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50 women who broke barriers in the music industry

  • Lizzo

    Lizzo began her career as a flautist and transformed into one of pop music’s most respected figures with a DIY attitude and open honesty. Lizzo was named The Advocate’s 2020 Women of the Year for her work in promoting Black and LGBTQ+ artists.

  • Beyoncé

    Beyoncé is more than just one of the most famous people in the world: She’s redefined music success and become an inspiration for women around the globe. Beyoncé’s 2016 album “Lemonade” was her record sixth album to debut atop the Billboard charts. At 33, Beyoncé became the youngest artist to win 20 Grammys.

  • Desiree Perez

    Desiree Perez is one of the driving forces in hip-hop music as the chief executive officer of Roc Nation. Perez has been one of Jay-Z's closest confidantes over the past two decades and has brokered big deals for Beyoncé and Rihanna. In 2019, Pere was named Billboard’s Executive of the Year.

  • Jessica Hooper

    In 2015, Jessica Hooper published “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic,” which provided a unique look inside of the most powerful minds in music journalism. Hooper has covered music over many decades for publications like The Village Voice, MTV, and Pitchfork. Her writing paved the way for other seminal music books like Lizzie Goodman’s “Meet Me in the Bathroom.”

  • Lorde

    Lorde’s 2014 album “Pure Heroine” became the first debut by a female artist in six years to top 1 million in U.S. sales. Lorde’s mature style and songwriting changed perceptions of teen artists, further proving pop music has evolved way beyond bubblegum.

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  • The Chicks

    In the early 2000s, this band took a bold stand at the risk of alienating a chunk of its fan base by criticizing President George W. Bush and American military actions in the Middle East. The Chicks continue to show they’re not afraid to wade into political waters; in 2020, the band removed the word “Dixie” from its name because of connotations to slavery.

  • Michelle An

    Michelle An is the creative force behind the visuals for acts like Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, and Selena Gomez. Now the executive vice president, head of visual creative at Interscope Geffen A&M, An began her career in advertising. An has twice been named to Billboard’s Women In Music list, and her artists’ music videos regularly produce over 1 billion monthly views online.

  • Cindy Charles

    As principal of music partnerships and operations at Twitch, Cindy Charles works with artists and producers to create music opportunities on the popular gaming platform. In 2019, Marshmello’s Fortnite concert was one of the biggest music events of the year. Charles is also the co-founder of Women in Digital Media.

  • Annie Lee

    In March 2019, Annie Lee was named the chief financial officer of Interscope Geffen A&M. Lee, who joined Interscope in 2006, is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, and has been a leading advocate for diversity and inclusion at her company. She also is a mentor for emerging music industry executives.

  • Blackpink

    Following in the footsteps of Girls Generation and Wonder Girls, Blackpink has achieved worldwide success, unlike any female K-pop act before it. The group's single for “How You Like That” set YouTube records, including “Most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours.” Blackpink is also the first female Korean group to be certified by the Recording Industry Association of America and has been cited by Bloomberg as the current biggest band in the world.

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