Meet the Women of Beatport: Part Two

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we speak to five women who work at Beatport, learning about their jobs, and what they think needs to happen to encourage diversity within their respective fields.

15 min
The Women Of Beatport Part2 1536x718
Mar 19, 2021
Beatportal Staff
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Name: Sandy Bartsch

Job title: Office / CRM Manager – Berlin

What led you to your current job at Beatport?

Well, an application, an interview and then a working contract! Hahaha. Actually, I gave up my teaching job and started a music and lifestyle blog, interviewing DJs who would cook their favorite recipes for me and answer random questions. Over time I connected more and more with the scene and since then I never left. Flexibility was the key for me, so I did PR for labels such as Stil vor Talent and social media for BPitch Control. I love being an Office Manager, but this position requires an open office which is non-existent right now, so I suddenly found myself helping out the Digital Marketing Team, for which I am grateful for being able to develop within Beatport even in rough times like this one.

What needs to happen to encourage more diversity in your field? And have the events of 2020 changed anything in that regard?

Working in the music business has so far been the best way for me to combine personal preferences with the job. I don’t like looking at respective fields, rather at the bigger picture! Everyone has their valuable position. Aside from the fact that it’s just fun to work with people who share the same passion, I already work with a lot of cool women. They all inspire me in one way or another and I am firmly convinced that if a woman wants something and does everything possible for it, then new paths will automatically open up. Nevertheless, I find it important to be critical again at suitable points and at given moments to rethink old concepts and, if necessary, to evaluate them. I am happy and grateful to find myself in a scene in which I can do whatever I want. It’s only up to me whether or not I want to face new challenges. There has never been a better time in electronic music for women. Always speak up and stand for your individual needs, I deeply believe there is always a way to make it happen!

Current favorite tune on Beatport:

I really can’t wait any longer to listen to this track on the dance floor loaded with people to dance and shake it all just off like there is no tomorrow! Even as a mom of two who seldom has the chance to go out, but I absolutely can tell I miss raving so much!

Honey Dijon – Not About You (KDA ‘Legacy’ Extended Rework) – [Classic Music Company]

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Name: Kelsey Sullivan

Job title: Project Manager – Denver

What led you to your current job at Beatport?

Music has been a passion of mine ever since I was a 5-year-old kid making mixtapes from a cassette player, so the opportunity to work with Beatport in the music industry was a no-brainer. I joined as a Project Manager on the Technology team where I get to help teams create tools for DJs and redefine how DJs both find and share their music. I’ve been very lucky to work with amazing people that are passionate about improving the electronic music scene.

What needs to happen to encourage more diversity in your field? And have the events of 2020 changed anything in that regard?

Diversity and inclusiveness are essential to a team’s success. When both of these are present, teams’ productivity and performance improves. However, technology fields still struggle with diversity. I think education around biases (known or unknown) is one of the major steps to allow more diversity in the field. On top of this, more mentorships and groups are key to promote and maintain diversity.

Current favourite tune on Beatport:

Ela Minus – Megapunk (TSHA Remix) – [Domino]

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Name: Michelle Oldenburg

Job title: Social Media Manager – Berlin

What led you to your current job at Beatport?

Since I graduated from high school, I’ve been working in advertisement while studying psychology and volunteering in the local cultural scene. When I moved to Berlin, I worked weekdays for a big live-streaming platform, and on weekends I worked in night clubs or volunteered at festivals like CTM, Mira Festival and DICE Conference. After freelancing for Beatport’s Content department for a few months, I was offered my current position. Now I am working in Social Media, as well as on live-streaming, brand strategies, and media partnerships.

What needs to happen to encourage more diversity in your field? And have the events of 2020 changed anything in that regard?

A lot of change is still needed! Since COVID-19 has prevented many exchanges from taking place in real life, a lot of discussions have shifted to the internet. Considering women’s experience, their exposure to gender-based online violence has increased – facilitated by the proliferation of digital communications (COE Commissioner of Human Rights, 2020). According to research by the World Health Organization, it is estimated that one in ten women have already experienced a form of cyber violence since the age of 15. Women are 27 times more likely to be abused online than men (Networked Intelligence for Development, 2015). Other studies (i.e. European Institute for Gender Equality, 2015) show that women significantly reduce their use of a social media platform after being harassed or change the way they express themselves.

Regarding my working reality, I see this kind of bullying online every day in the comment section of Beatport’s and other electronic music accounts’ social media pages, and it’s infuriating! It needs to be ensured that women can express themselves, especially as artists on the internet, without being harassed or bullied. They need to be able to feel comfortable using digital tools and platforms to promote their music. While these issues are part of broader structural problems, there are steps to facilitating more inclusive online spaces that music marketers can take. The most crucial would be comprehensive training for staff and an increased focus on educative content for our communities – education is key. Misogynistic behaviour towards women has to be socially, but of course, also legally unacceptable. After all, we need strong allies, online and offline, who are willing to spend their free time fighting with us against oppression and sexism – a fight that women in the music industry constantly have to fight.

Current favourite tune on Beatport:

I rediscovered “Loos In Twos” by Anz after her fantastic piano tunes special on NTS radio, which featured many of my all-time favourites.

Anz – Loos in Twos (NRG) [Hessle Audio]

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Name: Verity Mayes

Job title: Product Manager – Berlin

What led you to your current job at Beatport

When I was a teenager I wanted to work in a record shop, so I suppose I’ve just taken a long route to the best record shop on the planet!

DJing has always been the essence of life, and my journey has taken me along some enjoyable nuances of that, including club promotion, event management, marketing, and project management. The reason I work in electronic music is the soul satisfaction, and I’ve been able to be part of some amazing moments with brands that are leaving their own legacies. Now that I’m in my role as a Product Manager here at Beatport, focusing on the label and supply side of things, I get to help bring ideas that will really contribute to the industry into reality.

What needs to happen to encourage more diversity in your field?

I’m lucky to have had some incredible opportunities, probably from spending too much time in the rave, but for those who feel far away either physically or mentally, they can be harder to find. I can see some companies really striving to encourage diversity, the growth of remote working and active online communities are helping, but more opportunities need to be opened up and promoted in the right places. We need to bring unity off the dancefloor too, and those working in the industry need to adopt an open mindset, valuing a spark irrespective of who they find it in or how much experience they have, paying it forward and inspiring the next movers and shapers.

Current Favourite Tune on Beatport:

Octo Octa – Spell For Nature [T4T LUV NRG]

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Name: Jordan Mafi

Job title: Curation Manager – LA

What led you to your current job at Beatport?

I’ve been a Beatport customer since I was 16 years old to build DJ sets and stay informed of trending new music, so when I was faced with choosing a new career path after NEST HQ closed its doors, I was thrilled when I came across a job opening at Beatport on Indeed. The position called for an expert curator for the store’s EDM genres which is exactly where I thrive — I couldn’t believe it when I got the job and I’m still excited to wake up for work every day!

What needs to happen to encourage more diversity in your field? And have the events of 2020 changed anything in that regard?

As a woman in the music industry, I need men to step up and call out sexism when they see it, even (and especially) when it’s coming from their friends. I need men to recognize that there are barriers women face in this industry that they will never experience and trust the women they work with to get the job done, because we can and we will. When people have conversations about women in music and how we can progress as an inclusive industry, I need men to pass the mic to women so we can speak for ourselves. In terms of supporting women in dance music, I need men to play out music created by women, book women to play their live streams and live shows when they return, and collaborate with women as much as they do with other men.

In the EDM community, the events of 2020 have exposed the bad behaviors of some male-identifying artists and industry workers. And while it’s hard to listen to these stories, it’s necessary for our entire community to recognize toxic masculinity and its presence in the dance music industry. I’m very grateful for investigative reporters such as Annabel Ross and Ellie Flynn for telling the stories of women who were sexually assaulted by once-powerful male DJs — this is exactly what needs to happen to move our scene forward and no one should ignore these behaviors again.

Current favourite tune on Beatport:

I’m a slave to fast beats, so I can’t get enough of Use Caution’s remix of Tommie Sunshine and Haus of Panda’s “Burning With XTC” via Speed House Movement. Use Caution has impressed me from the very beginning of her career, and her music has only gotten better with each release. This remix makes me want to run to the dance floor and lose my shit — it’s so powerful and just perfect for the rave.

Tommie Sunshine, Haus of Panda — Burning With XTC (Use Caution Remix) [Speed House Movement]

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