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School of Business and Management

Vick Bain

 Vick Bain


Project title

Why women leave their careers, both creative and executive, in the UK music industry. 

Project description

The UK Music Diversity Surveys (2016, 2018, 2020) have uncovered statistics demonstrating the lack of retention but there is no understanding of why this is occurring.  The loss of talented and experienced women is a talent drain that is entirely preventable and costs business a lot of money.  For female musicians, the situation is even worse with women unable to start or sustain their careers compared to their male counterparts (Bain, 2019), despite their numbers making up nearly half of all music graduates in the past decade (Higher Education Statistics Authority, 2019). 

This qualitative research will fill a gap in the careers literature with its focus on gender in the music industry.  Rooted in feminist sociology, organisational, work and careers literature as well as cultural musicology with an intersectional regard to the music industry acting as an inequality regime and the theoretical work of Joan Acker.  It explores questions such as what are the career patterns for women working in music?  What roles are women segregated into and why with what consequences?  What are the structures in the music industry that cause women to leave their careers?  Why is the music industry still so dominated by the stereotype of the male musician virtuoso?


1st Supervisor: Professor Ahu Tatli
2nd Supervisor: Dr Elena Doldor


Vick has worked in the music industry for twenty-five years.  For six years she was Chief Executive Officer of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (the Ivors Academy) and is a Sheffield University BA (Music and Performing Arts) and Henley Business School MBA graduate. She is the author of an influential industry report Counting the Music Industry, and founder of The F-List directory of UK female musicians a not-for-profit organisation aimed at facilitating professional opportunities for women in music.  Vick was enrolled into the Music Week Women in Music Awards Roll Of Honour and the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Music Industry Powerlist.  Vick is also a director of the board of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, a music tech start-up called Delic and is a trustee of Parents & Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA).