Spotify launches applications for ‘Sound Up’ podcasting programme

The initiative provides mentoring to Black women and non-binary people in the UK and Ireland

Spotify has launched applications for its Sound Up programme – a training programme which aims to boost underrepresented voices in the podcasting world.

The third year of the initiative, which is open to Black women and non-binary people in the UK and Ireland, comes after new research revealed the barriers faced by marginalised voices within podcasting.

Research commissioned by the streaming giant found that fewer than 5% of the top 100 podcasts in the UK are hosted by BAME women or non-binary people. A further 74% of BAME women have said they feel underrepresented in podcasting.

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Previous years of the programme have involved in-person workshops, but the challenges of coronavirus mean that this year’s Sound Up will feature a virtual four-week course taking place from 12th October to 6th November 2020. Spotify will provide computers, WiFi access and podcast recording equipment to all participants.

From the initial four-week course, a select group will then be invited to in-person training in 2021 where they will further develop their ideas.

Since its inception in 2018, the programme has received over 20,000 applications around the world, and so far 60 chosen applicants have completed the programme.
Sangeeta Pillai, Sound Up UK 2018 winner and host of Masala Podcast said: “Sound Up gave me the confidence to create Masala Podcast. Before then, I literally knew nothing about podcasting – it felt too technical and overwhelming for me. Podcasting felt like it was for white middle-class men talking about football! Not for someone like me.

“Creating Masala Podcast has helped me reach other South Asian womxn, creating a huge supportive community where we explore taboos in our culture. Winning a silver at the British Podcast Awards was the ultimate affirmation that Brown voices like mine matter!”

Spotify UK/IE is now accepting applications for the 2020 Sound Up programme, at spotify.com/SoundUp. The deadline for entries is 4th August at 11.59 BST.

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