Spotify spent less than 10% of its $100 million diversity fund

At launch, the company divided the fund between music and podcasting. Teams were organized to pitch ideas, like hosting events for podcasters and musicians, creating new shows and helping with marketing budgets.

Months passed before Spotify hired employees, eight in total, who would ultimately oversee the money—one job listing went live in November. The spokesperson said the company had a dedicated project manager assigned to the fund from the outset. 

The money was designed to be used over three years, according to the people Bloomberg News spoke with, but the streaming service lacked a well-structured, clear system for vetting and approving projects or allocating money. Ideas were pitched but often not accepted. A Spotify spokesperson pointed to the various projects backed by the fund as evidence the system is working and said the fund was designed to last for multiple years, not a specific time frame.

The internal memo stated that the fund’s mission is to amplify the voices and work of primarily Black and LGBTQ creators in the US, UK and Brazil. The spokesperson said the company also funds initiatives outside that remit, like in the Latinx space.

Some of the projects cited in the memo as being backed by the fund, such as a fourth season of the pop culture podcast We Said What We Said, weren’t new to the company.