February is Black History Month, and many companies celebrated the month by hosting events and highlighting African American employees and icons that have inspired us and shaped history. Yet, nearly two months after the close of Black History Month, Spotify has announced that "Black History Is Happening Now.” The streaming service is debuting a multi-approach effort aimed at challenging the limited timeframe celebrating the achievements of black creators and instead encouraging their creativity year-round.
Spotify is no stranger to using its platform to amplify and celebrate social causes, and this month the streaming service amped up its efforts to showcase artists of color with the launch of Black History Is Happening Now. The initiative is centered around a new content hub that highlights artists and storytellers of color using curated playlists, videos and podcasts to share their stories not just in February, but throughout the year. This month’s curator, Janelle Monáe, will share playlists featuring her musical inspirations, as well as emerging talent, her take on Black History Is Happening Now and a documentary on the history of Afrofuturism.
But the initiative goes beyond just content – Spotify aims to support up-and-coming creatives through a series of programs. Ten aspiring female podcasters of color will be chosen to participate in Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp, where they will learn storytelling, production and marketing skills to boost their careers. Additionally, the company is now accepting applications for its new Black History Is Happening Now Fellowship, an entry-level position at Spotify for individuals who are passionate about black history and culture. Jackie Jantos, Spotify’s VP of brand and creative, explains how employees identified the opportunity and sparked the idea of a holistic approach, “For us, having tangible programs that support communities through music and our platform creates more change than just releasing content or marketing in isolation.”
Although February gives many brands the opportunity to celebrate and unite, Spotify has ditched the moment-in-time approach, embracing the idea as an everyday behavior. The brand is demonstrating its commitment beyond products or services – with a multi-dimensional approach that includes employee engagement and investment in the community. As more brands look to leverage cultural moments to connect with consumers, they should consider how they can add and sustain value beyond one-off marketing moments and truly embed the commitment within the brand in an authentic way.