A reader named Lauren Berry-Kagan wrote to The Stranger to point out that the number of women artists performing at SPF30—Sub Pop Records' 30th anniversary party at Alki Beach, the Crocodile, and the Moore Theatre—was a disappointing 15.6 percent. Using statistics gleaned from Wikipedia and Sub Pop's own site to build her case, she also noted a lack of racial diversity in the lineup while acknowledging that she may have misgendered some individuals.
Of the 19 bands and solo artists booked for four different events on August 10 and 11, 12 are composed of all men and only seven have a woman member. "This is absolutely not okay," Berry-Kagan wrote. "Men aren't the only ones who contribute to music and culture. Not in Seattle, and not anywhere. In addition, most of the performers are also white. This is not shocking, seeing how white men are disproportionately over-represented in almost every way imaginable, but it is incredibly disappointing.
"It felt amazing to be at the KEXP concert at the mural last week and to see the incredible women of Tacocat and the Coathangers scream and belt out onstage, cheered on enthusiastically by an excited crowd. It also made me realize how rare it is for me to have that experience at this kind of large event.
"Again, I am so disappointed and angered by the basic lack of any kind of diversity in this event. I strongly hope that this is something that will be paid more serious attention to in the future."
Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper responded to Berry-Kagan—and to the world at large—in an e-mail:
I’d love to start out by simply saying that we agree with you. Diversity is something that we are working on and it is an active conversation and effort that we are having and practicing.
Our employees are currently about 50/50 male/female and we thankfully have a lot of amazing female musicians recording for both Sub Pop and Hardly Art. Unfortunately many of the female artists we asked to participate weren’t able to join us for various reasons.
Lauren, I truly appreciate your feedback and I’m even grateful for the anger you’re feeling. I can promise you that we will not stop trying to be better, stronger and smarter by becoming more diverse and celebrating that diversity.