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She’s at the Controls

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Finalist - 2022 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research - BEST HISTORICAL RESEARCH ON RECORD LABELS OR GENERAL RECORDING TOPICS

She’s at the Controls gives a socio-historical examination of the roles of women studio professionals in the UK music industry. At the heart of the book are interviews conducted over six years with 30 female studio practitioners at different stages of their careers and working in different genres of popular music including reggae, hip hop and pop. The edited interviews are followed by an in-depth exploration of the often unseen and unacknowledged gender rules of music industry practice (both personal and technical) that underpin popular music etiquette. A range of supporting material from academic works to technical publications and popular music journalism is used to expand and critique the discourse. She’s at the Controls will appeal to everyone interested in new developments in the music industry, as it recalibrates itself in response to current challenges to its traditional gender stereotypes.

Published: Mar 29, 2021


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Helen Reddington
Introduction: "Why are there so few women producers?" Helen Reddington
Chapter 1
Starting Out: Early Engagements with Sound, Music and Technology Helen Reddington
Chapter 2
Becoming Professional: Entering the Music Industry Helen Reddington
Chapter 3
Specialization and Entrepreneurship Helen Reddington
Chapter 4
The Workplace Experience and Relationships with Clients and Colleagues Helen Reddington
Chapter 5
Male Culture and Studio Territory Helen Reddington
Chapter 6
Gender Ventriloquism: Songwriting, Production and the Mediation of Women’s Voices Helen Reddington
Chapter 7
Fighting Back Against Stereotyping: The Case of EDM Helen Reddington
Chapter 8
Education, Inspiration and Potential for Change Helen Reddington
Chapter 9
Conclusion Helen Reddington
End Matter
Bibliography Helen Reddington
Producer Biographies Helen Reddington
Index Helen Reddington


It makes compelling reading when it comes to the outright prejudice and its consequences for various genres, and the history of music in general, particularly in the case of the female pop star. Reddington’s research on songwriting, production and the mediation of women’s voices, and the concept of gender ventriloquism, is a need-to-know for women in the music business. DIY or professional. The book goes some way to normalising roles of women in the music industry. For example, Reddington takes for granted things like women artists also work as engineers or producers to supplement their living.
Loud Women

She’s At the Controls is essential reading. Helen Reddington reshapes our knowledge of sound engineering and music production in the twenty-first century, foregrounding the power and limits of feminism in a male-dominated industry while offering hope for a more egalitarian future.
Louder than War

This is a fantastic book that illuminates an area of the music industry that doesn’t tend to be exposed as often, or as thoroughly, as it needs to be. Hopefully She’s at the Controls will prove to be a useful handbook for aspiring sound engineers and producers, just as it also lays out areas that need to improve, or where there may be trouble in the future.
The f Word: Contemporary UK Feminism