Laura Callaghan

On my brief experience working in the music industry…

Or “…my brief experience working in the music industry and why I hated it.”

My experience working in the music industry is peripheral, but it’s an entity that I wish to not come any closer to.

Just to give some background and context, within the past year I’ve turned into radio DJ, turned music blogger, turned club promotor, turned DJ.  And in all those rapidly escalating minor career changes, none of what was being bestowed on me was ever what I had initially intended on doing or even asking for.

Being a girl in the electronic music industry is looked upon as being a sort of rare and unseen gem in a gigantic sausage-fest of DJs and producers.

“Wow!! Is that a girl?”

Why are girls treated like spotting a mythical creature in the realm of club/trap culture and electronic music?

Where are all the girls?

Where are all the girl DJs? The girl producers?

Yes, they’re here, and they obviously do exist.

But I think the bigger question begs something more of the entire community; why aren’t girls welcome?

Well, now you’ve come to the right place.

Because I’m here to tell you exactly why I did not enjoy my brief experience in the music industry, in fact, I downright hated it.

Never have I ever felt so belittled and taken advantage of in a quote-on-quote “workplace”.  I’ve been very steamed about my experience for long enough, but I never had the real time and energy to begin to methodically explain how sexist this industry is.

For starters, the idea that a woman can have interest in a genre of music that is deemed to be “masculine” or, in other words, “not popular among women” (aka not T-Swift), is something men believe to be some kind of a “girl’s boy” quality.  And let the fetishism then commence for those females who have a markedly “unique” or “good” taste in music, because there is very heavy sexualization going on for all the women who are DJ’s and producers.

Not to mention, all of my unpaid work experiences of being hired to simply act as a pretty and ethnic centerpiece, my ideas and the ideas of women who were my peers, were never taken into any serious consideration.

It’s hard to find any articles written by women who are in the electronic music industry that discuss anything about their own personal experiences. Regardless of a few notable tweets by some outspoken female DJs and producers, no think-pieces are being launched on their behalf, and all of the music journalists lack the freedom to publish any editorials on the subject.

As noted by previous articles, women are given much less attention than male artists.  Male artists are consistently promoted, and written about more than female artists.

The path to success for women is not made any easier when it is constantly being undermined by men that have the audacity to use female aliases to be “edgy” or “unique.”

*Would naming yourself after a common female name still be a trend for men if there were as many female artists known in that community?  The act of using a female alias greatly weakens the authority that women hold in that genre, while also points directly to the privilege that men possess.

Women in this field constantly live under the fist of the omnipresent patriarchy; because they all live in the fear of what would possibly happen if they spoke ill of all their male counterparts for their problematic behavior.  Being slave to the overwhelmingly male-dominated field, women really aren’t given much of the spotlight and no room to share any of their opinions.

There lacks any safe-spaces for females.  As a result, so many of these women involved in this genre of music glaze over problematic behavior and sexist practices just to fit into the trend and climb the ladder to success.

What’s even more messed up is that there’s a lot of men out there who do try to take advantage of these *special* women (and believe you me, I’ve lost many-a-“friend” for saying no). The concept of “sleeping your way to the top” is very real and it is still very alive and well in the minds of these men.

What’s scary is how far the patriarchy has really penetrated into this field.

And no, I will not just sit back and accept that this is the way the entertainment industries work.

Take this as my letter of resignation, but I do not wish to contribute to working in such a toxic environment.

The fast-track to success is never long and lasting.

Amended 12/5/2017:

*(Removed Image) After learning that the artist SOPHIE has now publicly transitioned, I believe it further extends my argument that using femme names (if you are cis-gender male) -to seem edgy- robs focus from the femme and female-identified artists who are working twice as hard to establish identity.


featured image by Laura Callaghan


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