We need to talk about * this * triple j tweet
It’s 1am and I can’t sleep. It’s not the usual monkey-mind-impostor syndrome that keeps me awake though. I can’t sleep because just one tweet sparked a conversation that many of us have been having quietly for years.
I believe when triple ja posted this conversation that begins Tweeter yesterday they aimed it at music listeners. I know triple j is a national youth broadcaster with a demographic target. Damn, TIO even published this ironic article in 2018: Isn’t it weird how the triple j got lost as soon as I got older ?.
triple j’s intention was not malicious. They lashed out at fans who over the years made sarcastic comments like, “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff” and posted “nobody cares” memes with songs by new artists with high turnover.
What they did, albeit inadvertently, was to bring attention to an industry-wide problem. And not for the first time either.
Recently, at the end of a phone call with a publicist, she revealed to me that she had felt less valuable as a woman over 40 in the Australian music industry.
Another revered industry figure told me that after several comments on a public forum about her appearance, she had to tell her fellow executives that they had to give her 15 minutes’ notice before any call was made. video conference. This is so that she can wear makeup in order to avoid opinions about how tired they think she is.
This music industry has seen the symbolic annihilation of women over 40. They have been aged out of the industry in such a subversive way that not only are we losing incredible music (and therefore economic contributions), but we are also sending a bell warning to emerging acts.
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These warning bells tell them they have to move fast if they want to make a career in music: “Quick! Before the joy you had in your life shows up on your face in the form of smile lines! Fast! Before the old white men sitting on the boards stop fantasizing about you!
The other day, by text message, a young artist said to me: “I’m so afraid of not having enough time to succeed.
This artist has barely started her career and feels this fear in her bones. In the midst of a global pandemic with all of its restrictions, literally and figuratively, our female artists carry that extra stressor, which their male counterparts more easily avoid: their brand.
Admittedly, the triple j tweet was sent with the tongue firmly in the cheek, a play on “Does it hurt?” When you fell from the sky? same. But artists have the right to be angry. They should be livid – the triple j is basically the mirror of an entire industry.
This industry tells female performers above a certain age that they have nothing more to offer young music fans, but that an all-male band that grows 35 is worthy of coveted career indications like Feature Album, a recording contract or a support window. with a global artist. Women must constantly “reinvent themselves” – their sound, their image, their message. Men, not so much – and certainly not at the rate we expect from women.
I recently made a conscious decision not to include the ages of local artists in the news and stories I write, no matter how impressive that number is. You won’t see me writing about the “19-year-old prodigy” who is championed by a major streaming service, for example.
In her BigSound 2017 keynote, Tina Arena shed light on this form of sexism:
“… When I played Splendor In The Grass it was good, but everyone kept mentioning my age. Paul Kelly performed this festival and no one mentioned his age.”
On the other hand, in a small effort to standardize the aging process on the industry side, I have started dividing my own age at the appropriate opportunities. I will be the first to tell you that I am 34 years old and that I have no foreseeable plans to leave the industry. And I hope to be 60 and still add value.
triple ja posted a misguided tweet and I want to thank them for it. The conversation she started rallied many of us. We are speaking, once again, publicly about a subject that has thrived in private for too long. And just like the #metoo movement in Australia, it will take a lot more conversations, a lot more speeches and a lot more articles, before this truth is finally brought out of the shadows.
Because the truth, as Tina said, is quite simple:
“There are women over 40 who make music but you won’t hear them on commercial radio, even if they sell arenas. “