists released 45 songs that peak at #1, while just 3 women are responsible for 4 songs at #1 – only 2 of which are solo female country artists. Men held the #1 position for 77 of the 81 weeks (95%) in this period, with the remaining 4 weeks (5%) held by female artists. The disparity is exacerbated within the Top 20, wherein 56 men release 111 Top 20 songs, and only 9 women release 14 Top 20 songs.
Maren Morris’s “GIRL” Hit #1 on 7.29.19. It was the first solo female country artist to reach #1 in 17 months.
One of the study's most significant findings is that the majority of songs by female artists peak in the bottom positions of the chart. 69.5% of the songs by women peak outside of the Top 20 (#21-60), with the largest percentage of their songs (28%) peaking in the bottom 10 positions (#51-60).
There is some good news.
There has been an uptick in representation for female artists near the end of this study period. First, following an eight month period in 2018 in which there was an average of 6 songs by women entering the chart, 2019 saw a slow return to the previous 10 song-a-week average. Despite being the only female artist in the Top 10 in the final week of this study period, Maren Morris’s “GIRL” reached #1 on 29 July 2019 – the first solo female country artist to achieve this milestone in 17 months.
Miranda Lambert got 112 radio adds for her new single “It All Comes Out in the Wash” within less than one week of its release to radio. This resulted in the song’s debut at #19 on the chart on 22 July 2019 – a significant accomplishment for any artist.
112 adds. That’s 112 stations across the country that started playing #ItAllComesOutInTheWash in its first week. The most of my career. Thanks for putting that sucker on spin, country radio and @SXMTheHighway. #girlsontheradio pic.twitter.com/1Uly2cQzji— Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) July 23, 2019
"There is much work to be done to create equal opportunities for female artists, but these improvements suggest a greater commitment to supporting women in country music at a moment when female artists are being celebrated so widely outside of radio," concludes the study.
Read the full summary and download the free report here.