First Nation Voices championed with Spotify's Podcast Accelerator Grant Program

[by Tamara Jenkins]

Rowdie Walden. Image: supplied

As part of their intention to become a leader in the podcasting space, streaming giant Spotify has invited aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander podcasters to apply for their Sound Up accelerator program, a five-day residential podcasting workshop to be held in Sydney in May.


Returning for the second year, Sound Up aims to lift up and amplify First Nations’ voices in Australia, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, writers and creators are encouraged to apply.


“First Australians have been passing down their knowledge, culture and history from generation-togeneration through storytelling for tens of thousands of years, and Spotify wants to harness the power of storytelling and bring it to the next generation through podcasting, “ says Natalie Tulloch, Spotify Sound Up Lead.


“We’re excited to have launched the Sound Up initiative for a second year and look forward to amplifying the voices of First Nations people.”


Applicants don’t need to have any previous podcasting experience to apply, just a voice (with something to say), a passion for the medium, and an eagerness to bring a podcast idea to life.


From the pool of applicants, ten people will be selected to attend the residential workshop, with travel and accommodation covered for those living outside of Sydney.


Facilitated by Podcaster and Co-Founder of Tiddas 4 Tiddas, Marlee Silva, and podcast expert, Rekha Murthy, participants in Sound Up will learn about the art of podcasting, receive mentoring and practical experience, and meet with podcasting and radio greats who also identify as First Nations people.


At the end of the week, three finalists will be awarded a cash grant and all participants will be given equipment and software to produce their podcasts.


2018’s Sound Up Australia program awarded four grants, with one of the recipients, Rowdie Walden, going on to create the ‘Search Engine Sex’ podcast, the ultimate sex and relationship podcast, and Spotify Australia’s first Spotify Original investment.


On Sound Up, Rowdie says: “Sound Up is an incredible opportunity because it's so rare in the media industry that you get to sit with the platform, with the commissioning editors, with the managing director and develop your idea from the ground up. It gives space to minority groups who otherwise wouldn't get a foot in the door.”


He continues, “Podcasting is such a fast-growing industry that it's important we keep the push for diversity and inclusion in this space as well. It's incredibly white, and as the oldest storytellers, it's important we have representation in this space. While my podcast, Search Engine Sex, isn't what you'd think of when you think "Indigenous podcast", it's important to show that we can exist in other spaces. Black voices can be mainstream.”


Aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander podcasters can apply for this year’s Sound Up program here. Entries close on March 15th, 2020, and the accelerator program will take place from 11th – 15th May, 2020 at Spotify’s Sydney Headquarters.


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