When Spotify announced its Sound Up Bootcamp, a podcasting intensive program for women of color, I immediately jumped at the chance to apply for what I feel to be golden opportunity. Diversity in media is something that I believe is necessary ESPECIALLY in today’s current political and social climate. Throughout the process of applying (and patiently waiting to see if I have been chosen for the bootcamp) I have met some amazingly talented WOC who all have amazing stories to tell. Danielle Desir from The Thought Card is one of those women and I’ve invited her to blog about her experience applying for Spotify’s SoundUp Bootcamp and the lack of diversity in the podcasting industry.
Previously: Made Magazine Convenes The Spirit of Black Girl Magic at the Inaugural Made Maven Leadership Summit
How Spotify Recognizing The Lack of Women of Color Podcasters Mobilized A Community
I am one of the 18,000 applicants who applied to Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp. When I came across Spotify’s call for podcasting applicants, it felt like Spotify was looking for me – an aspiring podcaster with a great idea who could benefit from an intensive mentorship program.
I am a women of color from the USA and as an aspiring podcaster with no experience, I was excited to hear that Spotify was looking to discover new voices by “leaning towards first time and amateur podcasters”.
Spotify is one of the leading streaming multimedia platforms in the world. They have over 170 million users and made a net revenue of €4.09 billion last year (FY17) by specializing in music, video streaming and podcasts.
I did not need a lot of experience in the industry to know that this was an amazing opportunity for women of color to learn about podcasting from experts in the field.
Access to funding and networks of experienced professionals are two of the biggest barriers that women of color face when entering any industry. Sound Up Bootcamp planned to begin addressing this issue in the podcasting space by helping ten women of color get their podcast ideas off the ground.
The fact that Spotify released a call for aspiring women of color podcasters shows the lack of diversity in the podcasting industry is being noticed on a larger scale.
This also means we aren’t reaching a wide audience of potential loyal fans. Not to mention that brands and agencies are also recognizing the lost revenue from the lack of diversity as monetization is becoming a bigger focus in podcasting. When browsing the “Top Charts” on iTunes, I did not see one women of color podcast host among the top 50 shows.
But I am not the only women of color who recognized a need for diverse voices in podcasting. Since the announcement of the Bootcamp, women of color across the country have taken action by coming together on social media to help each other create a new space for women of color within the podcasting market. What started off as a hashtag on Twitter #SoundUpBootcamp used to chat amongst ourselves as we waited for Spotify to announce the winners on May 1st, 2018, has grown into something much larger!
I created the ‘WOC Podcasters’ Facebook group to learn, share and connect with my fellow women of color podcasters. And since its launch less than two weeks ago, the Facebook community has grown to over 450 members. Together we have hosted a town hall and round-table discussions. Members of the community have also collaborated on webinars and we look forward to in-person meetups this summer.
Looking back at my Spotify application, I realized that almost a month before I created the ‘WOC Podcasters’ Facebook group, I saw a need for creating this community.
Here is my response to one of Spotify’s questions on the Sound Up Bootcamp application:
What kind of support do you think you’ll need to address the challenges you’ll face as a women of color in the podcast space?
“As a woman of color, one of the challenges that I anticipate facing is the lack of having a robust network to look to for support, guidance and mentor-ship. A Mastermind and Facebook group devoted to women of color in the podcasting space can address these challenges by offering guidance, support and a network for finding quality guests.”
Follow Us on Instagram (@bykeenarenee) to see if me or Danielle made the cut when Spotify announces the winners on May 20th!