In an article published in 2018, Forbes described allyship as “a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalised individuals and/or groups of people.”
It’s clear that over the past year alone, Spotify’s Australian team has embodied the heart and ambition of an ally.
From its partnership with the Victorian Music Development Office on their Blak Sound grant program earlier in the year, to its multiple First Nations playlists and active pushing of First Nations acts on to mainline playlists, diversity, inclusion and social impact are top of mind for Spotify Australia.
More than that, in August Spotify partnered with the National Indigenous Music Awards, presenting the Best New Artist award to Kaiit, and it ensures First Nations representation across all major events including Front Left Live (Electric Fields), Women in Music event (Brooke Boney keynote), and the Splendour in the Grass pre party (Kaiit).
In September, Spotify took over TSO in Brisbane to create a First Nations House at BIGSOUND. The space offered workshops, a dedicated space for First Nations artists, as well as events showcasing diverse Indigenous music for the community, and all BIGSOUND delegates.
At Botanical House in Sydney last night, Spotify hosted a special Women In Music event during the pivotal ARIA Week with the theme Allies: Bring One, Be One, Meet Many.
Bringing together women and their allies of any gender identity, the night of recognition for female achievement featured a keynote from First Nations media identity Brooke Boney, a proud Gamilaroi Gomeroi woman who has worked as a political correspondent for SBS and NITV, and is now an Entertainment Reporter for the Today Show on Nine.
A welcome by Spotify MD Karen Lawson marked the first time she had delivered a keynote since she took the top role in May.
During her welcome to the room of 200 female music industry figures and their allies, Lawson detailed three initiatives Spotify is committed to in order to drive gender parity in music.
The former chief of start-up accelerator Slingshot said her leadership roles have made her acutely aware of “the conscious and unconscious biases that women face every day in the workplace, in our industry, and in our society.”
The three initiatives Spotify has undertaken to drive gender parity in music:
1. Programming more female artists on our owned and operated playlists.
2. Increasing resources to counter algorithmic bias in user behaviour throughout the platform. This includes having a dedicated team focused on research and education to guard against potential discriminatory side-effects of machine learning on our platform.
3. Increasing Spotify’s marketing budgets for female artists to drive awareness and support artists beyond just playlisting.
“There is much work to do but Spotify is committed to these initiatives and you will see that reflected locally in 2020,” said Lawson.
A notable personal touch to the event saw Spotify beam in dedications to a few deserving allies who were lauded for their contribution to a more insightful and considered music industry.
Check out a few of them below: