Sawtik was launched following research that highlighted the major underrepresentation of Arab female artists across the region’s music scene. The world’s largest audio streaming service has announced the initiative Sawtik, meaning “your voice”, in order to provide up-and-coming female artists with education, networking opportunities, and marketing support to help them establish a successful career.
There are already 16 exceptional rising talents, like UAE-based artist Almas, that have joined Sawtik’s launch from nine countries across the region including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon. Each artist will work closely with the mentor, Tunisian singer Latifa, who will help nurture and endorse their future careers.
“Female Arab artists continue to fight stereotypes and other barriers in the pursuit of their musical passions, and the research from Spotify confirms this,” said Latifa. “My journey hasn’t happened without its challenges and while I enjoy a successful career, there are many others still waiting for the right opportunity to shine. With Sawtik, female artists have a powerful platform to showcase their talent and connect with audiences who will love their music across all genres. I am excited to extend my support to these artists and help them see a real lift in their careers,” she added.
Prior to Sawtik’s launch, Spotify’s research looked into the challenges female musicians in the region face, showed that only 13% of artists signed by MENA-based labels in the last five years are female. The study highlighted the stigma and stereotyping that women face in the music industry; with 60% of rising female talent stating they felt stigmatized for pursuing a career in music, and one in two females being advised against it. It was also found that many female artists have never recorded music resulting in their only exposure and source of income coming from live performances. This was further proved when around half of the music listeners interviewed said they do not listen to non-mainstream female artists because they have not heard of any, and find the industry in the Middle East heavily male-dominated.
“While Arabic music continues to thrive in the region and around the world, female artists continue to be underrepresented,” said Claudius Boller, Managing Director for MENA at Spotify. “Sawtik is one of the many ways we are looking to amplify the voices of emerging female artists across the Middle East and North Africa and use Spotify’s global reach to further their careers. We are only beginning this journey, and with Latifa joining Sawtik as the initiative’s first godmother, the artists will have an extraordinary mentor who will provide guidance and knowledge.”
Voices of the 16 artists already part of the program can be heard on Spotify’s dedicated Sawtik playlist.