By Jackson Moran ’21
Music streaming service Spotify recently launched the non-partisan “Play Your Part” initiative with the hopes of informing and engaging listeners with regards to voting in the upcoming election.
As more and more corporations have sought to create voter-centric initiatives, Spotify has jumped into the fray by targeting younger, often first-time voters through the use of outreach campaigns.
One of the main tactics the platform is using to spread the word about voting this year is through their artist community.
They have recruited the likes of Conan Grey, Alaina Castillo and many artists to engage their young listeners in democracy-promoting activities.
Many platform users, as well as those using Apple Music, have noticed “Vote” stickers on the bottom corners of the album cover art.
The artists whose albums showcase vote stickers are often rock records, such as The Doors, The Grateful Dead and Foreigner.
Diego Acevedo-Garcia ’21, a Spotify artist who goes by the name “Guac,” has been working with voter encouragement initiative Aliento AZ which is also working to promote young people voting.
Aliento, which is led by young people, many of whom are undocumented immigrants or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, launched the Aliento Votes campaign which focuses on immigration issues and the ballot.
“In the 2016 election, less than 50% of young, eligible voters went out to vote,” Acevedo said, adding that he’s called hundreds of people so far.
The issue of voting is very personal to Acevedo, who is not a U.S. citizen and therefore cannot vote.
“I’m doing the next best thing which is getting others to go and get their voices heard and to use their voting privileges and rights,” he said.
In that same vein, Spotify is hoping “to showcase the importance of voting and provide resources to guide listeners through the election process,” they said in a press release, “This campaign is about making your voice heard.”
As an artist, Acevedo said he thinks what Spotify is doing is good and that it is very impactful when big corporations do their part in engaging democratic participation.
Acevedo noted that hearing artists who many people look up to promote voting is very impactful—and that is something that Spotify has been trying to emphasize.
“We partnered with some favorite artists and influencers of our listeners who are voting for the first time to curate new playlists that will keep you entertained throughout the entire process,” their press release reads.
This comes along with other voting centric playlists that Spotify is curating, as well as promotion of podcasts “featuring content about civic engagement and encouraging their listeners to get registered and vote.”
Even smaller artists such as Acevedo have been able to get involved with promoting the vote among their listeners.
“On my Spotify artist’s account I will log in and they will tell me to remind my listeners to vote,” he said.
He added that they are also giving him a comparison scale showing the impact that his listener base can have relative to a town or city, likely as an incentive to artists to engage their listeners.
“Some people don’t think their vote matters but what I’ve learned is that young voters are very powerful and can make a big change,” Acevedo said. He added that seeing Spotify using their position to promote civic engagement makes him “proud to be a small part of this big community.”