As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on some of the exciting initiatives actively working on changing the narrative and supporting women in music. In a post #MeToo era, initiatives led by women and men looking to shake things up and built a more inclusive and diverse music business are changing the narrative and the mind-sets, allowing for more and more female executives reaching higher levels of responsibility, artists and producers getting the traction they rightly deserve.
In this series of interviews, we’ve asked the ladies behind Women in Music, Keychange, Shesaid.so and Felin/MEWEM how the place and role of the women in the music industry – be it artists or executives – has changed in the past years and how they expect it to evolve. Next up in this series of interviews, Andreea Magdalina, CEO of shesaid.so.
Andreea Magdalina is a connector. Currently between Los Angeles and London, her work is rooted at the intersection of music and technology with a focus on empowering women through her work as the CEO of shesaid.so, an organisation she founded in 2014. Andreea is an experienced speaker on topics such as music and brand partnerships, business development, brand strategy, building community, marketing, and diversity & inclusion. She has spent the past 3 years working with creative agencies to develop digital-first content, technology products and strategic partnerships for global brands. As of May 2019, she is focusing on her role as CEO at shesaid.so in addition to consulting for music, technology and culture-forward clients.
shesaid.so is a global community of women in the music industry. Established in London at the end of 2014, shesaid.so has grown to encompass close to 10,000 members around the world across 15 chapters such as London, Los Angeles, France, Spain, South Africa, Mumbai and more. Our international community is diverse, comprising of female business owners or women holding medium to senior roles across all sectors of the industry – from tech to record labels, PR to management etc. as well as music artists and other creatives.
Our work is solutions-focused and lobbies for a more diverse, inclusive and equal music industry. We organize and curate discussions that raise awareness about diversity-related issues as well as other areas such as mental health, social mobility, education, and the future of the music business. Our projects include research, social media campaigns, mentoring programs and partnerships with the music, tech and creative industries. Most recently, we launched our annual community-first, music-forward (un)conference MEETSSS which aims to explore and inspire the music business through a female lens.
How was Shesaid.so born and what is its objective?
I started shesaid.so back in 2014 when the female empowerment movement was only just bubbling up. The music industry wasn’t really acknowledging that there was even an underrepresentation and inequality problem to begin with so my plan was to bring together a group of power music women to help each other. Because if we don’t support each other, then who will? Fast forward 5 years, it’s grown beyond anything I imagined into an international community of women and non-binary individuals with the same spirit of collaboration at heart. Since then, we’ve produced hundreds of events, including our own (un)conference MEETSSS, brand partnerships, industry projects and other campaigns, both offline and online, that further our mission.
How has the place and role of the women in the music industry – be it artists or executives –changed in the past years? How do you expect it to evolve?
We’ve definitely made huge progress in the past five years, alas we’re yet to see concrete and long-lasting results. There has been a great deal of awareness and some solutions implemented (it feels somewhat empowering to write this today, Feb 24th, upon hearing about Weinstein guilty verdict), mostly due to the increasing media pressure we are all applying on companies other industry stakeholders. It’s time for all of us involved in this space to take a step further and identify specific clauses in the law, or policies that will make gender parity and diversity & inclusion, overall, a long lasting reality.
What are the main challenges faced by the women in our industry and how could they be resolved?
It’s impossible to give a straight answer because the problem itself is complex. We’re talking about hundreds, and maybe thousands, of years of indoctrination and of living in a system that was primarily built by white cis men. Undoing that will take some time because the most important shift must happen on a social and cultural level. Many people to this day don’t believe in feminism, or have different ideas about what it stands for, or doubt its necessity. Luckily, Gen Z of all genders seem to be much more attuned to this type of inclusive thinking, and they will hopefully break this archaic mindset with a strong generational gap. If I were to give a simple answer to your question, I think age and motherhood (or the potential to become a mother) are two of the main challenges that women face in any industry – which is kind of insane if you think about it. These are natural developments in one’s life cycle, at the end of the day. There’s a very powerful meme circulating the interwebs nowadays, saying “women are expected to work as if they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work”. That says a lot right there.
Can you share a specific success story of an executive/artist/company that you have been particularity excited/inspired by?
One of our long-time members, Kathleen Adler, was able to raise a near seven-figure investment from a fellow shesaid.so member who is an active investor and partner at her firm. Now that’s what I mean when I talk about the power of our community. I’m hopeful this is one of the many successful stories of this nature.
For the past 5 years, Midem has been working closely with Women in Music, Keychange, Shesaid.so and Felin/MEWEM, and many more associations across the world, to have the voices of the women of the music business heard – from its leading executives, to the new generation of professionals, as well as the artists, creators and technicians – through its conference programme, competitions, networking session and creative opportunities.