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Business Strategies for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Spotify

B. Fadrigon

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Equity Fluent Leadership

Music is a universal language, enjoyed and expressed worldwide impacting individuals of all races, genders, classes, and levels of ability.


Spotify’s strategy to be inclusive of all music enjoyers includes both external and internal methods, for employees and users alike.


However, how impactful is their product design and curation to the communities it’s supposed to serve?

Current Strategies

User Awareness of ‘Cultural Moments’

Spotify seems to use U.S recognized awareness months & cultural recognition holidays as their foundation of showing support. They mention in their report that “As a brand we believe in the importance of celebrating these calendared cultural moments to drive impact, while also finding ways to uplift these communities all year.”


They highlight the following as ‘cultural moments’:

  • Black History Month

  • International Women’s Day

  • Asian American & Pacific Islander History Month

  • LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

  • Latinx Heritage Month

Underrepresented User Amplification

Spotify’s product design for social impact highlights three programs that ‘amplifies’ underrepresented users–defining users in this scope as content creators.  

  1. Frequency, a global initiative and holistic destination for celebrating Black art, entertainment, creativity, culture, and community both on- and off-platform. 

  2. Sound Up, a global program that gives underrepresented podcasters the tools to boost their platforms and build their own shows. 

  3. EQUAL, a one-stop destination that highlights the work of women artists and podcasters.

These in-product design and curation efforts are bringing awareness to the black community, women, and broadly ‘underrepresented users’.

Room for Growth

User Awareness of ‘Cultural Moments’

Most of these moments are primarily U.S based–despite Spotify having headquarters globally. Expanding their moments for global inclusion would address many more of their users and could highlight the importance of DEIB strategies around the world. For example, also highlighting important holidays such as Diwali or Mid-Autumn Festival for users located in their Asia-Pacific Sector.

Spotify’s recognition of racial communities is lacking, only including the largest and most visible racial groups in the DEIB field. Furthermore, there is room for Spotify to innovate and lead the way in disaggregating their data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for their DEIB strategies. The issue here lies in that the U.S government historically combines Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in classifications, despite those communities being very diverse and non-monolithic.

Spotify lead with ‘finding ways to uplift these communities all year’ instead of leading specific cultural moments. Upon first glance and with a critical mind, there is not enough information within the report that highlights the continuous racial DEIB efforts on Spotify. In my experience within community organizing and inclusive user experience research, the most provoking type of social impact is rooted in a belief that individual contributors (in this case, Spotify as a company) could create social & structural change

Underrepresented User Amplification

Spotify is uniquely positioned in focusing on its content creators–that’s who makes the platform usable and interesting for its consumers.  However, I would be interested in seeing Spotify focus on its consumers as users, asking questions such as ‘what inclusive design features could benefit the disabled community?’ or ‘how can we motivate consumers to value and access these programs?’

Standardize their ‘cultural moments’ efforts with their amplification efforts. Their cultural moments portion identifies the LGBTQIA+ community explicitly, so why don’t they also do that for their amplification efforts? Spotify had a decent foundation of in-product DEIB strategies with its cultural moments portion, so using that as a guide to expand their programs for different types of users would follow in building a stronger foundation

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