Last month, Soundgirls and music streaming giant Spotify joined forces to launch the EQL Directory - an international database for women working in audio and music production. The directory is a nonprofit, international database of professionals designed to create more opportunities for women working in the music and professional audio industries. It is currently estimated that less than five per cent of all audio professionals are women.
“[We] face the myth that there are not very many women or non-conforming people working in audio, and because of this people don’t even bother to look. The EQL Directory proves that this is not true,” said Karrie Keyes, co-founder of SoundGirls and Pearl Jam’s longtime sound engineer at the time of launch. “SoundGirls already had this global directory of women in audio and production, and we came together to help them make it more beautiful, more useful, and more visible within the industry,” explained Kerry Steib, Spotify’s director of social impact. “We know that increasing equity for women in these fields is a complex problem to solve. We have to work with great partners across the industry and come together to create solutions."
Visitors to the EQL Directory can find resources from campaigns and organisations including the Audio Engineering Society, Beatz By Girlz, Equalizer Project, female:pressure, Gender Amplified, Girls Make Beats, Instituto Criar, Secret Genius, shesaid.so, SoundGirls in Mexico, The 7% Series, Upfront Producer Network, Yorkshire Sound Women Network, and the Women’s Audio Mission. And according to Keyes, the benefits that come with signing up to the directory are substantial.
“This is a great resource that can be easily accessed and forwarded to people who are looking to hire women and non-binary people. SoundGirls has had success with the directory, helping to get women hired and several people have been hired through the directory,” she told PSNEurope. “Now, with Spotify, our reach within the industry will have a greater impact. It will help artists that want to work and hire women be able to find them.”
Prior to Spotify’s involvement, SoundGirls had launched its own directory, but now with the streaming giant onboard as a partner, its profile is set to receive a significant boost. “SoundGirls launched the original directory so that we had a database to send to people who inquired about hiring women engineers, producers, and techs about two years ago,” Keyes continued.
“We also launched it to combat people saying they wanted to hire women but they just could not find any. Spotify has helped us build it into a platform that is easy to use and will have a greater impact. Our industry lacks diversity and all industries function and run better with a wide range of talent and different voices - and Spotify has the ability to make this a go to directory.” Keyes and SoundGirls are also busy with a number of additional activities, as the organisation prepares for another eventful year. “SoundGirls is just gearing up for NAMM and GIRLSCHOOL, which we will host events during NAMM, including our NAMM Mentoring Session and providing all the techs and engineers for the Annual She Rocks Awards,” Keyes elaborates.
“GIRLSCHOOL immediately follows, which is a Women Led Music Festival in Los Angeles, which SoundGirls provides the production staff for." She concludes: “We will continue to grow and provide support to women in audio. We are currently working on more events and workshops for women in Post Production Sound and Film & TV Sound. We are excited to launch this initiative will help women just starting out in production and location sound.