Monday, 30 July 2012

Gender inequality at Indietracks: There I fixed it

Following on from yesterday's internet entertainment and also today's discussions on the Anorak forum, I thought I'd use the spreadsheet I made up of the past few Indietrackses as a force for good.

I have compiled a fantasy Indietracks lineup featuring all bands that have played there before, but carefully selected so as to be completely balanced by gender.

First a brief note as to what I mean by 'balanced by gender'. Rather than all acts being 50% male and 50% female, I've tried to figure what the make up would be if males and females were randomly distributed. So there are some all male bands and some all female bands. Considering we want about 55 acts to play in total, the mix would be as follows:-

All male 9 bands
Mixed mostly male 14 bands
50:50 bands 10 bands
Mixed mostly female 14 bands
All female 9 bands

With this in mind the lineup would be as follows:-

Disasteradio, Emmy The Great, Foxes!, Frances McKee, Helene, Kevin McGrother, King of Cats, Labrador, Loyal Trooper, MJ Hibbett (solo), Oxo Foxo, Roy Moller, Ste McCabe, Allo Darlin (2008 lineup of Elizabeth and Virginia), Berlin Brides, Burning Hearts, Everybody Was In The French Resistance.. Now, Lets Whisper (2008 lineup including Elizabeth Morris), Marshmallow, Kisses, Modular, Paisley and Charlie, Poppy & Friends, The Cannanes, The Lovely Eggs, The Middles Ones, Zipper, Gordon McIntyre (2012 lineup), Haiku Salut, The Just Joans (2008 platform lineup Dave, Katie, Rowan), Betty and the Werewolves, Teenage Fanclub, The Specific Heats, Art Brut, Butcher Boy, Cola Jet Set, Friends, La Casa Azul, Rose Elinor Dougall, Stereo Total, Tender Trap, The History of Apple Pie, The Red Shoe Diaries, The Smittens, Hong Kong in the 60s, Very Yours Truly, Stars of Aviation, The School, A fine Day for Sailing, A Little Orchestra, Withered Hand, The Loves, Little My.

This gives the following gender stats:-

Total female performers 90
Total male performers 90

%female performers 50.00%
%male performers 50.00%

All male 9 bands
Mixed mostly male 13 bands
50:50 bands 11 bands
Mixed mostly female 10 bands
All female 9 bands

Which is close enough to ideal.

You're welcome.

The list of bands was a little half-arsed, so here's the lineup by stage

MJ Hibbett (solo)
Allo Darlin (2008 lineup of Elizabeth and Virginia)
Tender Trap

Main Stage
Butcher Boy
Betty and the Werewolves
Everybody Was In The French Resistance.. Now
The Loves (2011 festival lineup with dancing girls)
A Little Orchestra
A fine Day for Sailing
The School

Indoor Stage
Emmy The Great
The Lovely Eggs
Hong Kong in the 60s
Gordon McIntyre (2012 lineup)
Little My
The Red Shoe Diaries
Berlin Brides
Haiku Salut

Church Stage
Roy Moller
The Just Joans (2008 platform lineup Dave, Katie, Rowan)
Ste McCabe
Very Yours Truly

Oxo Foxo
Paisley and Charlie
Loyal Trooper

Main Stage
The Smittens
Rose Elinor Dougall
Teenage Fanclub
La Casa Azul
The Specific Heats
Stars of Aviation
Cola Jet Set

Indoor Stage
Art Brut
Stereo Total
Poppy & Friends
Withered Hand
The Middles Ones
The History of Apple Pie

Church Stage
Lets Whisper (2008 lineup including Elizabeth Morris)
Marshmallow Kisses
Burning Hearts
The Cannanes

King of Cats
Frances McKee
Kevin McGrother

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sexism in indiepop band selection and Indietracks

Earlier today Daniel Novakovic and Jennifer Reiter posted an awesome blogpost on the So Tough So Cute blog about gender inequality of performers at Indietracks 2012.

Twitter erupted, Facebook erupted as band members and promoters denied their sexism. And cos Daniel and Jennifer had used statistics to make their argument it was all a great heap of awesome.

They had analysed the male/female/x make up of all the bands listed as performing at Indietracks 2012, then categorised the bands into being male, female or 50:50
This is how we counted performers at Indietracks. The process is based on the Ladyfest Malmö method.
  • A female act is an act where the majority of band members are female
  • A male act is an act where the majority of band members are male
  • A 50/50 act is comprised of half females and half males or equal members of males, females and trans people
and with the help of lovely polkadot pie charts summarised the findings as
  • 56 acts were booked in total.
  • 38 were male acts
  • 7 were female acts
  • 11 were 50/50-acts
Clearly since 51% of the population is female there must be sexism at work.

Similarly for individual performers at Indietracks 2012
  • 159 were male
  • 64 were female
  • 3 trans or genderqueer.
It doesn't really represent the population.

But how badly should indiepop promoters feel about this? Is indiepop particularly sexist compared to other musical genres? I've always felt that indiepop is a broad musical church, inculsive of all genders and sexes. Compared to pop, punk, rock and metal, there are far more people in skirts in indiepop bands.

Anyhoo, So Tough! So Cute! only looked at the data for Indietracks 2012. Which could just be a blip, so I've poured over the old festival guides for Indietracks 2009, 2010 and 2011.

For performers, without investigating the privacies of trans and genderqueeriness

Total female performers75585964
Total male performers138143120159

%female performers35.2%28.9%33.0%28.7%
%male performers64.8%71.1%67.0%71.3%

Its roughly 70:30 male to female, how much variation were you expecting? About that much?

2009 2010 2011 2012
Female bands 7 5 7 7
Male bands 40 43 35 38
50:50 bands 13 11 11 11

That is remarkably consistent, considering all the thousands of indiepop bands who could possibly play, more often than not there's always 7 female bands and 11 50:50 bands

Personally I think there's something a bit off about calling Allo Darlin' a male band, since without Elizabeth Morris, they wouldn't be half as successful.

So, as I have access to the raw data, we can categorised them differently, thus:-

2009 2010 2011 2012
All male 19 17 17 15
Mixed mostly male 21 26 18 23
50:50 bands 13 11 11 11
Mixed mostly female 3 3 2 4
All female 4 2 5 3

Thrilling stuff that doesn't really change the argument much, except that if promoters were being sexist in their selections, there would perhaps be more 'All male' bands.

There are, of course, flaws in the methodology here. Flaws such as Dan and Jonny from Pocketbooks who as a mobile rhythm section play bass and drums in a couple of different bands, most of them featuring female members, when considering Indietracks, do Dan and Jonny only count once or multiple times or as fractions adding up to whole people. Likewise Remi from Electrophonvitage/Sunny Street and as a solo artist, the Colin Clary/Lets Whisper/Smittens, and Simon Love, cos he's worth ten normal men.

On the female side there's Emma from Knickers, Owl and Mouse and Darren Hayman's band who's trying to make up gender inequality single-handedly.

What's to do?

I can only propose that all women in general are forced to form bands and get on stage even if they don't want to.

Any musically talented women must join at least five bands.

I don't know.

As mentioned earlier the original piece didn't cover other music genres outwith indiepop, so I thought I'd venture into other worlds...
These are the details for The Didmarton Bluegrass Festival 2012

Total female performers 28
Total male performers 118

%female performers 19.18%
%male performers 80.82%

All male 19
Mixed mostly male 14
50:50 bands 5
Mixed mostly female 1
All female 3

So thats most imbalanced than Indietracks, with overwealmingly male bands.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Thick Creamy Podcast 20-07-2012

The other days I went to a gig, the last ever Which Way Is Up show at The Wilmington Arms, so I've recorded a podcast from the night featuring some awesome bands like The Cosines, Downdime, Haiku Salut and Ace Bushy Striptease.

At the bottom of this blogpost you file some of the photatoes I took at the show, I think that last one of Ace Bushy Striptease is the best gig photo I've ever taken ever.

I wonder, is my podcasting career underperforming? I'm averaging only 25 listeners per podcast, am I doing something wrong or is that punching above my weight?

For the first couple I was getting thirty or forty listeners, and for the last few they've only been getting twenty or so. Is it just I'm not pimping it so hard and spamming twitter, Facebook, and all the messageboards, or is it just its a poor idea?
The Cosines

The Cosines


Haiku Salut

Ace Bushy Striptease

Thursday, 19 July 2012

My videos of Indietracks 2012

I went to a music festival the other weekend, Indietracks 2012. Its like twee indiepop and steam trains at the same time, and this it had parrots and owls too.

Anyhoo, at these things I usually shoot a few videos, I'd like to present them all to you here in one blogpost.

This is a short 4 minute taster of the whole weekend

This is Darren Hayman and The secondary Modern playing a cover of The Bee Gees' I started a Joke

 This is The Just Joans playing a cover of Kenickie's Come Out 2Nite

 This is Fulhast playing Prison Pizza

 This is Allo Darlin' playing a cover of The Just Joans' If You Don't Pull

And this is Elizabeth from Allo Darlin's encore, their classic Tallulah

And for those of you with plenty of time on your hands this is a 30 min compilation of the weekend.

On reflection, I should have titled it up with the name of all the bands. That would have taken an hour or so, and I was in a rush to get it online first, not sure why.

I think with these videos for me it is a popularity contest, can I get more views on YouTube than I did the other year. The quality isn't great, but it's good enough for YouTube, and what do you expect with a Canon IXUS 50 from 2005 (it used to be cutting edge, I could have been a contender...). For the past few years there's been folk mincing about at Indietracks with professional cameras, whole film crews, and I'm never sure what happens to the footage, a five minute local news item perhaps, or a limited release indie movie, who knows.

This year a band called The Birthday Kiss had a video up pretty quickly here, although I've got to say, eight seconds in the commentary contains what could be a tribute to the end of my 2008 video. Good research there chaps, appreciated.