Empowering Women In Music

“Let’s get together to drive a strong message out into the world.”

Joy Denalane, singer and Keychange Ambassador

Time for change

The music industry sees itself as the embodiment of diversity. But that’s far from being reflected in its structures: female, transgender, and non-binary artists have fewer opportunities to perform than men, they earn less and find it harder to get jobs in the music industry. That has to change. Equal rights are a key step towards a future-proof music landscape.

That's what we want to achieve

The UK PRS Foundation launched the Keychange initiative – originally as a talent development programme for female artists and music managers. It has now grown into a movement of festivals and music organizations that promotes gender parity. The declared goal of Keychange is to trigger a global debate which will lead to sustainable change in the music landscape.

The Keychange Pledge: Gender balance by 2022

Together with strong international partners such as the PRS Foundation, Musikcentrum Sweden, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, the Tallinn Music Week and MUTEK, the Reeperbahn Festival has developed the Keychange Pledge. For us, that means: At least one woman, transgender or non-binary person will be present in 50 percent of the acts in the festival and conference program. A total of 180 festivals are already on board with this campaign. The full list can be found here: All signatories.

Going deeper: expanding the Keychange initiative

In June 2019, Keychange reached a new milestone: the initiative was extended to related companies and organizations affiliated to music, including agencies, labels, conservatoires and orchestras in this important transformation. They can now also sign the Keychange Pledge. So far, more than 60 organizations have joined, including the Royal Opera House, the English National Opera, the German label ferryhouse and radio broadcaster ByteFM. You will find all partners of the Keychange initiative here.

“Pop culture feels so far ahead but the reality of how a lot of people live every day is way behind that.”

Kate Nash, musician, actor and Keychange Ambassador

Keychange 2.0: EU Commission to support four more years of program

Diversity is a gain for our culture – and more successful economically as well. In the second phase of the Keychange initiative, a growing network of committed ambassadors and organizations is gathering behind these ideas. From September 2019 on, the EU Commission is to support the Keychange initiative for a further four years – with total funding of 1.4 million euros. At this stage, the Reeperbahn Festival is to take over the leadership of the joint efforts. The contents of Keychange 2.0 were presented and discussed at the Reeperbahn Festival 2019, by Keychange Ambassador Kate Nash, Susanne Hollmann from the European Commission and Alexander Schultz, co-founder of the Keychange initiative and General Manager of the Reeperbahn Festival.

Stick with it

Keep up to date on the subject of Keychange and other Festival news – with the Reeperbahn Festival Newsletter: Subscribe to Newsletter

Strong partners: these are the organizations behind the Keychange initiative

The British PRS Foundation launched Keychange. The Reeperbahn Festival is leading the second phase of the initiative in close collaboration with the Foundation and the Musikcentrum Öst (Sweden), Iceland Airwaves (Iceland), the Tallinn Music Week/Shiftworks (Estonia) and the BIME Festival (Spain).

New partners coming on board are the Ireland Music Week/First Music Contact (Ireland), the Oslo World Festival (Norway), Linecheck Festival/Innovation Hub (Italy) and SACEM (France). Other festivals that have joined the Keychange initiative are Way Out West (Sweden), Liverpool Sound City (UK), MUTEK and BreakOut West (Canada).

The main sponsors are Gorwelion Horizons, SOCAN Foundation, SoundCloud, STIM, STEF, IMRO, GEMA, Songtrust, Fundación SGAE, FACTOR, Ableton, Smirnoff Equalising Music, and the Roskilde Festival. Keychange is also supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media.

partners and sources

Sources infographics:
01: The World Bank (2017): Population, female (% of total population): (Last updated: 14.8.19)
Smith, Dr. Stacy L. / Choueiti, Marc / Pieper, Dr. Katherine (2019): Inclusion in the Recording Studio. Gender and Race/Ethnicity of Artists, Songwriters & Producers: (Last updated:14.8.19)
02: Keychange program


{[{filter.countIds}]} results