Spotify’s Austin Daboh says playlists need more diversity


Should some of Spotify’s big playlists be more diverse in terms of the artists featured on them? Yes… says Spotify’s head of music, culture and editorial in the UK, Austin Daboh. He was talking at radio DJ Annie Mac’s London conference on Friday about diversity.

“I think it starts from the team. On my team you have different religions, different races, different sexualities, different genders. We have quite a good split across the company in the UK,” said Daboh, according to the Irish Independent. “But there are some deep-seated issues from genre to genre that need to be looked at. If you look at Hot Hits UK, which is our big pop flagship playlist, you have a good mix of gender. If you look at our hip hop playlists there’s a lack of diversity and that’s not because the editors are omitting female artists. There actually aren’t that many female artists uploading their music to begin with.”

Daboh suggested that Spotify needs to “take a step back” and explore ways to work with different communities on the issue. “We over programme females and ethnic minorities. If you look at the graph of organic consumption and you compare it to how we programme them we over index them by about 10%,” he said. “But it’s not enough. We could be doing more.”

Meanwhile, in the US Spotify has unveiled a new podcast, ‘Noisemakers’, in partnership with the campaigning organisation Time’s Up. It’ll focus on harassment, gender inequality and pay inequity in the workplace, through a series of interviews.

Stuart Dredge

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