These music industry greats have ripped open the doors of the industry and continue to inspire generations to come. Let their success inspire you to shoot for the stars and to create the reality YOU want to live. Here are some badass women in music you should absolutely know about…
Women Music Biz Professionals You Should Know About
Cameo Carlson – President, MTheory (Nashville)
President of mtheory Nashville, a services company providing global marketing and strategic support for managers that represent artists from Kacey Musgraves to Tyler Childers and Zac Brown Band. Cameo’s industry background spanned a broad spectrum of industry sectors, genres, and locations with work experience across radio, DSPs, record label, and management.
Carlson has spent six years overseeing initiatives for artists ranging from Keith Urban and Alison Krauss to My Morning Jacket, among others. A former Executive Vice President at Universal Motown Republic and Manager of Label Relations and Music Programming at iTunes, Carlson holds two U.S. Patents and has been recognized as a Top Mobile Executive and “Digital Queen” by Billboard. — And rightfully so! Cameo Carlson is a boss in the industry and constantly inspired young creatives to pursue their passions in music
Jennifer D’Cunha – Head of U.S. Latin Music Business, Apple Music
With her extensive experience at Apple, Jennifer D’Cunha has unparalleled experience staying ahead of the fast-paced trends of this industry. From reggaeton to Latin trap, salsa to merengue and cumbia to bachata, Jennifer and her team are well-versed in the endless, diverse additions to the music scene. “Latin is a culture, not a genre.” says D’Cunha. “We’re always looking for new trends,” she says. “Our work never ends.”
With her sights set on expanding even further, she’s well equipped with extensive industry knowledge from her 13 consecutive years working with Apple. Whether it’s partnerships, artist and label relations, digital strategy or international marketing, her knowledge is seemingly unending and her work ethic is an inspiration to women looking to grow within a large company.
Alexandra Patsavas – Head of Music, Netflix
As a pioneer of the field, Alexandra Patsavas launched Chop Shop Music Group in 1998 and went on to supervise over 100 projects and produce dozens of soundtracks for such films as the “Twilight” franchise, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and TV series “The OC,” “Mad Men,” “Gossip Girl,” “Scandal,” “Riverdale,” “Supernatural” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” among many others.
Not only that, she has been nominated three times for the Grammy Award for “Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media”. In addition to her work in this realm, she served as chairperson of the Board of Directors of MusiCares following 10 years as an officer and board member. Embedded in the industry, Patsavas has paved the way for many others. She is the epitome of passionate hard work and a deep understanding of what it takes to make it to the top of the game and stay there, inspiring young women to do the same.
Leslie Fram – Head of Music, CMT
Leslie Fram does it all. Currently, she serves as Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT, overseeing all music integration within the CMT brand. However, as an avid philanthropist and spokesperson, Leslie Fram uses her voice to support numerous non-profits and causes. She’s championed new avenues to showcase emerging artists and female power players of Country music.
Known for her killer intuition, Fram was the first woman to receive the TJ Martell Award in recognition of outstanding performance in the music industry in 2000, and was presented with the NARAS-Atlanta Chapter Heroes Award for her outstanding contributions to music and the music community. In 2009, she was honored as a Lifetime Achievement Inductee in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. And that’s not even the half of it.
Like I said, she does it all. She embodies the phrase, “If you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
Expand your mind:
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Gina Miller – Senior Vice President and General Manager, Entertainment One
Music industry veteran, Gina Miller is the Senior Vice President and General Manager at Entertainment One. She’s been responsible for the campaigns of artists like Shirley Caesar, Bishop Paul S. Morton, JJ Hairston, Erica Campbell, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark Cole, Donald Lawrence, Michelle Williams, Lalah Hathaway, Tweet, Hezekiah Walker and many notable others.
After a non-traditional internship at Light Records in Nashville, Gina Miller has worked her way to the top of the game. Gina approaches almost 14 years with the company and more than 6 years as a VP, as she continues to pave the way for women in music. As a member of countless music and arts programs, she believes in helping the community and is committed to reaching back, pulling others up, and pushing forward together.
Gina not only uses her impressive skill set in the entertainment industry as an executive, but she empowers others and gives as much as she can from her place in the world as an entrepreneur and as an educator.
Ali Hagendorf – Head of Rock, Spotify
Not only is Ali Hagendorf a national television personality, former A&R rep for Lamb of God, live announcer and music journalist, she’s also the Global Head of Rock at Spotify. From A&R at Epic and Columbia Records to hosting music television shows on Fuse and The CW to her roots as a healthy living expert, Ali Hagendorf oozes positivity and support for the industry and everyone in it. Her confidence stems from years of experience and the ability to stand tall in the face of adversity.
In her interview with Consequence of Sound, she explains, “I think it’s important to realize that nothing is more powerful than self-respect. It’s a tough business, and it is tough being a woman. At times, you end up having to prove yourself a little bit more and prove that you have the credibility, which is great, and I welcome that. It’s about having the self-respect and staying true to yourself. You have to be grateful for every opportunity and also help empower others whenever possible…”
Jennifer Masset – Head of Independents, Spotify (NY)
For over 20 years, Jennifer Masset has been engulfed in the music industry, learning the ins and outs of the field and growing her network of artists and labels alike. She went from managing record stores in Chicago, Boston, and NYC to running !K7 Label Group, then later working with A2IM and seemingly infinite things in-between. Now, you can find her working her magic as Spotify’s Head of Independent Label Support. She works to ensure indie artists and labels are getting the most out of Spotify’s tools and features, pushing them towards new heights.
Her knowledge of the industry runs deep and her integrity and honesty in this ever-evolving industry is admirable. She’s the perfect example of a woman who sticks to her guns, makes shit happen and moves with passion.
Susan Wojcicki – CEO of YouTube
Susan Wojcicki became Google’s first marketing manager in 1999. She led the company’s online advertising business and was put in charge of Google’s original video service. After observing the success of YouTube, Wojcicki proposed the acquisition of YouTube by Google in 2006. After that major success, it’s no surprise she was named YouTube’s new CEO in 2014.
In an interview with Forbes, the article says, “Now that she’s in a position of power as CEO of YouTube, Wojcicki said she realizes it’s her responsibility to make sure YouTube has a diverse workforce and to encourage women to get into tech.”
She responds, “You need to empower the people who are already in your company.” In an op-ed in Vanity Fair, she said that the number of women at YouTube has increased from 24% to nearly 30% since she became CEO. With the help of women like her, there’s no stopping the bright future that lies ahead for women looking to take charge and make significant change.
Dawn Gates – Sr. VP of Digital Business & Creative Development UMG (Nashville)
Dawn Gates is the mastermind over at UMG Nashville, working as Senior VP of Digital Business and Creative Development. “Dawn is one of the most creative, dynamic marketers I have ever known,” says Cindy Mabe, SVP Marketing for UMG Nashville. She continues, “She brings ideas that help drive our artists’ careers and connect to their fans and consumers…” As she continues to inspire young marketers to pursue music business opportunities, she advices young creatives to persevere in the face of adversity.
Molly Neuman – President of Songtrust
Upon Molly Neuman gaining her new role within the company, Songtrust writes, “Since joining Songtrust in 2017 as Global Head of Business Development, Neuman has played a key role in developing much of the company’s significant growth, leading the global business development, sales, and marketing teams. During Molly’s tenure, Songtrust has posted record-setting metrics for the business, including triple-digit growth with more than 2 million songs under its management from more than 300,000 songwriters.”
Her experience spans nearly three decades. As a champion for independent artists, she’s learned from her countless roles in the industry how to navigate the field with dedication and compassion. Before she dove into the business side of things, she got her start as the drummer for the iconic Riot Grrrl band, Bratmobile. She sets an example for those looking to advance their career beyond societal expectations and norms. She assures up-and-comers that with hard work and unending drive, nothing can stand in your way.
Portia Sabin – President of The Music Business Association
As president of independent record label, Kill Rock Stars, and newly appointed president of the Music Business Association, Portia Sabin has been an influential thought leader in the industry for years. In her various roles, she has constantly had her finger on the pulse of the most pressing issues our industry faces, striving to improve the landscape for future generations to come.
From leading the creation of the A2IM Libera Awards to starting a podcast to educate musicians and more, Portia has been a strong advocate for the music business from the start. Her popular music business podcast “The Future of What”, works hard to raise awareness of the deep-seeded issues of this business and promotes diversity and inclusion in local communities. // Click here to tune in.
These powerful women take no shit, they’re committed to their goals, and let nothing hold them back. From adversity to industry highs and lows, these music business badasses have seen it all. Going forward, they continue to pave the way for future entrepreneurs, music industry writers, directors, executives and more for generations to come. 💫