“Passionate, purposeful, progressive.” Those are the three words founders of RESISTER, a full-service music agency, previously known as SISTER Music, Hollie Hutton and Hannah Charman, came up with when describing their revamped company. The change of name is not a standalone step, as RESISTER is now confidently stepping into an era of even stronger mission goals, a new website and consistency of image across all platforms. The website and rebrand launched yesterday, on the 1st of March or Zero Discrimination Day and the start of Women’s History Month - “It has been such a labour of love and really sparks a new beginning for us,” says Hollie.
Since its creation, RESISTER has been committed to championing women and underrepresented voices, as well as actively fighting against the lack of female and non-binary representation in the music media industry. Despite the change in name, the company is still committed to the same passions, and is ready to shout about them even louder. “Our approach has always been steadfast and at the forefront of our work, with the mission to have music media more accessible for all and addressing the shocking disparity,” says Hannah. According to her, the only change since the beginning of the company is that now they have increased in size, with each team member bringing new specialities, skills and personality.
Hollie agrees on the fact that, regardless of the name change, RESISTER has always been committed to the same philosophy, saying, “We put a huge amount of time in the early years of SISTER into meeting composers, sound designers, songwriters and producers, as well as building a pool of talent that we are incredibly excited by.”
She continues, “Now that we are known as a home for women composers in particular, this side has taken on a world of its own and we are thinking of new ways to harness this pool and bring more opportunities their way - watch this space!”
According to the two founders, the gear up towards the rebrand began about a year and a half ago, taking a whole team and heaps of brainstorming to come together on the new image and name. “We wanted to ensure this wasn’t just about the look of the business, but that we addressed the rebrand holistically,” explains Hollie. “So, we started by creating a full ‘brand bible’ and key principles before we had even decided upon our name, keeping our mission at the forefront of what we do.”
The name RESISTER then came naturally, as they didn’t want to become entirely unrecognisable from the brand that they had become known for, while also aiming to amp up the noise. Hannah says that after months of back and forth, the name RESISTER just landed perfectly and the team finally agreed on it. The choice has a lot to do with two keywords that Hollie underscores: an ‘extension’ and ‘evolution’ of SISTER Music’s work and the foundation it laid down - and the name reflects exactly that.
In this case, a new name doesn’t mean an entirely new face - but an improved, more focused one, for a mission that had been set in motion long ago. “This new image allows us to be specific about the things we RESIST and want to be proactive in trying to change,” says Hollie, before Hannah adds, “We hope that by sharing the stats, having our shop front be informative and leading all our conversations with our mission will not only define our brand as addressing these issues, but will bring more people to see the awesome work that can be created by these composers.”
After all, in an industry where only 7% of Hollywood film scores are composed by women, a grand total of zero female composers are nominated for original compositions at the 2023 BAFTAs, and female songwriters generate 70% less income than their male counterparts, RESISTER’s mere existence as a company goes against the status quo. And according to Hannah, when looking at the broader industry, progress is still extremely slow. “The appetite for it, though, is definitely there within content creators,” she says. “The new up and coming creatives and production teams are keen to really shake it up, but there is still a lot of work to be done across the board.”
As with everything in the media world, breaking through the wall of inheritance careers and bias feels like slowly chipping away at something, trying to make sure you’re telling the right people to try chipping at it with you. “We are seeing more and more productions taking steps to ensure the talent they work with is truly representative and authentic to the stories they are trying to tell,” says Hollie. To her, the biggest gaps in the industry are in studio environments - engineers, sound designers, mixers. It takes only one glance at the people behind the huge screens and boards of buttons to conclude that this is the case as of right now. “We need to make this a more visible and accessible space for women and non-binary up and coming talent,” she concludes.
Which brings us back to RESISTER’s mission - one that Hollie and Hannah knew when founding the business and are now rallying forward with its improved image. They not only want to nurture the talent, help it find its home, and produce the most exciting work, but also build formidable careers and ‘notoriety’ for the outstanding people they work with.
“I hope that by combining up-and-coming talent with exciting creative work, we can push content creators to be braver about working with talent that perhaps hasn’t already got an impressive reel, but has an interesting take and passion to grow in the industry,” says Hollie. “That’s when some really exciting things happen. The more experience and opportunities we can give to the underrepresented, the more we can start to level out the playing field.”
And the playing field is definitely not limited to music and sound either. RESISTER’s plan for the future is to take over the whole media landscape. “We’re branching out into new territories with our work and expanding in all areas of media, so to continue doing that,” say Hollie and Hannah. The two explain that they are also keen on creating a home for the talent they’re discovering, by paying more attention to education and mentorship. Film, TV, gaming, advertising and sonic branding are only a handful of areas that RESISTER will soon enough step into, bringing its fresh and unapologetic manner to break age-old media norms that are long overdue.