Spotify Aims to Amplify Black Voices With New ‘Frequency’ Initiative

Spotify announced Tuesday its intention to invest in and amplify Black voices by launching Frequency, an initiative aimed at celebrating established and emerging Black artists and fostering community and culture in the realms of fashion, tech and business as well as music.

As part of the initial wave, Spotify announced — naturally — several new playlists, set to roll out globally. The four newly announced playlists: the flagship “This is Frequency,” highlighting new releases from among both big names and new artists; “House Party,” emphasizing the music of nightlife; “Ripple Effect,” which looks to boost artists from underserved genres, regionally popular musicians or the ranks of the unsigned; and “Heard You,” a podcast playlist that will bring in bigger names who “embody the Frequency ethos” to guest-curate programming.

Also announced were Spotify’s “‘Raising the Frequency’ Ambassador Program,” which will offer a $50,000 scholarship fund for Black college students with aspirations of becoming part of the music or tech industries; donation matches of $25,000 to select community organizations; a Frequency Songwriting Camp bringing together artists, producers and songwriters together; and a takeover of the “Taste” playlist with curation by artists including Karen Civil, Lenny S., Damson Idris and Aliya Janell.

Additionally, Spotify is promising to “engage established and emerging creators across the African diaspora” for a greater range of podcasts created across all four Spotify podcast studios, with programming announcements due in the summer. And an “Ascent Series” will go off-platform to help boost artists and podcast creators with “a rising social presence” focusing on personal and career stories and exploring influences.

Spotify describes the Frequency initiative as an extension of a commitment recently evident in the new hub called “Black History Is Happening Now”; its $10 million “Racial Equity Donations & Giving Program” earmarked for 15 global organizations last June; and playlists like RapCaviar, Feelin Myself and African Heat and podcasts such as “Jemele Hill is Unbothered,” “Dope Labs” and “You Heard Me Write.”

In conjunction with Tuesday’s launch, a video is being released with “creator vignettes” featuring Higher Learning podcast hosts Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay, emerging artist Yung Baby Tate and the producer Amorphous.

“Frequency is created in response to a climate in which Black voices in music, fashion, business, and more continue to be left out of the narrative and their contributions left underappreciated and underrepresented,” said the company’s announcement.

 

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