In celebration of International Woman’s Day, we decided to do a top 10 list of most collected records from solo female musicians.
Digging through the most collected records on Discogs looking for female artists is quite a depressing exercise. With the exception of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac and Nico with The Velvet Underground, the top 50 most collected albums is devoid of female artists, and features not a single solo female musician. Compiling this top 10 list took me deep into the top 500 most collected albums. 500!
Gender disparity in music has been historically problematic. When looking at the top 250 most collected albums on Discogs, male solo artists outnumber female solo artists 4:1. In what is reminiscent of the gender disparity in American politics and business, there are almost as many male solo acts with “John” in their name as there are total female solo artists represented. It’s disheartening, but trends point to a narrowing of this gap. Looking at the most collected albums released in the 2010’s, the ratio of male to female solo artists is closer to 2:1.
Despite being sparse among the most collected albums in general, the top 10 is a pretty decent list that spans eras and genres. And there’s a twist! Of course Madonna, Kate, Janis and Patti appear, but interestingly, Lana Del Rey nudges out Joni Mitchell out of the top 10. And why the hell are PJ Harvey and Grace Jones missing from this list? That’s a travesty.
When we pulled these numbers 2 years ago, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black was in just 21,301 Collections. That has more than doubled to 46,794 Collections. In fact, an album that is in 21,000 Collections would not even break into the top-10 this year. Despite this increase, 9 of the 10 top female solo artists remain on the list.
Honorable mentions go out to all the other women in music who totally kill it: Kim Gordon, Kim Deal, Tina Weymouth, Bilinda Butcher and Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine, Beth Gibbons, Paz Lenchantin… the list goes on. We kept it focused on solo artists for this list for clarity, but all the women in music deserve a shout out.
Who have I missed here? Which records are you spinning in celebration of International Women’s Day?
Check out the top 10 best-selling solo female artists on Discogs: