What Percentage of CMJ Performers Are Women This Year? How About People Of Color?


What Percentage of CMJ Performers Are Women This Year? How About People Of Color?


Beginning Tuesday the annual CMJ Music Marathon takes over the clubs of New York City, cramming a year’s worth of musical performances into one week. It’s an almost impossibly unwieldy beast for even the most dedicated and prepared show-hopper, which is why I usually end up throwing my hands up in frustration and discarding my best intentions on seeing this band and that band at the beginning of the week, and just end up going to see whoever is playing at the one empty club my friend’s band is in. Keep an eye out for My Friend’s Band, by the way. Gonna be a thing. Otherwise you might spend your entire week standing in line outside of the hot Branded Sugar Water Showcase for three hours while literally 40 other shows go on around the corner. Just doesn’t make sense.




This year, as usual, CMJ will go down at 80+ venues, with over 1,300 artists, and over 125,000 fans, as they claim. Many of those bands will be quite good. Most will not, but that’s how it goes at any music festival I suppose. How it goes with most anything. While most publications will be busy publishing their lists of Must See Bands, something I intended to do as well, I got sidetracked while scrolling through the artists page and staring at so many hundreds of band photos. (I don’t recommend it). I feel like I learned a few things about the state of modern indie music based on the images alone. Firstly, there don’t seem to be as many bands posing on train tracks as there used to be in my day. That has to be due for a revival I’m guessing. Train Track Core gonna blow back up in ’15, you heard it here first.

But, from a sociological stand point, I was also sort of struck by just how many of the bands seem to be comprised primarily of white men. That probably won’t come as a shock to anyone, of course, as it’s long been that way, but anecdotally, doesn’t it seems like there are lot more women and people of color in the wider indiesphere than there used to be?

So what does it all mean?




The bad news is, you’re not going to get an answer to that question in this blog post. But, I did go through and tally up some numbers for a few key demographics based on the way the performers present themselves in their band bio and press shots.  This isn’t an exact scientific method at work here, but it’s a pretty good back of the napkin estimation. Here’s what I found.

CMJ Performers:

Men: 2,029
Women: 521
Non-white: 124
People wearing cowboy hats: 8
Civil War cos-players: 3
Snakes: 1
Men kissing: 2
Fluorescent-jizz bukake victims: 5
Twee-incest model-core looking bands: 36
Gerard Ways: 1
Sci-fi couture-ass motherfuckers: 20
Space helmets: 4
Duck masks: 1
Bathrobes: 1
Fruit hat: 1
Flower hat: 8
Titled fedoras: 10
Black women’s posteriors: 2
Women eating popsicles/lollipops: 4
Aggressive bangs game at work: 75
Dogs: 2
Haunted woodland nymphs: 12
Dorks: 2,540