At this year's South By Southwest, Spotify laid down its biggest footprint to date, upgrading from a stage literally tacked on to a house to a proper beast of a venue that could accommodate the metaphorical size of Willie Nelson and the literal size of The Kills' Ginsu-knife blues. Obviously a production that size required a lot of equipment, which Kerry Steib, the company's director of social impact, immediately put to good use.
Steib reached out to Mindpop, a local non-profit that seeks out opportunities to "expand creative learning" in the city and which in turn pointed her to the Austin Independent School District and Kealing Middle School, where Spotify would soon be facilitating the construction of a recording studio from the remnants of the Spotify House (which, Steib points out, falls into Kealing's district). Mindpop and Steib piggybacked on a music production program the school has been running for some time.
"For us it's: "How can we make the local Austin community a part of SXSW?' The community is often not a part of it," Steib tells Billboard, "especially when you're talking about young people in areas like East Austin, where there's not a lot of access."