Gender differences in musician creativity

18 June 2021


Noah Askin

Noah Askin

Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD

In this talk, Noah Askin describes his research looking at the relationship between gender and creativity. Noah has analysed Spotify's massive library to look at data on 20 million songs and 2 million artists. By examining the relative 'novelty' of songs, he can establish how creative individual artists are, and whether collaboration between or within gender has an impact on the ‘novelty’ of the music that is produced from these partnerships​​.

Despite no evidence of difference in the creative abilities of men and women, female artists remain underrepresented and unequally recognised across the creative professions. Research on this topic has emphasised how audiences, critics, and other gatekeepers discriminate against women, but it has not fully explained the complex relationship between gender and creative production.

As Noah explains, his research has found that the co-presence of female artists can simultaneously enable and constrain male creativity. These results suggest a collaboration-association trade off, shedding new light on the role and consequences of gender diversity for the creative careers of both men and women.


About the speaker

Noah Askin is an Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD.

An award-winning case writer and teacher, and a computational social scientist and sociologist by training, Noah directs two Executive Education programs—Leading for Results and the Product Management Executive Programme—in addition to teaching the organisational design and leadership core course in INSEAD's MBA program. His teaching focuses primarily on firms’ organisational-strategic alignment, understanding and utilizing social networks, the what and the how of networking, driving organisational change, managing corporate culture, and fostering creativity in organisations.

His work, which has garnered him recognition on the Thinkers 50 Radar list, has appeared in top tier management and sociology journals, as well as computational social science publications. He has been an interview guest on the BBC (radio and television) and, and his research has been covered in The Economist, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Business Insider,, The Times of London, and music industry blogs. He has done a TEDx talk on what makes popular songs popular.

You can get in touch with him on Twitter

This lecture was recorded on 8th June - for more insightful and fascinating talks have a look at our event page

Photo by NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash