In May, Spotify put in place its Sound of Africa campaign. As part of the campaign, it announced an Africa Podcast Grant. The goal is to support podcasting on the continent. It set up the $100,000 fund in October.
What’s the Significance?
Spotify giving out this grant is a significant validator for the podcast space. It captures the depth of adoption on the continent. If Spotify did not have data to ground this assertion, it wouldn’t likely invest in its growth.
Simultaneously, it speaks to further potential for growth. Some of the uses of the grant include; purchasing equipment, developing websites, marketing, production costs etc. These uses will help the chosen podcasters to develop and invest in their podcasts. With this in mind, an increase in podcasting standards in Africa is a reasonable expectation.
Which Podcasts Were Awarded An Africa Podcast Grant?
13 African Podcasts were chosen. They originate from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Cameroon.
Jola Ayeye and Feyikemi Abudu co-host I Said What I Said. Originating in 2017, the podcast served as an outlet for the duo’s outsize Twitter personas. They cover trending issues, societal happenings and their shared experience as millennials in Lagos.
Taymesan, a content creator based in Lagos hosts Tea with Tay. He interviews other celebrities. This results in intriguing stories for listeners.
F&S Uncensored is the brainchild of Feyikemi Akin-Bankole and Simi Badiru. They deliver takes on trendy pop culture news bites and their mid-20s struggles.
Gugulethu Nyatsumba of After School Is After School with Sis G.U. documents the experience of South Africa’s mid 20s demographic.
The Journey Kwantu explores and questions matters around African spirituality and identity.
Wisdom & Wellness with Mpoomy Ledwaba aims to stimulate important conversations on life lessons and individual journeys.
Convos and Cocktails with Lesego Tihabi is hosted by the prominent South African satirist. Above all, her goal is to generate conversation that “we, as black women, want to have… but often don’t”.
Kenyan writer, journalist and queer activist Kevin Mwachiro hosts the podcast. In regard to this, Nipe Story illustrates African short stories and creativity.
The Sandwich Podcast focuses on the life experiences and their guests. It’s the most listened-to podcast in Kenya.
The Messy Inbetween is a safe space for women to discuss their existence without judgment.
Eli Mwenda and Oscar Koome host Mantalk.ke. They explicitly pursue uncomfortable conversations centered around manhood.
Diane Audrey Ngako is an entrepreneur, journalist and art collector that hosts Si Maman M’avait Dit, which translates to “If my mom had told me”. It’s the only Francophone podcast in the cohort. Ngako speaks to guests to dig deeper into lessons about their lives.
Sincerely Accra is a popular Ghanaian podcast featuring a mix of personalities as they discuss varying topics and give opinions on current issues and pop culture.
What Does This Mean for the Indie Podcaster?
This captures the value of consistency. Furthermore, it speaks to the importance of a clear vision and executing on it. It’s not enough to have an idea. Equally important, is the focus needed to shape an idea into a product with consistent offerings. Consequently, this could result in alliances with the right platforms. Access to support from such platforms could help catalyze the growth required to ensure sustainability.
By investing in the space, Spotify gets a ringside seat in scaling the podcast space on the continent. Consequently, this could inform its investments going forward.
Is The Africa Podcast Grant Sufficient?
One counterpoint that has been made is that the Spotify grant is insufficient for a platform of its size. Considering it has paid the likes of Joe Rogan an estimated $200million and the Windsors $25million, this is definitely a reasonable suggestion. In fact, Spotify promised to invest ” $100 million towards ‘the licensing, development, and marketing of music (artists and songwriters) and audio content from historically marginalized groups” in response to a Rogan scandal. Is there a link between this promise and the grant?
Africa is viewed as the last frontier for big companies like Spotify. Spotify only became available in most African countries in 2021. That could explain the conservative nature of its investment.
I posit that this answer will largely be determined by what comes next. Will there be follow-up initiatives to drive adoption? Will there be an increase in the cohort and the money being handed out next year? If yes, then it’ll suggest an overall strategy. If not, it will feel tokenistic.