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Spotify launches programme to support underrepresented podcasters

Tyrone Stewart

Spotify has released research that shows that BAME women and non-binary people are just as underrepresented in the world of podcasting as they are in other sections of the media. The release of the research has been made to coincide with the launch of applications for the music streaming firm’s annual Sound Up podcast accelerator training programme for BAME women and non-binary people in the UK and Ireland.

Spotify surveyed 1,000 women in the UK, who identify as Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic, and found that 74 per cent of them feel underrepresented in podcasting – something evidenced by the fact that less than five per cent of the top 100 podcasts in the UK are hosted by BAME women or non-binary people. 84 per cent of these women said they would be more likely to listen to a podcast if it was created and voiced by BAME women.

The genres where BAME women feel most underrepresented are technology (21 per cent); news, current affairs, and politics (14 per cent); and celebrity (12 per cent).

When it comes to barriers preventing BAME women from going into podcasting, 50 per cent believe there is too much stereotyping of them, while 49 per cent feel there aren’t enough strong BAME female voice for them to be inspired by. At the same time, 40 per cent feel there are not enough stories of BAME women told in the entertainment world as a whole.

However, Spotify wants to change the underrepresentation that exists within the podcasting space – and its Sound Up programme is designed to do that through education, workshops, and support from industry experts.

“Sound Up is one of the many ways we are looking to amplify underrepresented voices, and tackle inequity,” said Natalie Tulloch, Sound Up Global Lead at Spotify. “Sound Up gives underrepresented communities the right resources and support to get their voices heard and pave the way for the next generation of podcasters. We’ve seen incredible success stories emerge since Sound Up’s start in 2018, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings us.”

The programme, in its third year, will work a little differently than in the past due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. Between 12 October and 6 November 2020, a virtual four-week course will take place – with Spotify providing computers, wi-fi access, and podcast recording equipment to participants. Then, the naturals in the group will be invited onto an in-person training course in 2021.

Applications for the 2020 Sound Up programme are now open. The deadline for entries is 4 August 2020 at 11:59pm BST.