Featured Image: Artist’s Own
Sass and Snarl is the exciting new project from journalist and music business student, Keely Liptrot. Founded just 6 weeks ago, the business is aimed at ending the gender divide in the music business. Through her social media and her blog, she teaches women how they can promote themselves successfully. Whilst in lockdown, Liptrot has only been able to run virtual events and online campaigns. However, her real goal is to run real-life workshops and networking meetings all over the country.
The message behind Sass and Snarl is unashamed self-promotion. Liptrot understands the struggle of achieving recognition in such a crowded industry. After all, she has been running her own music blog since the age of 13. She is constantly striving to push herself further towards success and urges others to do the same. Her Instagram is full of tips on how to start your own business and get your career moving.
She also uses her platform to call out the lack of female representation in the music industry and promote women who inspire her. Her future CEOs programme highlights one upcoming music industry professional each week, whilst her Spotify playlists are full of unrecognised female talent.
Her idea is much needed in an industry moving painstakingly slowly towards more diversity. We had a chat with her about the past, present and future of Sass and Snarl, as well as quizzing her on the female artists we should be listening to this summer.
When did you first decide you wanted to work in the music industry?
“Being a Manchester gal, I would be going to gigs four nights a week from the age of 14. A really pivotal moment was when I heard the Jeff Beck, Loud Hailer album. (If you haven’t heard it, you need to!) It gave such an important message and had some really killer guitar riffs… I fell in love! So, I started a blog, went to more gigs, interviewed lots of bands and had some crazy experiences. Yet, I was always surrounded by men: my teachers were men, my photographers were men, all the promoters and managers I worked with were men, 99% of the bands I interviewed were men! I always just thought back to that Loud Hailer album- which was fronted by two boss ass women, who have their band BONES UK, and just thought, ‘where are the women in this industry?’ So, from there, I got obsessed with women that work in our industry workforce. Now, I’m taking a music business degree and have just finished my first year.”
Where have you worked and what have you enjoyed the most?
“Being 18, I’m just at the start of my music industry career, so I’m really just trying to do as much as I can! I started my own blog at 13, and have interviewed the likes of Andrew Watt and Phil Campbell. I always loved being a music journalist because I got to meet so many different people- being a bit of an introvert, it taught me so much! Other than that, I’m starting my business, Sass and Snarl, which is the coolest thing I have ever done and I’m building my own magazine. My favourite part of it all is networking, and seeing the talent from different creatives.”
What inspired you to start Sass and Snarl?
“As I’ve said, I’ve always been obsessed with women in this industry, and with only 30% of our industry workforce being women, I hope to one day work in an equal gender divide, so that’s what we are doing. There is also so much talent going unnoticed in music! From artists to photographers to journalists, I’ve found that creatives in this industry are not clued up enough about self-promo, so that is what I am working to teach and show people. And, of course, because I love networking, I wanted to build a space for creatives to meet and have a community that can support each other.”
What different services do you offer as part of your new business?
“We’ve been running for about 6 weeks now. If you find our platform on Instagram, you can see a few tips and tricks on self-promo, and watch interviews I do with industry professionals. You can also find our Future CEO, which is a way we are supporting women in music. We will also be doing Virtual Events to show you how you can level up your self-promo. And, hopefully, by the end of this year, when everything in the world has calmed down, we can start our very exciting networking events and workshops!!”
As part of your future CEOs programme, you’ve been doing Instagram Live Interviews. Who can we expect to see in the future?
“Well, this week is dedicated, of course, to the amazing, Camilla Whitfield- you will have to follow us on socials to find out more! But, yes, we choose young women in music, who are building their own side hustles and making a name for themselves, which will then hopefully inspire others to as well!”
Which women in the music industry inspire you the most and why?
“Vanessa Reed! She runs KeyChange, and is so freaking cool. KeyChange, works with industry professionals and festivals across the globe to help make this industry gender divide 50:50.”
Who are your favourite female artists to listen to on repeat?
“Chika!!! Her entire Industry Games EP is fire! She is a black, plus-size, gay, female artist – each of those things have made it so much harder for her to be in this industry, so I really think she is an inspiration. Her music is so cool, and they all hold such a meaningful and important message- love her!”
“Sass and Snarl, have a playlist on Spotify full of talented women, so check that out!”
Which new artists should we definitely get on board with?
“I had an interview with Rebecca May the other day, and when I want new music, I always go to her. She was the one who told me about Sunflower Thieves. Then, I read them in, Atomic Vox, and they are so cool!”
“PINS, amazing Manchester band, all so lovely!”
“You know when you have a name in the back of your head, but you just can’t think of them, I’ll get back to you…”
Where in the music industry is inequality most evident?
“Festival line-ups have been huge! You hardly see any representation of women. However, when you think about how, in our major labels, the amount of representation of female artists is exactly the same, you just wonder, ‘why isn’t female talent or creatives from minority ethnic backgrounds getting noticed?’ A friend is setting up her own side hustle, Daughters of Sappho, where she wants to build a community for gay women. She asked me about creatives in the LGBTQ community and I honestly could only name a few. So, I’m educating myself because these creatives need to be seen, and need to be heard. I think a lot of people who love music are just fed what they are given, and that needs to stop. We need to reach out and learn.”
“In the case of women: we still have a gender pay gap and only 15% of labels are majority-owned by women. If you looked at the top 100 songs in the charts, I bet only 5% was produced by women. On average, there are only 16% of registered female songwriters. It’s everywhere and that’s only on women!”
Why do you think it’s harder for women to enter some areas of the music industry than others?
“In such a creative industry, we should not have a lack of diversity. But, I’ve interviewed countless women on it, and we have all just said, ‘it has been male-dominated for so long’, ‘Who should our role models be? Taylor Swift?’ That’s why at, Sass and Snarl, we have plans to talk about this in high schools, because when I was younger, I would have loved to hear about women in music.”
“So, I think because of a lack of role models, you’re going to find a lot more artists like Taylor Swift, but hardly any producers.”
What are your prospects for your business in the future?
- “Networking Events
- Education at schools
- We are working with the Survivors trust so we can be trained to help stop sexual assault and harassment at gigs
- Self-promo workshops
- We are looking to sell guides on running a side hustle
- Just having fun, building a community of amazing talent and supporting each other!”
How can people support Sass and Snarl?
“Follow us @sassandsnarl on Instagram and keep your eyes out for our virtual events!”
What are your tips for staying productive during lockdown?
“Find what you are passionate about and start a side hustle. Work to your energy levels, go to as many webinars as you can, read, support others and follow us!”
How hard do you think it will be for the music industry to recover from lockdown, and how do you think it will change?
“I think we are all so desperate to have that feeling of being with your friends at a gig, that all of our bank accounts will be emptied from gig tickets and it will truly be better than ever.”
“But, seriously, it has been so hard for grassroots venues. These hubs of innovation were already dying, they really didn’t need lockdown on top of it but there have been so many campaigns and GoFundMes. I know the feeling of having your favourite venues ripped down and turned into a block of flats (true story), but I think music is so important to so many people that we will definitely save a few – not all, but a few.”
“And, I think this time will inspire people to maybe start their own side hustles and businesses, so I can’t wait to see all of the new talent that has been created!”
Do you have a message for anyone trying to make it in this industry?
“If you are a woman trying to make it in this industry, leave the high school pettiness at the door. In this industry, we have to be competitive, but a huge part of promoting yourself is supporting others. It is important to know your worth, so when you do find those people trying to bring you down, you won’t let it affect you!”
“I once heard a woman in a webinar say ‘self-belief + action = reputation’ and that has always stuck with me! Be completely unapologetic about your achievements, and get paid what you are worth!”