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Spotify's new ‘Amplify’ hub to highlight issues like gender equality, immigration, and LGBTQ rights

Sarah Perez

Spotify announced this morning the launch of a new in-app destination called Amplify, initially available in the U.S. and Canada, that will feature voices from various communities that focus on key topics like gender equality, mental health and self-care, LGBTQ rights and immigration, among other things. News of the new hub was delivered on Thursday, to coincide with International's Women's Day 2018, but Amplify will be a year-round feature within the music streaming app, the company says.

Amplify is kicking things off with a celebration of women's voices for March, Women's History Month in the U.S.

The Amplify Women selection offered starting today will feature a range of podcasts and playlists that represent various women's views, and will offer a dedicated "Amplify: Women of the World" playlist that's updated on a weekly basis. The playlist during the month of March will include artists like as Raisa x Isyana from Indonesia, Saara Aalto from Finland, and Fatouma Diawara from Mali, and more.

As of this morning, the hub includes a variety of other playlists by genre, as well, like Women of Hip Hop, of Indie, of Folk, of Rock, etc. It also offers a small of influential women of music, seemingly trending towards what people are streaming now, rather than some larger editorial selection of all-time greats. The list includes names like Taylor Swift, Sia, Selena Gomez, Adele, Jennifer Lopez, Fifth Harmony, and others.

Meanwhile, a "Movements on the Rise" selection offers themed playlists, like Latin Divas, Fierce Femmes, and Electric Grit, to name a few.

Overall, the hub feels like a nice start - a nod towards celebrating women in music - but it would be nice to see it expanded to go deeper over time, in order to become a true resource.

The Women's hub is fairly nonpolitical, with everything from Christian music to Rock to Hip Hop to Electronic to Blues and more, all under its roof. But Amplify's upcoming topics - hot button issues like immigration and mental health care (a big one, post-Parkland), for example - seem to indicate Spotify could take a more political position going forward.

That's worth noting, given music's power to influence culture, stir sentiment, and drive home a political message; it's also notable because Spotify is heavily used by younger people, who have the ability to significantly impact the direction of U.S. politics, when they decide to show up at the polls. It should be interesting, then, to see what sort of musical selections (and podcasts, perhaps) Spotify picks up for its upcoming hubs. Will it continue to offer an inoffensive selection of voices and sounds, or will it feature music that has more of a message?

It wouldn't be surprising if it was the latter. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's letter to investors in the company's IPO filing, had a somewhat political lean - it spoke of a global worldview - something that stands in contrast to the current isolationist climate - where "artists cross genres and cultural boundaries, creating ideas that propel society forward" and where "we're all part of a global network, building new connections, sharing new ideas, across cultures."

In addition to Amplify, Spotify's Latin Hub, Viva Latino, will also feature Latin women's voices throughout the month of March, as part of the Women of Latin initiative on International Women's Day.

This selection will include a video interview with Demi Lovato in the studio recording a Spanish version of “Tell Me You Love Me,” where she discusses topics like gender equality, her confidence as a woman, and more, says Spotify. It will also include a Viva Latino podcast episode featuring Becky G, a new pop-up shelf of playlists called ¡Viva Latinas!, and a special edition of its Latin Divas playlist.