Spotify’s Outside Voice Is Compelling Platform for BIPOC Creativity

Spoken word segments inside playlists open a rare window into the marketing world

The show's title has an intentional dual meaning. Spotify

Despite the myriad challenges facing society and culture—and by extension, the marketing industry—there are signs of significant and profound momentum. On a macro scale, the continued work by the likes of 600 & Rising and agencies and brands committed to change illustrates a track in the right direction, though it’s still early.

Individual voices add up to a chorus that demands action, representation and equity. Spotify recently launched a series, Outside Voice, that amplifies perspectives from some of marketing’s most interesting and influential names.

The idea was born from Spotify’s Culture Next report, which indicated that 2020 has been a cultural wake-up call. In the study that looks more closely at millennial and Gen Z listeners, over 80% of respondents felt that the Black Lives Matter movement was the year’s defining issue, according to Spotify senior creative Tye Comer.

Looking inward, the streaming giant believed there was a unique opportunity for more perspective in marketing’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) community.

The launch episodes feature Juan Reyes, brand narrative director at Nike, and Alyza Enriquez, a video producer and writer at Vice Media. Interspersed with bespoke musical choices are topics ranging from the personal to the professional. Using Spotify’s annotation (through the Anchor app), Enriquez and Reyes paint vivid and compelling stories about their lives and work.

Enriquez discusses being non-binary and queer, how that informs their process, and how they see themselves in the marketing world and community. They also discuss their Cuban heritage and journey with microdosing of testosterone, a subject that Enriquez covered in great detail in May 2019. Among their words is music from the likes of Bad Bunny, Blood Orange, FKA Twigs, and nods to disco and classic rock with songs from Abba and Fleetwood Mac.

Like Enriquez, Reyes gets personal and shares his journey of discovering and falling in love with hip-hop. His playlist is heavy on the genre, especially Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the late rapper who was a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Like Enriquez, Reyes weaves a seamless and interesting narrative, working in advice and musings on creative philosophy and why it’s essential to dream big.

According to Comer, Enriquez and Reyes were chosen as the first two hosts because of their influence in the creative industry. “One of the goals for this program is to inspire younger creatives who feel like outsiders right now, and less inspired by the state of 2020,” Comer said.

Though starting with creative leaders in the U.S., Comer said that Spotify plans to introduce people from the U.K., Latin America and other regions to get a more global perspective and to hear the differences and similarities of experiences.

The dual meaning of the show’s title is intentional and works on a couple of different levels.

“There’s the obvious connection that people of color are still outsiders in the industry overall,” said Comer. “But there’s also the sense of people using the outside voice to make themselves heard. Instead of a meek, inside voice, we’re tapping into a bolder, uncompromising tone.”

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.