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Spotify Announces Return of 'Sound Up' Podcast Accelerator for Women of Color

Spotify
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The logo of the music streaming service Spotify is displayed on a smartphone on April 20, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. 

Ten applicants will be chosen for the week-long intensive in New York City.

Spotify has announced Sound Up -- a five-day accelerator program designed to educate and support women of color in developing podcasts, from idea to pilot production -- will return to New York City this summer.

Now in its second consecutive year, Spotify will select 10 women for the program, which will culminate in participants pitching podcast concepts to a panel of industry experts. Those experts will then select three winners, each of whom will receive a $10,000 prize to produce up to five episodes of their series. Notably, the participants will retain the intellectual property rghts to their podcasts and are not required to distribute them on Spotify.

Spotify is now accepting applications for this year's program, which is slated to run Aug. 12-17. No prior experience in podcasting is required to participate, and applicants can be from any country. The deadline for entries is midnight EST on June 21.

Last year’s program, which had over 18,000 applicants, crowned three winners: Titi Shodiya, with the science and pop-culture podcast Dope Labs; Janina Jeff with In Those Genes, focusing on genetics and the black community; and Kristina Ogilvie, with the interview podcast Your Job Seems Easy. Dope Labs debuted in February on Spotify and other podcasting platforms.

The Sound Up initiative is just one element of Spotify’s aggressive push into podcasting as of late, which includes the acquisition of Gimlet Media and Anchor, a podcast creation and hosting platform, for nearly $340 million combined, earler this year. On Thursday, the company announced it has reached an exclusive multi-year partnership with former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company to produce podcasts for the streaming service.

In addition to the U.S., Spotify has also held Sound Up intensives in Australia, Brazil, and the U.K.