A look at Equal Music; Spotify’s programme for female artistes, content creators

…Ghana’s Gyakie joins the global platform

With numbers in its favour, Spotify has truly become a global leader in audio music. The feat is obvious with over 356 million monthly active users, over 158 million subscription users, over 70m songs in the catalogue, over 4 billion playlists and availability across 178 markets in the world.

However, the audio music leader is committed to making female voices on its catalogue and playlists to be heard and appreciated now more than ever. The commitment resulted in the recent launch of its EQUAL hub, in celebration of International Women’s Day this year, and with the launch, Spotify has now extended its global commitment to fostering equity for women in music. The Equal Music Programme, Spotify’s global initiative is uniquely designed to foster gender equity in music by adapting and extending the cumulative blueprint of Spotify’s successful programmes into a cohesive experience, supporting female creators under one brand.

For Spotify, the rationale for the programme is obvious; only 1 in 5 artists in the charts are women, a stark contrast to how integral women’s influence is to Spotify’s success today and the music industry at large. Moreover, Spotify takes the responsibility of upending the disparities and believes the first step towards amplifying the work of all creators identifying as women is to extend critical resources to this community to create opportunity.

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Speaking on the initiative, Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s head of music, Sub-saharan Africa, said, “In a time where we as a society are re-examining equity on so many levels, Spotify is prioritising its goal to make female faces and voices seen and heard. Our goal is to lead by example, joining hands with the African music industry stakeholders with the means and platform to help elevate the next generation of women in the music industry to deserving new heights.”

Spotify’s inaugural class of EQUAL artists kicking off the programme included; Gyakie, a Ghanaian Afrobeats and Afrofusion singer, who is the first African creator to be selected for the programme. The 20-yearold singer who recently released her debut EP tagged, ‘Seed’, has not only gained popularity in Ghana but in Nigeria and Kenya where her single, ‘Forever’, is a chart-topping fan favorite, with its remix featuring Omah Lay not far behind.

“I am deeply honoured to be the first African woman to partner with Spotify for EQUAL. This is huge for so many women across the continent and the entire globe. I don’t take this lightly at all. Navigating an industry, where the voices of women can easily be drowned out, I’m committed to playing my part…with volume,” says Gyakie on her inclusion in the programme.

Other female artists selected for the inaugural class include;

Saweetie, an American rapper, DUDA BEAT, a Brazillian pop artist, Griff, a British singersongwriter, Mexico’s Natalia Lafourcade and Zoe Wees, German singer and Global Artist of the Month of April.

Meanwhile, the full programme includes: EQUAL local playlists with each playlist reflecting the 35 markets spanning over 50 countries – from Japan to Argentina, from the UK to Ghana. As well, it will includes EQUAL Global Playlist, which will contain music from EQUAL artists from all around the world, as the ultimate listening experience amplifying the EQUAL class of each month beyond borders.

EQUAL Artists of the Month programme will see one artist from each participating market featured on the cover of their respective, local playlist, while in the Artist Marketing programme, each EQUAL Artist of the Month will be supported with organic and on-platform promotion throughout the Spotify editorial space, which has proven to propel significant growth on platform in both artists’ home countries and beyond.

Other programmes of Spotify’s global music initiative are: Created By Women Playlist, which will feature 40 songs 100 percent written, produced, and performed exclusively by women songwriters, producers, and artists from around the world; EQUAL Board, featuring a network of organisations joining forces with Spotify to empower women around the world including: She’s the Music (US), Girls Rock Australia Network (Australia), She Said So (Italy), MEWEM Europa (Europe), Girls Connected (Canada), and Music Women (Germany).

There is also EQUAL Directory re-launch, which will see Spotify partnering with Soundgirls to relaunch the EQUAL Directory, formally EQL Directory. The Directory allows women of all experiences and gender nonconforming creators to create a profile and claim their space in the community of women changing the game in audio. With the relaunch, you can search The EQUAL Directory by region and audio discipline to find suitable candidates to hire for your next tours and events, studio projects, film and TV production, game audio, post production, podcasts, and more.

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