Spotify’s Equalizer Sessions in Germany Help Women Build Lasting Connections
Photo Credit: Swetlana Holz
What do you get when you bring an impressive collection of women artists, podcasters, and influencers together for dinner? Magic—and an environment that inspires meaningful connections.
Spotify has hosted Equalizer events in Europe to combat gender inequality in music for some time. The latest event, our Equalizer Sessions in Germany, was a three-part series in collaboration with the feminist-creation space and network eeden. These sessions took the form of dinners in Hamburg. Each one was hosted by different artists, alongside eeden cofounders Jessica Louis and Nürsen Kaya, with the aim of sparking conversations among women in the audio industry.
The first event was hosted by artists Shari Hosseini and Maryam.fyi, the second by artists Lia Sahin and Jamie Watson, and the third by artist Antje Schomaker and writer Anastasia Umrik. The events were filled with musical performances and discussions of topics like mental health, equality, diversity, and Spotify’s EQUAL program.
These intimate dinners allowed women to connect, share personal experiences, and get to know others in both a personal and professional manner. For the Record chatted with Conny Zhang, Head of Music for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, about the sessions and how they’re helping support diversity in the audio industry.
What was the goal of the Equalizer Sessions in Germany?
We wanted to create open and safe spaces for women from various pockets of the media and entertainment industry to connect and share an evening of conversations. While the sessions were meant to be open and without a frame of specific topics, each session was hosted by one to two women who set a tone or a topic of conversation based on their experience working in the industry. Ultimately, the aim was to bring together women to create a long-lasting network.
What was your favorite moment during the event you attended?
My favorite part was the immediate connection that I felt with all attendees, spurred by the conversation starters provided by the hosts. It was lovely to see female creators and industry professionals connect on various topics regarding professional and personal issues.
Why is it important to have creation spaces that are specifically and explicitly feminist?
Until there is more equality within the industry in regard to network, resourcing, education, and more, it is still important to provide spaces that are targeted specifically for female audiences. Those spaces provide a setting to share experiences with people who have had similar journeys or might have already progressed through. Ideally, the work does not end there as it’s equally important to connect women with decision makers—regardless of gender—to further close the gap.
As the Head of Music in Germany, you pay close attention to gender equity in music in particular. Where do you see the biggest gaps currently?
On a global scale, only one in five artists is female, and streaming reflects the reality of the industry. We cannot change these structures in single parts, but we have to all work together to do our best to close gaps in education, network, and access to resources.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming women audio creators?
Given that there are many structural and systemic barriers, it feels almost incomplete to only give advice for women creators as there are many systemic issues that need to be addressed. I would still like to encourage them to keep going and to not give up. Building up a network of supporters and sponsors is vital in anyone’s career.
Check out photos from the three events below.