Spotify’s Sound Up programme to support women of colour in the podcast community.

Applications open today in the UK for Spotify’s Sound Up, a week-long accelerator programme in Manchester that will provide learning opportunities and support for women of colour looking to develop their own podcasts and make a name for themselves in the industry.

Sound Up Spotify Group Photos-FAD Magazine

The new and improved 2019 UK initiative follows a wildly successful run of Sound Up programmes worldwide since 2018, which has seen over 20,000 applicants across activations in New York, Sydney, Berlin, and London. This year’s Sound Up programme in Manchester will be the very first time that the initiative has made its debut outside of a capital city anywhere around the world, to improve accessibility and in recognition of the fact that there are important stories to be told by women of colour up and down the country.

Here’s how it works:
No prior experience is required. Applicants just need to have something unique to say and a desire to use the podcast medium to tell their story;

10 lucky applicants will be chosen to take part in the Sound Up programme who will learn everything there is to know about taking their ideas to pilot production. The programme covers technical production, storytelling through audio, marketing your podcast, and more, geared to developing the skills and confidence to create a podcast pilot;

At the end of the week, participants will pitch for a chance to win £10,000 and the opportunity to have their podcast episodes produced. The participants will each own the IP to their podcast idea;
Past alumni of Sound Up have received podcast development deals, connections to industry leaders and production grants to take their concepts to the next level.

James Cator Head of Podcast Partnerships, EMEA at Spotify said: “The UK is leading the way in the world of podcasts and we’re honoured to bring the programme to Manchester, to help women of colour make their voices better heard across the UK and beyond. Podcasts are such an exciting medium for Spotify – providing a platform where different voices and opinions can be heard and shared. By giving these women the right resources, they can help make podcasting more open to both creators and listeners who currently do not hear themselves represented enough.”

2018 saw a range of exciting podcasts come out of Sound Up, including Dope Labs, an educational podcast hosted by Sound Up New York alumna Titi Shodiya and Zakiya Whatley that looks at the intersection between science and pop culture. The podcast appeals to both science fans and podcast listeners who are looking for an interesting new way to discuss trending topics. Another podcast currently in production from the 2018 London programme is Masala. Created by finalist Sangeeta Pillai, the much-anticipated podcast brings together South Asian women to share and celebrate stories about subjects that are historically taboo in culture, from female sexuality to mental health.

Natalie Tulloch, News & Culture Lead at Spotify Studios, said: “Hearing from the amazing groups of women throughout Sound Up in 2018 was one of my greatest career highlights, and I can’t wait to see and hear from the incredible pool of talent in Manchester. With current studies showing that only 22% of podcasts are hosted by women, and even fewer when it comes to minority women, there is still a huge opportunity to have more of these stories told.”

Spotify is now accepting applications for the 2019 Sound Up programme HERE: spoti.fi/soundupuk. The deadline for entries is 27th September at 11.59 BST. The programme will run from 11th November to 15th November in Manchester.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018