Over 18,000 Women of Color Apply for Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp — A Wake-Up Call For Brands or Content Creators?

If you’ve been paying attention to the creative women of color on the interwebs, you’ve probably seen the emergence of the hashtag #WomenOfColorPodcastToo — the battle cry of a group of proactive creatives — in response to Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp. For those who missed it, allow me to provide you with a little context.

On March 27, during Women’s History Month, Spotify, a digital music service, announced news of a week-long intensive program for 10 aspiring women of color podcasters to be hosted by veteran podcasters Rekha Murthy and Graham Griffith. At the end of the bootcamp, the women would have the chance to pitch their podcast and one lucky participant would be awarded $10,000 to go towards their developing their program.

News spread quickly through social media. I, personally, was tagged a few times from friends and family on both sides of the U.S. — Canadian border. Even notable publications, such as Black Enterprise, FastCompany, and AdWeek, shared the information, as well. I must applaud their public relations and marketing team because they did an excellent job getting the word out. They even managed to cause a stir among interested podcasters in other countries.

May 1 came and went and there was no news or update from Spotify. A number of applicants took to social media to express their feelings.

In the 24 hours from the scheduled announcement, what began as random tweets inquiring who made the Spotify 10, turned into hundreds of podcasters across the nation coming together to support each other. If you’re a numbers person, take a look at the engagement that took place across Twitter between May 1–2, 2018. That’s 220 influencers who were able to reach 452,503 accounts on Twitter. Thanks to Keyhole, we have insight into their technology use and clout, as 50% of the tweets were retweeted.

It wasn’t until May 2 that streaming music powerhouse tweeted,

Wait. What? I’ll let that sink in. As Ivy Le put it

While many applicants tweeted sighs of relief that they are still in the running to be one of the #SoundUpBootcamp participants, something much greater has come from Spotify’s efforts that content creators and brands across all industries could stand ponder.

When it comes to content creators, how can brands better engage and work with women of color?

As areas such as Influencer Marketing and Content Marketing continue to grow as viable channels for audience engagement and non-obtrusive advertising, big brands are still learning how to market to and work with niche demographics without undermining their hard work and tenacity.

There are plenty of WOC CC out there — hungry for the opportunity to be a voice in every sector (automotive, travel, health, beauty, athletic wear, sports, pets, parenting, education, business and entrepreneurship, cooking, politics and so on). I could give any brand willing to explore working with a host, expert, blogger, or vlogger in any of the aforementioned sectors introductions at a moments notice. Because contrary to public opinion, there are talented women of color building communities outside of beauty, style, and food.

I plan to explore this topic more in the coming weeks, especially since I am confident there is an opportunity for the right companies to consider pilot programs and campaigns that could be the beginning of a shift in the relationships between brands and creators.

If you are a content creator or a brand, what needs to happen for more women of color to gain access to opportunities to partner with big brands? I welcome your thoughts in the comments below, or if you would be willing to join me on a live show to discuss, let me know.

Brands, if you need help, let’s talk! E: hello (at) chozenmedia.co.

Update: Below are a number of resources that have circulated since the writing of this article.