Spotify’s Sound Up Australia—Amplifying First Nations Voices for a Second Year

Update as of May 10, 2021: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sound Up AU program as described below did not occur in 2020. In 2021, we invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander podcasters to sign up for The Sound Up 2021 program, which will be facilitated by our new partners Travis De Vries and Brooke Scobie from Awesome Black. Learn more about the 2021 program here.

For Indigenous communities, stories have long been passed down by word of mouth. Podcasting, a much more recent invention, can take the words of storytellers even further. Through Spotify’s Sound Up Australia podcast accelerator program, we’re helping to empower First Nations individuals in Australia to tell their stories using podcasting—and amplifying them across the world. 

Returning for the second year, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, writers, creators, and podcasters are encouraged to apply to our Sound Up accelerator program, a five-day residential podcasting workshop to be held in Sydney from May 11 to 15. Applicants don’t need to have any previous podcasting experience to apply, just something to say, a passion for the medium, and an eagerness to bring a podcast idea to life. 

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

From the pool of applicants, 10 people will be selected to attend the residential workshop, which will be facilitated by Marlee Silva, podcaster and co-founder of Tiddas 4 Tiddas, and Rekha Murthy, podcast expert. Participants 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.

Sound Up Australia in 2018 awarded four grants for podcast production. One recipient, Rowdie Walden, used it to create Search Engine Sex, the ultimate sex and relationship podcast, and Spotify Australia’s first Spotify Original investment

“Sound Up is an incredible opportunity because it’s so rare in the media industry that you get to sit with the platform, the commissioning editors, and the managing director and develop your idea from the ground up,” says Rowdie. “It gives space to minority groups who otherwise wouldn’t get a foot in the door. Podcasting is such a fast-growing industry that it’s important we keep the push for diversity and inclusion in this space as well.” 

Aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander podcasters can apply for this year’s Sound Up program here from May 11 – 15 by March 15. Travel and accommodation will be covered for those living outside of Sydney.