In the music industry, women are often overlooked, having to fight for their places on festival line-ups and awards shortlists.
But it seems that the tables are turning for female artists as they enjoyed a bumper 2023, with the biggest chart success since records began in 1952.
Taylor Swift, 34, Miley Cyrus, 31, and Raye, 26, are among the stars that helped propel women to their best-selling year in decades with songs by female artists spending 31 weeks at No1 on the Official Charts.
Songs by or featuring female artists account for seven out of the top ten singles of 2023, with Ms Cyrus’ Flowers coming in at number one, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Escapism by British singer Raye is at number three, followed by Ms Swift’s Anti-Hero. Ellie Goulding, American artist SZA, English singer PinkPantheress and Afrobeats star Libianca are also in the top ten.
Taylor Swift performing in Nashville, Tennessee in May 2023
Miley Cyrus, 31 (pictured) and Raye, 26, are among the stars who helped propel women to their best-selling year in decades
Other female artists who made an impact on the chart included Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Doja Cat while 13 of the top 20 are songs by women.
‘Increased representation of women in the charts is positive and long overdue,’ Naomi Pohl, the first female general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, told the Mail.
‘There has been a much more active conversation about diversity in the UK music industry in the past couple of years, but we still have a long way to go.
‘There are many barriers for women working in music, both performers and behind the scenes, which need to be urgently addressed.’
Ms Pohl said that, despite the achievement, ‘sexual harassment and abuse, unequal pay, discrimination, unsafe workplaces’ and ‘disproportionate representation of men in decision-making roles’ are still ‘ongoing problems’.
She added: ‘The industry has to be truly inclusive in order for women to genuinely have equal opportunity at every level in the business.’ Female artists had the highest annual share of Top 10 hits this century, with 48.5 per cent of tracks featuring women.
During August and September last year, solo women had the top three chart positions for six consecutive weeks.
‘Whilst work continues towards achieving full representation for women across the music industry, 2023 has been a brilliant year for women in the Official Charts,’ said Dr Jo Twist, BPI Chief Executive.
‘There is a more diverse range of recording artists than ever achieving great success with the backing of their labels.
‘Women spent more weeks at No.1 on the Official Singles Chart than in any previous year, while seven of the ten biggest tracks were by women.
‘This should be celebrated, but without complacency, and our work in the music industry continues to ensure that this becomes the norm.’ Recorded music consumption in the UK rose by a tenth in 2023 thanks to a huge growth in streaming which saw 179.6 billion streams – double that of 2018.
Other female artists who made an impact included Dua Lipa (pictured) and Billie Eilish, with 13 of the top 20 songs by women
The sales of vinyl LPs were also up 11.8 per cent year-on-year with 6.1m units sold in 2023 and a surge over the festive period.
This is the highest sales for physical vinyl LPs in more than 30 years and their 16th consecutive year of growth.
Some of the year’s most popular albums on vinyl include Ms Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version), The Rolling Stones’ Hackney Diamonds and Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Lana Del Rey.
The sales of CDs continue to fall but the rate of decline has slowed, with Take That’s This Life the most popular of the year and 10.8m units sold overall. Cassettes are also still surpassing six figures annually with Guts by Ms Rodrigo the top seller.