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EQUAL: Spotify’s goal for African women

EQUAL: Spotify’s goal for African women

This week, in honour of National Women’s Day here in South Africa, Spotify hosted a brunch to highlight EQUAL.

EQUAL is one of the streaming company’s initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers for women in the music business. The aim is to recognise the success that Spotify EQUAL Africa artists like Nomfundo Moh have achieved. At the same time, Sio was also named the August 2022 Spotify EQUAL Africa ambassador.

I got to rub shoulders with influencers, fellow members of the media, and some music industry stakeholders who all attended the event at The Venue Green Park in Sandton. In a very poignant panel discussion, the point was made that we should really celebrate these women in music and applaud their talents and stop for instance, commenting on what they wear!

Monica Kemoli-Savanne, Spotify’s East Africa artist and label partnerships manager, presented some EQUAL Africa findings. This information included data about the playlist’s features, musicians featured on the playlists, and the streaming performance of EQUAL Africa artists.

Since it’s launch in 2021 the global equity programme has been dedicated to fostering equity for women in music, explains Kemoli-Savanne. “And our aim is to ensure that we’re highlighting a diverse range of African music and African women musicians as part of our different programming. Being a part of this equal programme, ensures exposure to global listenership and as we know being able to tap into new audiences, both at home and internationally, is a key factor to develop audiences for artists.

“With that we are extremely proud of the fact that EQUAL artists are featured in over 9000 Spotify editorial playlists.”

The editorial team across the globe are constantly working on putting artists in front of different teams as part of their mission to explore and expose the African region.

“The next point is that our EQUAL Africa artists had over 30 million hours of listening feeds, [which] really speaks to the power of the music that has been created by African musicians. This is a reflection of how the music being created by African musicians is being consumed.

“The final statistics, the fact that our EQUAL Africa artists have received over 8 billion streams globally,” adds Kemoli-Savanne.

Highlighting the 8 billion global streams the EQUAL Africa artists featured on the playlist have received since the playlist’s launch, the 4.5 million streams the EQUAL Africa playlist has received so far in 184 markets, and the 9000 Spotify editorial playlists EQUAL Africa artists have been featured in, is a great feat for Spotify.

Kim Sineke, Nomfundo Moh, Angela Weickl, and Phiona Okumu then took to the stage to discuss the music industry and what women face day in and day out. They concluded that education is crucial for rewriting the story of women in the music industry and making it more inclusive. They further shared that collaboration with key stakeholders and teams makes it easier for female artists to knock on doors and speed up the process of inclusivity. 

Sio, who is due to release her album next week Friday, kicked off the performance line-up followed by Nomfundo Moh, another EQUAL Africa artist who performed an exclusive preview from her upcoming album due to be released this Friday.

Spotify’s mission remains to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving millions of artists the opportunity to live off their art. 

“In short, we are here to partner with all of Africa’s music stakeholders to create value for the ecosystem. That includes all the much-needed work we do to bring female creators to the centre of the conversation (via EQUAL Africa), our investment in the next generation of artists, educating and empowering artists with the tools and data to make the most of the opportunities to export their music and gain new audiences around the world,” Phiona Okumu, Spotify‘s head of music in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Photo Credit: eventPics

 

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Clare Matthes

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