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From Beyoncé to Taylor Swift to Dua Lipa, women artists are ushering in ‘Pop Girl Spring’

Ashok Kumar—TAS24/Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Recently reinstated Beautycounter CEO is purchasing the company back from The Carlyle Group, Democrats in Congress are growing frustrated with abortion rights groups over efforts to repeal a 1873 law, and women pop artists are giving fans plenty to celebrate this spring. Have a restful weekend!

- Pop girl spring. Taylor Swift's newest album The Tortured Poets Department is here, and it is anticipated to be one of the biggest releases of the year. While Swift is likely to rack up more sales and streaming records this week, she is in good company among other women pop artists on the Billboard charts. In fact, a chorus of the biggest names in music dropped or will drop albums in March, April, and May, including Ariana Grande, Kacey Musgraves, Maggie Rogers, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish. Fans have begun to refer to this season of notable releases as Pop Girl Spring.

For pop fans, the bevy of high-profile drops has solidified a trend that became evident during last year’s summer of Swift and Beyoncé, and was further reinforced at this year’s Grammy awards, where women swept nearly all of the televised categories: Culturally, women are dominating pop music.

But that public-facing influence hasn't translated behind the scenes, says Tonya Butler, chair of the music business and management department at Berklee College of Music. Women in the C-suite remain a rarity in the music world, as do female producers. Sexual harassment is still rampant in the industry, according to a report from MIDiA Research, and the pay gap between men and women industry-wide remains pronounced. Swift and Beyoncé may run empires that eclipse many male artists’, but they are anomalies, she says.

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“It’s definitely exciting,” Butler tells me of all the female chart-toppers of recent weeks. “But I would love for us to get to a point where it’s not a surprise that so many women in the industry are doing so phenomenally well.”

There’s long been a perception in the music industry that women can't lead a successful tour, since they only appeal to other women consumers (meanwhile, both men and women will pay to watch men perform). The past few years—and especially 2023’s record-breaking Renaissance and Eras tours—have been notable for defying that perceived wisdom—women are flocking to see their favorite acts, and they're paying big money to do so.

Still, reaching true parity in the industry will require constant, sustained effort and attention, says Butler, not just cheering on the handful of female artists who have managed to reach the summit in this moment. While it's exciting to see women dominating the charts, she wants to make sure that extends beyond the headliners: That labels are investing the money that female artists generate (from their female fan bases) into developing the next generation of female acts, and that those women have access to mental health resources, for example.

“I don't want us to get distracted by all the hoopla,” she says. “For every Beyoncé, there’s 10,000 wannabe Beyoncés who are working their butts off and not getting any support and might even be exploited. Where are the mechanisms to support them?”

Alicia Adamczyk
alicia.adamczyk@fortune.com

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This story was originally featured on Fortune.com