Female Soloists Re-Emerge On Country Airplay Chart
Let this be a quick reminder of just how gender biased the Country radio format has been for years.
For the first time in over seven years, Billboard reports that three solo female artists are charting concurrently within the Top 10 of the Country Airplay chart. The trio includes Maren Morris (“The Bones”) at #7, Gabby Barrett (“I Hope”) at #9 and Ingrid Andress (“More Hearts Than Mine”) at #10.
Top 10 on Billoard’s Country Airplay chart:
- “Homesick” – Kane Brown
- “Homemade” – Jake Owen
- “Kinfolks” – Sam Hunt
- “What She Wants Tonight” – Luke Bryan
- “Catch” – Brett Young
- “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot” – Jordan Davis
- “The Bones” – Maren Morris
- “We Back” – Jason Aldean
- “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett
- “More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress
The last time three solo females appeared on the chart at the same time occurred all the way back in October 2012, according to Billboard, which saw Carrie Underwood (“Blown Away”) at #2, Jana Kramer (“Why Ya Wanna”) at #4 and Miranda Lambert (“Fastest Girl in Town”) at #9. Thanks to Barrett and Andress, Billboard notes that this is also the first time in HISTORY the chart has seen two women in the Top 10 with solo debut hits in lead roles.
Barrett, Andress and Morris‘s achievement serves as a great reminder of the ongoing gender disparity in Country airplay. According to a recent study on the year-end Mediabase charts from the University of Ottawa, women in country are proven to be grossly underrepresented in airplay compared to their male counterparts. In 2018, songs by women represented 11.3% of year-end Country airplay reports, a steep drop from the 33.3% they shared back in 2000. Men also outnumbered women on Country radio in terms of spins by a ratio of 9.7:1 in 2018.
From 2002-2018, the study shows that male Country artists spent 85 percent of this period at #1 in airplay (or 14.4 years), while solo women occupied just 11 percent. Kenny Chesney, the top male Country artist during this period, has accumulated nearly twice the amount of all-time career spins than Carrie Underwood, the top female Country artist.
Credit: “Gender Representation on Country Format Radio” study
Kristen Williams, Senior VP of Promotion and Streaming at Warner Music Nashville, talked to Billboard about how her clients Barrett and Andress defied gender disparity on the charts:
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of many artist achievements in my career, but this may be among the most impactful,” Williams said. “I’m incredibly proud of Gabby and Ingrid for delivering two bona fide hits, I’m proud of our team for fighting to make sure they continue to be heard, and I’m proud of country radio for embracing these artists as they deserve to be embraced. Let’s make this habit instead of history.”
While it’s certainly cause for celebration, let’s hope we see the day when three solo women (or even 10) charting within the Country Airplay Top 10 isn’t a headline-grabbing occasion. Check out the Top 10 hits from Morris, Barrett and Andress below for yourself to see what Country radio has been missing:
“The Bones” – Maren Morris
“I Hope” – Gabby Barrett
“More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress
Do you think Country radio could see a shift in its gender disparity? Share your thoughts on Twitter at @PopCrave!