For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
(H. L. Mencken)
AUGUST 5, 2018
Gender issues in the Canadian Screen Composing Industry
This report from June 2018 entitled Gender in the Canadian Screen Composing Industry was prepared for the Screen Composers Guild of Canada and funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation. It aimed to document the presence of women in the screen composing industry, hiring practices affecting the presence of women, and other barriers to entry or access to meaningful work in screen composing. The research was based on four sources of information: a review of existing research and data; data mining of the SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada) royalty payment data bases; an analysis of existing data on Canadian audiovisual (AV) productions receiving public funding between 2012 and 2016; and a survey of female and male screen composers.
Key findings include:
- Women comprise between 13 and 17% of screen composers in Canada.
- Female screen composers were twice as likely to have completed a graduate program, and were more likely to have studied composition or music formally, yet men were twice as likely as women to have been a full-time screen composer in 2016.
- Between 2006 and 2016, women received only 6% of all royalties distributed by SOCAN to its composer members for performing rights in audiovisual productions.While in 2006, women received 50% of what men received on average, this proportion has steadily decreased over time to reach 21% in 2015 and 2016.
- 92% of 1,024 AV productions funded between 2012 and 2016 employed no women composers. Only 5% employed an all-women team.
- Men declared total revenues that were four times as high as women’s, while screen composing revenues were eight times higher than women’s.
- In pitching for work, women are more often called to submit a demo of previously composed music and to be one of many asked to write a piece on spec without interaction with a client (cattle call).
- Four families of factors affecting the professional gender gap in screen composing were identified. They were factors that are specific to the screen-composing industry; factors related to neighbouring cultural industries; wider cultural and sociological factors; and economic factors.
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