Spotify Launches Frequency, a New Initiative Aimed at Amplifying Black Voices

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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.

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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.

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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.

“It’s important for Spotify to recognize that Black artists have influenced and made music across all genres, from country music to Caribbean to pop, and should be celebrated because of its impact on mainstream culture,” said Sydney Lopes, Spotify’s head of hip-hop and R&B, artist & label partnerships. “Coming from a global streaming platform that relies on the art of these creators to be successful, we have a huge opportunity to showcase how broad that spectrum of Black culture is, and giving artists more autonomy in how their story is told is key to building trust and understanding. It’s really just the beginning of Spotify’s commitment to uplift Black voices both internally and externally with this brand, and given the platform’s global reach, there’s a ton of opportunity to show up for the community in ways that we have not before.”

Said Dzifa Yador, supervising creative producer of Studio 4, “Frequency is a celebration of resilience in all forms of creativity. The genesis of this brand came out of a demand from Black employees who felt it was important to be seen and heard. Those same employees created space for other Black employees to not just express themselves through the editorial voice of the brand, but give recognition to the culture shifters, artists, and creators that fuel our global brand. The brand does not exist to solve racial injustices. It’s here to celebrate resilience in the face of it.”

The platform has a page in which some of Spotify’s key Black execs explain their intentions and hopes for the new program, here.

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