The Future is Female: 50% of New Guitars are Sold to Young Women

Women in music industry

The gender gap in music has been a hot topic of debate for years. It seems for every one female-lead or all-female act to breakout there are at least a dozen or more male performers given similar attention. Many argue women have to do more than men in music to get the same opportunities, such as performing at big festivals or landing good representation, and there is plenty of data that supports their argument.

But change is coming. According to a new study conducted by Fender, one of the largest guitar conglomerates in the world, females now account for 50% of young, aspiring guitar players across both the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Today’s players have grown up in a different cultural context and popular music landscape, and rising artists like Mura Masa, Tash Sultana, Youngr, Daniel Caesar, Grimes, and Ed Sheeran are changing the way the guitar is being used,” says Fender CEO Andy Mooney. “As a brand, we are committed to creating tools – both physical and digital – that this generation of creators needs for self-expression, now and in the future.”

These results echo similar surveys conducted in recent years, but 50% is a new high point for the female demographic.

“There was also a belief about what people referred to as the ‘Taylor Swift factor’ maybe making the 50 percent number short-term and aberrational,” Mooney told Rolling Stone. “In fact, it’s not. Taylor has moved on. I think playing less guitar on stage than she has in the past. But young women are still driving 50 percent of new guitar sales. So the phenomenon seems like it’s got legs, and it’s happening worldwide.”

Anyone who claims this is a “phenomenon” or “fad” is fooling themselves and putting down creative women everywhere. Music’s history is filled with notable female musicians, and their numbers have been growing in leaps and bounds for decades. Rock may not be at the forefront of pop culture the way it once was, but that is a momentary slip that is just one or two hit songs away from changing once more. Who knows, maybe one of the young women picking up guitars in 2019 will be the person to change everything.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.