Spotify is giving three women of color $10,000 each to make their own podcasts
In a corner conference room in Spotify’s Manhattan offices, 10 women go around a table talking about the podcasts they want to make. Their ideas are all wildly different, from video games and the Muslim dating world to nature and the history of cats. But all the women there have the same goal: to tell stories the podcast world has largely ignored, until now.
Spotify had developed the training, called Sound Up Bootcamp, as part of their yearlong Black History Is Happening Now program. In March, the company put out a call for entries from women of color who wanted to make podcasts—and got 18,000 applications. For 10 spaces.
The company quickly learned there were thousands of women of color who just hadn’t had the chance to tell their stories yet. And by giving these women resources, they could make podcasting more open to both creators and listeners who don’t see, or hear, themselves represented.
Right now, the podcast world is overwhelmingly white and male. A 2016 analysis from Quartz found 66 percent of the most popular podcasts had at least one white male host, but only around 8 percent had at least one host who was a woman of color.
That lack of diversity also extends to people behind the scenes. "We joke about going to podcast events and you see the same five black women, or women of color, and you kind of do the nod," says Natalie Tulloch, director of content partnerships and executive producer at Spotify.
Spotify is betting that helping podcasts reach different demographics will lead to more podcast listeners overall. After all, a study from Edison Research found 63 percent of podcast listeners were white, which means there are listeners out there to be reached.
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