DUBAI: Last year, Spotify launched SAWTIK, an initiative to elevate and champion the voices of emerging unsigned female artists in the Middle East and North Africa region.
It came after esearch uncovered growing underrepresentation of women in the music industry.
A year later, Spotify is celebrating the program’s anniversary, reflecting on its impact and announcing its next steps.
SAWTIK playlists were heard by listeners in more than 70 markets, with the US, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria ranking among the top markets for streaming playlists from the program. To date, the platform’s music team has added more than 170 emerging female artists to SAWTIK’s official playlist.
Artists on the playlist represent the diversity of female talent in the region, including voices from the Arab diaspora. For example, Egyptian-Moroccan rapper Perrie is raising her voice and collaborating with famous rappers across the scene while being recognized by producers. Her recent collaboration with Abyusif on “Mamlaka” is charting on Spotify’s Top 50 Egypt.
SAWTIK’s godmother and Arab superstar Latifa is also working with Tunisian SAWTIK artist Sirine Miled on a new song.
Djouher from Algeria recently made the cover of Spotify’s global playlist, Ballads International, a collection of the world’s best emotional songs. She has established a strong international fan base, attracting listeners in the US, India and Indonesia.
Emirati singer-songwriter Almas has seen a 7500 percent increase in her song streams since joining SAWTIK. She is also one of the voices of the official Dubai Expo 2020 song “This is our Time.”
Almas said: “SAWTIK is a great platform. I appreciate the idea of bringing together female talents who share the same passion and challenges. I’ve enjoyed connecting with other SAWTIK artists; it really gave us a sense of community.”
Rania Hamadeh, vice president of marketing and promotions for Universal Music Group MENA, said: “It was inspiring for us to discover such great voices and talents like the rising Emirati artist Almas who was assigned by Universal Music MENA to take part in the official anthem of Dubai Expo 2020, representing the female voice of the young artistic generation of the UAE.”
To further support emerging female artists in the region, SAWTIK artists will be given a global platform through the EQUAL program launched earlier this year. EQUAL is Spotify’s global commitment dedicated to fostering equity for women in music and celebrating their contributions. The program will highlight female artists around the world through partnerships, activations and new content experiences, and will offer support both on and off the platform.
Under this program, SAWTIK artists will be included in the EQUAL hub, a dedicated space on the platform to highlight women creators.
Every month, the hub features a rotating Artist of the Month takeover, alongside a refreshed track list. SAWTIK artists will have the opportunity to have their music added to the flagship EQUAL Global playlist, among other benefits.
Spotify also has other plans to further amplify the voices of women artists in the region. “As we welcome SAWTIK to our EQUAL program, expect bigger and bolder plans for our emerging female artists next year,” said Lynn Fattouh, Spotify’s consumer marketing manager for the MENA region.