Cover To Cover: Redefining The Music Industry
By Naomi Head
There is a fast-growing trend on the Scottish music scene- women are done with asking permission to be a part of the industry. Instead, they are claiming their own space and leading the conversation about what an inclusive and open industry will look like.
From female underrepresentation on festival line-ups to the protection of abusers, there is a well-established culture of women being pushed to the fringes of and excluded from the music industry. There are many inherently biased systems to dismantle and even more important discussions to be had.
As the music industry has pivoted towards online spaces during the pandemic, many women have opened dialogues, taken control of how their careers work and spoken up about what they want the industry to look like.
Wilson is the co-founder of POWA Scotland, an online community that aims to help unsigned female artists produce music, and Liddell is the founder of the Cover to Cover project, a charity album creating awareness of female underrepresentation and raising money for Scottish Women Inventing Music.
Cover to Cover is a collaborative project from Fiona Liddell Music bringing together 13 female and non-binary artists from across Scotland. The result is an album of 13 covers, with each artist covering an original song from another on the list.
Liddell’s own electronic duo, Gefahrgeist, is on the bill, as well as many other upcoming Scotland-based artists including Jen Athan, sarya, Aurora Engine, PINLIGHT, Francesca Ortisi, Jen Ella, Mima Merrow, Amie Huckstep, Chiara Baillie, Post Coal Prom Queen, Olivia Thom and Ceiti.
After speaking with some of the artists involved, it is clear they are not shy about speaking up about how the industry has let them down. Many of them recount open mic nights where they were the only woman present, having to fight to be paid for gigs and how few times they have shared the stage with other women.
The Cover to Cover project started out as a fundraiser for SWIM, but it has quickly become a community movement. These artists have come together to support each other, collaborate on this album, and ultimately they have created a space where they can talk about their experiences in the music industry and what needs to improve.
Whilst everyone is generally positive about the future of Scottish music, there is an overwhelming desire for change from everyone involved in Cover to Cover. These women have been working in the industry for a long time and they are tired of having to fight harder to gain recognition, get gigs or featured tracks in comparison to the male artist’s who see very little pushback, resistance or criticism.
Many of the women have felt cut off from, burnt out by or fed up with the scene. This is why they are so keen to be a part of projects that deviate from the norm and give them more opportunities and power over what their careers can be.
Projects like POWA, Hen Hoose and Cover to Cover are building stronger communities by bringing women together and uplifting unsigned or underrepresented voices. There is power in these spaces and the conversations being held are more valuable than merely redefining what it means to be a woman in the music industry. It is clear they all crave the variety and creative opportunity that comes from an inclusive and supportive environment.
These artists are ones to watch and we can already look forward to more as they already have plans to work together again soon.
Cover to Cover is out now, you can order the album here. All proceeds are going to support SWIM’s efforts in fighting for equality in the Scottish music industry. You can see more from Fiona online @fionaliddellmusic or at fionaliddell.com
Musicians (left to right) Francesca Ortisi, Jen Athan, sarya and Olivia Thom
Naomi Head is a writer and media professional based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has written for Time Out Beijing, MYLO World and more. You can find her online @naomieah or at naomihead.com