We wrote about the Equality in Audio Pact earlier this month. Launched by podcast producer Broccoli Content, it was a list of five pledges that audio production companies could make, including paying interns; hiring LGBTQIA+, black people, people of colour and other minorities for projects that aren’t just related to their identity; releasing race pay gap data; refusing to appear on unrepresentative conference panels; and being “transparent about who works for your company, as well as their role, position and permanency”.
More than 60 companies had signed up at that point, but since then the pact has won even more support. UK public-service broadcaster the BBC has signed up (“The issues highlighted in the pact are hugely important,” said Beeb exec James Purnell), as have The Guardian and Bauer Media.
Now Broccoli Content’s founder and CEO Renay Richardson is setting her sights on Spotify. In a Twitter thread criticising the company’s podcasts acquisitions strategy (“When will the announcements come that Spotify invested millions in businesses started by black and people of colour to help them scale to help them grow into future industry leaders? Not a scheme, just actual money to actual people?”)
Richardson suggested that “The very minimum you could do is sign the damn #EqualityInAudio pact”. The context for this: Spotify’s Sound Up programme focuses on individual people of colour who want to get into the podcasting industry, and its exclusive deals include one with Barack and Michelle Obama’s podcast production company, but its acquisitions have been of companies with white founders. T
his Wednesday (17 June) will see a Zoom-based townhall meeting to discuss the next steps for the pact, hosted by Broccoli Content, Boom Shakalaka Productions, Don’t Skip Media, We Are Unedited and Falling Tree Productions. Registration can be found here.