halsey 2020

Halsey sparks discussion on alt female representation after DJ’s criticism

Is alternative music actually going through an identity crisis or are radio directors to blame?

October 2, 2020
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While fans continue to rock out to the Manic deluxe edition, Halsey is reminding music listeners of the lack of representation of female artists on alternative radio.

Halsey first sparked the discussion on social media after reading a critique made by a former radio DJ.

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These days, Halsey is widely considered to be a pop artist. However, her debut album Badlands is considered to be an alternative record. Despite the change in her sound over the years, Halsey continues to be an advocate for female musicians of all genres.

On Oct. 2, the former DJ and program director of Radio 104.5 in Philadelphia shared a tweet that has caught the attention of many. Johnny tweets that 2020 alternative music is having a “major identity crisis.” He recently listened to Amazon Music‘s “New Alt Playlist” which features songs from Halsey, Taylor Swift and Deftones.

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Halsey must have seen the tweet in her mentions and decided to bring up the ongoing debate on female representation in music. More specifically, she asks if the lack of new alternative female artists on the radio has to do with the genre itself or radio directors.

She also mentions Radio 104.5 which is where Johnny used to work. According to Halsey, the station severely underplays female artists.

“Of the last 89 songs 104.5 has played on their station, 3 of them were female lead artists. 2 others had female band members. Is Alt music the crisis or is it Alt program directors ???????”

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Halsey then goes onto say that she spent a lot of time fighting for air time on alternative radio early on in her career. She believes that alt radio doesn’t want to play new female artists because of the stigma that teenage girls will listen to their platform.

“Not even talking about my music! My music is largely considered pop rn. But it wasn’t in the beginning + that fight with ALT stations wasn’t fun. I’m bummed alt radio won’t embrace incredible new alt female artists bc they secretly hate teenage girls listening to their platform.”

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This discussion also begs the question of what genre really means these days. So many artists, Halsey included, are branching out and creating music that doesn’t fit into just one genre. As well, other artists are creating albums that are completely different from their past work.

Machine Gun Kelly, who got his start in rap music, just put out Tickets To My Downfall which is a full-on pop-punk record. As well, Swift’s folklore is classified as an alternative record. This latest classification means that Swift now has albums that fall into the alternative, pop and country genres.

Do you think alternative radio could do a better job of representing new female artists? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Rachael Dowd