4 Ways Spotify Is Expanding Our NextGen Audio Program This Fall

At Spotify, we empower and amplify the voices of underrepresented creators by carving out spaces for new stories and perspectives to be shared and heard. NextGen, funded by Spotify’s Creator Equity Fund, is our ongoing program designed to infuse, activate, and grow podcast culture on college campuses. It supplies students across the U.S. with the audio skills they need to pursue their dreams. 

Since partnering with our first HBCU—Spelman College in Atlanta—and announcing an audio-first NextGen curriculum and weeklong Spotify Labs Creator Program at our first NextGen Creator Day at Spelman, we’ve been working diligently alongside our partners to empower and support the next generation of Black audio creators. 

But there’s still more to do. And we’re excited to highlight a few upcoming initiatives.

Renovating Spelman’s Podcast Studio 

Spotify Studios refurbished and modernized Spelman College’s existing on-campus podcast studio, fully outfitting the space with state-of-the-art podcasting and video recording equipment and personalized design touches. We also provided portable audio equipment for students and faculty to utilize in the field. The newly renovated studio and mobile equipment will serve as focal points for hosting guest speakers and collaborative projects. We’re excited for students to use the space to create a variety of content, following in the footsteps of their original podcast, Emmett Till: The Cultural Afterlife of an American Boy.

Unveiling Our New NextGen x HBCU Partner Schools: Hampton University and North Carolina A&T State University 

The Spotify Creator Equity Fund has committed over $100K in scholarship funding for students at both Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism And Communications and North Carolina A&T State University’s ACEJMC-accredited Department of Journalism and Mass Communication

To kick things off at Hampton, we partnered with the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications to bring Spotify’s Opening Act Roadshow to campus for a one-day internship informational session. This event offered Hampton students exposure to Spotify thought leaders—Kristin Jarrett, Lead, Equity & Impact and Creator Equity; LaShanti Jenkins, Global Head of Early Career Pipeline Team; and Briana Younger, Editorial Lead, Hip Hop—as well as skill-building workshops and networking opportunities. Students also saw firsthand what a career path in the tech and audio industries would look like, and they participated in a live playlist challenge. In the spring, we’ll also be selecting scholarship winners from the school, donating audio equipment to the campus, and working closely with faculty to support students in their content creation. 

Stay tuned for more on our NextGen Audio initiatives at both schools throughout the 2023-2024 academic calendar year!

Collaborating with Howard University and Nikole Hannah-Jones

We recently partnered with professor and Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones to bring a podcast narrative course based on the 1619 Project to Howard University during the 2023 fall semester. As students worked with Hannah-Jones to transform their narrative essays into a podcast that will be available on our platform, Spotify experts taught them about audio production. We also donated audio and recording equipment for students to use to create a three-episode podcast series that explores Black culture and influence and the legacies of slavery in America. We will be hosting a listening party for students in January 2024. 

Continuing our work with USC Annenberg

This year, NextGen’s collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, including the USC Charlotta Bass Journalism & Justice Lab, will focus efforts toward open dialogue and career development for aspiring podcast creators from marginalized backgrounds. Throughout the fall, we’ve been providing USC students the opportunity to hear from top audio creator Edwin Covarrubias of Scary Stories, Wondery podcast producer and LA Times writer Dave Schilling, and author and What A Day host Tre’vell Anderson. We’ve also provided students access to Spotify executivesCreator Partner Manager Amber Watkins; Production Operations Lead Michelle Kitchen; Senior Program Ops Manager Nichole Henderson; and Community Development Lead Christabel Nsiah-Buadi

On Thursday, November 9, we welcomed 30 USC Annenberg students with a passion for audio storytelling to a Careers in Podcasting day at Spotify’s Los Angeles office to learn more about what a career path in audio looks like in 2023 and beyond.