In order to truly brighten this golden age of audio, we need to include it all. That’s why, several years ago, Spotify created Sound Up, a global program that gives low-quality podcasters the tools to strengthen their platforms and create their own shows. Since 2001, we’ve expanded the program from the United States across the continent, to South America and Europe, and focused on potential podcasters who wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to mic.
Earlier this year, We shared that we would turn on Sound Up LatinX To address the existing inequalities within the podcasting community directly. Today, we invite aspiring US LatinX podcasters Apply for the program.
Sound Up LatinX is divided into two parts. First Up is a virtual training program in 2021, which will be held in eight weeks. The 10 participants shortlisted by Spotify will join the workshop for a comprehensive introduction to the art of making a podcast. Finally, participants will create and submit a podcast trailer and pitch proposal for the opportunity to be selected as the final candidate: in person at the Sound Up Session in 2022.
Participants will be in good company: Alumni of the Global Sound Up program have received podcast development agreements, connections with industry leaders, and production grants to take their ideas to the next level.
We talked Fernando Spuri, Manager, Sound Up, Why is it so important to bring more LatinX creators into the podcasting space and predict that Sound Up US LatinX podcasts will go worldwide.
Why did Spotify create this extra sound-up US program?
The podcast ecosystem is rapidly evolving in the United States and is already one of the most integrated in the world. However, when we examine the podcast charts, the makers need to make a lot of improvements about diversity. And with more than 60 million LatinX residents in the United States, it has become clear that the LatinX community will be the one to interact with the program.
The use of podcasts by the U.S. LatinX community is growing rapidly, and the use of community podcasts is higher than the average audience in the U.S. – 56% of the U.S. LatinX population has ever listened to podcasts compared to 55% of the U.S. total population. But there is still a lack of representation in the industry, even among LatinX manufacturers. We believe that bringing new voices to the table will open up a much bigger growth opportunity, add some new perspectives for the general audience and even encourage other potential producers to create their own shows.
How will this program be unique from existing Sound Up US programs – or any existing Sound Up program, for that matter?
We have a global framework for sound up which we use as a starting point, but after that, each sound up is unique, Even different versions in the same country. Each sound-up has a selected team with specific needs and backgrounds and the solutions are not replicable.
For the US LatinX program, for example, we will have topics such as addressing specific beneficiaries, guests, and content, such as determining the language of the show, how and if producers want to solve immigration issues, and even discussing what it means to be LatinX. Negotiations are basic for this group but not necessarily for a larger group. This indicates the uniqueness of all Sound Up versions, not just Sound Up US LatinX.
How do you think the aspects of bilingualism and immigration – two issues with unique elements in this population – will be included in the podcasts coming out of this program?
Naturally, bilingualism – or pluralism, prevalent in U.S. LatinX – will be a common problem in the immigration community and probably part of most shows. But it’s important to note that Sound Up isn’t necessarily looking for projects that address these issues directly.
We are looking for creators with strong ideas who want to tell them the best story about any subject. Of course, those issues are an inherent part of almost all LatinX, but how and with what intensity they want to address them depends on them.
Why are you particularly interested in working with this community?
First, the word LatinX is so inclusive and flexible, considering how diverse the participants will be. LatinX is this multidimensional community that not only struggles to listen, but also defines itself as it expands. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring new, varied voices and perhaps help to refine the podcast landscape related to diversity.
Everyone who identifies as part of the LatinX community living in the United States is invited to apply regardless of their origin or status. It will also bring in potential developers who do not have the opportunity to develop their vision in other traditional thematic educational programs.
Second, we are really excited about the possibilities of the ideas we get. For example, a Spanish show about K-pop made in Los Angeles from a second-generation Salvadorian podcaster is a Dominican first-generation kid in New York, but viewers can also find it in Santiago, Madrid and Oaxaca. And we’re not saying that to simplify the community, but to show an example of the strong twists we can find in audiences in the U.S. and abroad – and it’s really global and exciting!
All LatinX US residents aged 20 or over – regardless of immigration status – are invited Apply now to Sound Up US LatinX. Sign-ups will close on October 1, 2021. Please apply as an individual instead of a show or group. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
Update until September 10, 2021: Maria Muriel, co-founder of Pizza Shark, and ISIS Madrid Sound Up will facilitate US LatinX. After taking part as a speaker in 2019, Maria was already the Sound Up Facilitator for the US program in 2020 and 2021. Both Maria and Isis have provided us with global training on how to send courses to new sound-up facilitators in new markets around the world.