Paris-born Nigerian singer, Asa, was recently announced the Spotify EQUAL Global Music Programme ambassador for the month of February.
In April 2021, months after it expanded to 38 African countries, Spotify launched the Spotify EQUAL Music Programme in commemoration of International Women’s Day. According to Spotify, the programme—which consists of highlighted playlists created and marketed by Spotify—was launched to highlight women creators on its platform and work towards equity for women in the audio industry.
Globally, charts are often dominated by male performers. From 2017 to 2019, for example, Hypebot reports that only 21% of performers on Billboard’s Hot 100 were women. Apple Music and Spotify, during the same period, had even less, with female performers representing only 19% of charts. In 2018, at Spotify’s 10th-year anniversary, only 2 women—Rihanna and Ariana Grande—made the 10-year streaming charts. Critics have also commented on how the most visible and high-ranking playlists on Spotify are male-dominated. More recently, Spotify itself funded research that showed only 1 in 5 artistes on the charts are women. This research helped fuel the drive for its EQUAL Global Music Programme.
Since its launch, the programme has curated 17 playlists featuring female artistes all over the globe. The EQUAL Africa playlist—which has over 70,000 likes— has 50 songs from female artistes from all over the continent. This includes songs from Ghana-born singer, Gyakie, who has had over 13.5 million streams on Spotify, Nigeria’s Ayra Starr who recently hit 1 million streams on the platform, Zambia’s Titose, Morocco’s Rhita Nattah, and Botswana’s Sebina.
Asa, who has over 375,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, is the latest on the list. Her recently released track, Mayana, will lead the EQUAL Africa playlist and also feature on the EQUAL Global playlist. Mayana already has over 560,000 streams on Spotify, and the addition to EQUAL playlists will boost it further.
Speaking about her selection, the singer said, “I’m honoured to be the Spotify EQUAL ambassador of the month. It’s great to be part of something like this—a movement that’s new yet has always been. It’s beautiful when we are celebrated and recognised for contributions to music and art over the years. In the lead-up to the release of my album ‘V’, this is awesome.”