Sunday 18 August 2019

Spotify can and should be doing better on diversity, says company boss

Austin Daboh acknowledged the service could do more to help minority artists.

Spotify can and should be doing better on diversity, one of its bosses has said (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Spotify can and should be doing better on diversity, one of its bosses has said (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

A Spotify boss has said the streaming giant “can and should be doing better” on diversity.

Austin Daboh, head of music, culture and editorial in the UK, praised the company for employing a mix of genders and backgrounds.

However, speaking at a London conference organised by BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, Daboh said the company could do more to promote music from women and minorities.

If you look at our hip hop playlists there's a lack of diversity and that's not because the editors are omitting female artists. There actually aren't that many female artists uploading their music to begin with Austin Daboh, Spotify

Asked what his company was doing to promote diversity, he said: “We can and should be doing better, is what I would say first. I’m not going to beat around the bush.

“I’m a black male, so I know all about the adversity and struggle minority groups face.”

Daboh plays a role in running some of Spotify’s playlists, including the grime-heavy Who We Be, which has played an important role in breaking new artists.

He continued: “I think it starts from the team. On my team you have different religions, different races, different sexualities, different genders. We have quite a good split across the company in the UK.

“But there are some deep-seated issues from genre to genre that need to be looked at.

“If you look at Hot Hits UK, which is our big pop flagship playlist, you have a good mix of gender. If you look at our hip hop playlists there’s a lack of diversity and that’s not because the editors are omitting female artists.

“There actually aren’t that many female artists uploading their music to begin with.

“We have to take a step back before we can get to the platforms and say: ‘What work can we do as a community and a society to help uplift women, or the gay community, or the black community?’

“We over programme females and ethnic minorities. If you look at the graph of organic consumption and you compare it to how we programme them we over index them by about 10%.

“But it’s not enough. We could be doing more.”

Record label bosses, promoters and journalists also spoke at the Annie Mac Presents London Conference Day at the Moth Club in Hackney, east London.

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