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Spotify Is Making International Music A Bigger Priority
We live in a digitally connected world and our music should be as eclectic and available as what we're craving for lunch—whether it be Mexican, Italian or Chinese—Spotify argues. The streaming company's latest initiative is to not only spotlight more international artists on the platform, but to advance and promote more culturally diverse music, including music from the Arab, African, Indian and Latino diasporas.
— Spotify (@Spotify) September 28, 2018
The initiative emphasizes the people who live outside their homelands and continue to consume music from their culture. The Global Cultures initiative will feature expert-curated playlists with popular songs, new and old, from diasporic communities around the globe, beginning with some of the biggest diasporas around the world: Latino, Arab, African and Indian. Listeners can currently find the "LatinX" and "Desi" music "hubs" on Spotify. The Arab and African sections are coming soon.
"We have launched numerous high-profile playlists and programs in the recent past, but Global Cultures is poised to become one of the most important things we are doing as a leader in the field of streaming audio," said Spotify's Head of Global Cultures Rocio Guerrero in a blog post on the company's site.
While you can already browse artists from foreign countries on the streaming platform—as long as they have a profile—Guerrero, who is from Spain, wants to bring more attention to international music to the highly English-language, "American made" saturated top-ranked hits in the U.S.
Spotify is on to something. According to YouGov, an internet-based marking research and data analytics company, about half of Americans listen to music outside of the English language, with 52 percent of people saying that the music they listen to has lyrics in Spanish in it. At a global scale, Spotify states that 1 in 4 Spotify users around the world actively listen to an artist from outside their culture or country.
"Diaspora people have different political views, different hobbies, different mindsets that come out in their music," Guerrero said. "But they're still connected to their communities. People are becoming more and more proud of their origins, and I think music might be one of the best ways to help them express that."
FAKE LOVE- BTS
One of the best current examples of music breaking barriers regardless of language in and out of diasporas is K-pop's BTS. The South Korean band outlined how they feel when American audiences know the lyrics to every word of their songs during their visit to the GRAMMY Museum.
"We have a lot of foreign artists, American pop stars, coming to Korea, and Korean audiences will sing along, but it's very hard for them to sing along with all the lyrics and all the songs," BTS' Jungkook said. "So, when I see American audiences singing along to all of our songs, all of our lyrics, we can feel that they try really hard to learn our music, learn our lyrics, and we feel really thankful."
BTS is featured in Spotify's Global X playlist, which they have launched with the initiative. The playlist features international, multicultural crossovers and can be found under the pop category. Guerrero defined a crossover as "a mix of different genres, a mix of languages, or it could be a song like 'Despacito Remix' that crosses over to the rest of the world." Along with the playlist, is a vertical video for "Taki Taki," featuring Selena Gomez, Cardi B, Ozuna and DJ Snake.
Other than BTS, the playlist currently also features Luis Fonsi, Becky G and Iranian-Danish rapper Sivas. Artists like these contribute to a "multicultural array set to inspire listeners around the world," the company wrote. The playlist will be regularly updated to expose listeners to new music overtime.
Stream the Global X playlist here: