John Nitti, Jennifer Breithaupt


John Nitti, SVP, Chief Media Officer, Verizon; SeeHer Hear Her Co-Chair

Jennifer Breithaupt, SeeHer Hear Her Co-Chair

The 2021 Grammys was a tremendous step in the journey to eliminate gender inequality in front of and behind the mic. Women dominated the evening, broke multiple records and proved they play a vital role in music storytelling. Airing during Women’s History Month, the Grammys showed the world that we need to not only see her – we need to hear her as well.

Yet while the awards marked an important moment for women in music, the data continues to show women have very low representation across the board. That is why SeeHer Hear Her continues to play a critical role in helping women in music.

In this week’s blog, co-chairs of SeeHer initiative SeeHer Hear Her, whose mission is to eliminate gender bias in the industry and increase the percentage of women in front of and behind the mic, talk about the state of gender equality in music and where we go from here.

What did this year’s Grammys reveal about women in music today? 

Jennifer Breithaupt: “To witness women this year taking home multiple awards across pop, rap, R&B and country shows there isn’t a lack of impressive talent out there – they just aren’t getting equal billing and opportunity. Women still make up a significantly smaller number of overall artists, songwriters, and producers. That said, despite a challenging year for the music industry there has been incredible momentum to make change. One terrific example of progress is CMT Equal Play. Women’s powerful voices and legendary songs have defined country music, yet they are not played, streamed, toured, signed, and awarded at a level they deserve. CMT set out to change that by committing to 50/50 play for female and male artists across their channels. A terrific example of a turning point in country music.”

As influencers in the media industry, how do you think the increase in female representation we saw in the Grammys, along with the increase in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame female nominees, CMT’s Equal Play initiative, etc., can inspire the industry to build off this progress and do more in support of women in front of and behind the mic?

John Nitti:The increase in representation is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Being a part of SeeHer Hear Her, industry leaders and influencers can come together and learn from one another to create and implement programs within our own organizations that have real impact and can help to affect positive change within the industry as a whole.“

Jennifer Breithaupt: “While we can’t possibly solve all the challenges of the music industry, we can as marketers make different choices when we select music, from partnerships that create awareness, and sponsor or participate in events that have 50/50 representation.”

How is SeeHer Hear Her helping to create a more bias-free music industry?

Jennifer Breithaupt: “SeeHer Hear Her is helping to create a more balanced music industry by creating awards exclusively for females, demanding our agency partners create campaigns that include voices of females, calling on festivals and events to diversify lineups, creating and supporting mentorship platforms, and supporting leading female artists who are paying it forward. SeeHer Hear Her is a movement not a moment, and a call on all of us – brands, agencies and the music industry to eliminate gender inequality.”

John Nitti: “SeeHer Hear Her is providing a platform and opportunities for industry influencers, thought leaders and artists to come together to share their insights and experiences about gender parity throughout the full ecosystem of the music industry. By creating a space to elevate these critical conversations we are establishing a unified voice as we work to eliminate bias.”  

Why are you personally passionate about elevating women in music?

John Nitti: People in leadership and decision-making roles need to advocate for equal representation. At Verizon, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and dedicated to celebrating female voices on and off stage. In October, Verizon launched a concert series with an all-female lineup of talented artists including Maren Morris, Jessie Reyez, Kelsea Ballerini, KAROL G and Chloe x Halle. It is important to understand responsibility, the influence and ability to create true impact we all have by taking action.”

Jennifer Breithaupt: Music has the power to connect, heal, excite and unite. It is truly THE universal language and needs to represent all people. Women’s voices have and should continue to play a critical role in music and storytelling. As a woman and fan of music, I truly believe the work underway with SeeHer Hear Her can help create lasting and impactful change.”