Brand Activation: C3 Presents, Superfly And Another Planet Partner With Bumble To Empower Female Musicians
Hayley Kiyoko poses with up-and-coming singer Ximone, who won the chance to be mentored at Lollapalooza via the Empowered by Bumble Bizz program. Photo by Katrina Barber for Lollapalooza
With the music industry eager to address the need for more female representation in the business, including the gender imbalance of festival lineups, and Bumble’s commitment to empowering women, the partnership between the social networking app and C3 Presents, Superfly, and Another Planet Entertainment is a natural fit and win-win.
Since Bumble launched in December 2014 as a location-based dating app in which female users initiate conversation between heterosexual matches, the company expanded in March 2016 with a BFF mode to help users find platonic friends and then introduced Bumble Bizz in October 2017 to bring the women-first experience to professional networking.
Music has been a part of Bumble early on, with a Spotify partnership introduced in June 2016 so users could link their Spotify accounts and display their top artists in order to easily connect with like-minded fans.
The “Empowered by Bumble Bizz” program was announced in June as a multi-year initiative to address gender disparity in the music industry, kicking off with a campaign to give up-and-coming female musicians the chance to be mentored by Bebe Rexha, Kacey Musgraves or Hayley Kiyoko at a festival produced by C3, Superfly or Another Planet. Marketing agency FlyteVu and Endeavor Global Marketing are also on board to support the “music incubator program,” which continues with the chance for rising artists to get a performance slot at top U.S. festivals in 2020.
Empowered by Bumble Bizz was inspired by the release of a 2019 survey report by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that analyzed gender and race/ethnicity of artists, songwriters and producers from 2012-2018 and found a huge gender disparity in popular music. In 2018 only 17.1% of artists on the year-end charts were female – a gender ratio of 4.8 male artists to every one female artist. The study proclaimed that “women are missing in the music industry,” with women representing 21.7% of artists, 12.3% of songwriters and 2.1% of producers.
“The goal of Bumble Bizz is to provide our users access to professional opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Chelsea Maclin, Bumble’s VP of marketing, says. “We want to shed light on industries where women still need support, including the music industry, which is ripe for more equal gender representation. We truly believe that one connection can change the course of your life professionally, and we hope to change the lives of these Bumble Bizz users who will perform on stage as part of our program, and to build a community of artists that can help each other through Bumble Bizz.”
Courtney Trucksess, director of sponsorship and marketing at C3 Presents, tells Pollstar that the steps Bumble has taken to empower women align with the core values of the company.
“In the past two years more and more has been brought to the forefront of gender disparity,” Trucksess says. “Bumble’s done some incredible things to really move that ball forward for women. We’ve always been fans of theirs from the sidelines. … C3 is owned by three men – Charlie [Jones], Charles [Attal], and Charlie [Walker] but I would say probably around 65% of the company is women. There are eight divisions that women are the leaders or the directors so we’ve always been given lots of opportunities. We’re very empowered as well. So I think there was just this organic connection to Bumble.
“We were talking about ideas and how we could work together … and we just sort of created this platform that we thought would be a really unique [way] to give women some opportunities and develop [their careers].”
Female musicians interested in Empowered By Bumble Bizz’s mentorship program were invited to download Bumble and submit music in Bumble’s Bizz mode by June 30. New York-based R&B/pop singer/songwriter Ximone was selected to be mentored by Kiyoko at Chicago’s Lollapalooza, which is promoted by C3, and R&B/pop artist Shilan, who hails from New Albany, Ind., received a mentorship with Rexha at San Francisco’s Outside Lands, which is produced by Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly.
“My time with Hayley Kiyoko was empowering to say the least!” exclaims Ximone. “We talked about everything from trial and errors as an up-and-coming artist, claiming your truth, and not being afraid to take control of your path in the industry. I am forever grateful to Bumble for creating platforms like this for female artists!”
Empowered by Bumble Bizz is in the process of choosing the artist Musgraves will mentor at Austin City Limits Music Festival, produced by C3.
The submission process is currently open for female musicians to win the chance to perform at a 2020 festival.
In addition to Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza, C3 has partnered with Bumble Bizz to book spots at Music Midtown in Atlanta and Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans.
“Interestingly enough, three fests out of the four are booked by females within C3,” Trucksess says. “They will lay out the talent grid and then they’ll work with Bumble to help pick the winners for the stage spots. C3 was in a unique position in that we were actually already booking quite a bit of female artists.”
She adds, “I think it’s important for us to listen to the audience and what they want. [With] this program that Bumble is developing, the pool is small. … We’re hoping this really does sort of help grow this ground level and it just grows and grows and grows. And with more opportunities, hopefully more [female musicians] will see, ‘Hey, I can do that.’”