Martina McBride pointedly addressed Spotify on Monday, posting a series of Instagram stories that asked some tough questions of the streaming giant and its ratios of male and female performers. McBride even reached out to her Twitter followers to follow along.
“Check out my insta story if you haven’t already. I’m fired up this morning!” she wrote.
Please follow me on Instagram to check out my insta story if you haven’t already. I’m fired up this morning!
— Martina McBride (@martinamcbride) September 9, 2019
The whole thing began when McBride, who was praising the title track from Sara Evans’ 1997 album Three Chords and the Truth, decided to make a playlist called “Country Music.” The recommendations that came up were all songs by men, including Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church, and Florida Georgia Line.
“Come on Spotify, you can and should do better,” she wrote.
She refreshed the recommendations again and again, claiming to have done it 14 times in total before another woman — Carrie Underwood — finally popped up in the Recommended Songs list.
“And this on a week when we had four stellar releases by women,” she wrote, citing new albums and singles by Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, the Highwomen, Kelsea Ballerini, and Sheryl Crow.
Comparing Spotify to Apple Music’s A-List Country playlist, she noted that Apple Music had 13 women out of 65 total, or 20 percent. It’s kind of an apples to oranges comparison in this case, since Spotify’s recommendation engine is separate from its curated playlists. In fairness, Spotify’s Hot Country playlist currently has 13 songs by women or woman-fronted acts out of 61 total, a slightly higher percentage than Apple Music but still nowhere near half.
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Comparisons aside, McBride’s anger seems centered over not being able to get any recommendations for songs by women, nor being able to find a good explanation as to why that might be.
“Is it lazy? Is it discriminatory?” she wrote. “I’m not doing this for me obviously. I’m sure I won’t show up on any recommendations anytime soon after today. I’m frustrated for my sisters. For all the great female artists who are making fabulous music. For all the female writers. And most of all, for every little girl out there who doesn’t hear this music and doesn’t know that she can grow up and do it.”