THE NINE MUSES FESTIVAL STORY

Celebrating International Women’s Day is a must for us at Spotify, just as it is for many other like-minded organisations. If we want to create an inclusive environment and ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging, these key dates must be on our agenda. And to make a real difference we need to find the places we can have an impact. In recent years, we'd spotted a gap in one of our own domains: there's not enough light shone on the circumstances for women in creative arts and media. This seemed like the place that we should focus our efforts, not only because we could make a difference here, but also as a key player in the media and creative arts industry, we have a responsibility.

When thinking through how we could go about this, we referred back to when Spotify was part of founding the much needed Swedish Women In Tech conference (the largest one in the Nordics) in 2014. We decided to do something similar for innovative women in all other professions in our business spectrum.

Women in the creative arts have a direct and lasting impact on culture and society. Throughout history, some of the world's greatest talents often refer to muses as their inspiration, and it’s no coincidence the muses are generally women. The flash behind the idea, the lyrics behind the melody, the view behind the picture...women have, throughout time, inspired and influenced the world in which we live.  We should be celebrating that!

Coinciding with this building energy and enthusiasm to start a movement we learned that Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, which includes Zohra (Afghanistan's first all-female orchestra, consisting of female musicians between the ages of 12-19), were the laureates at 2018's Polar Music Prize. We were inspired to help Polar Music Prize to bring Zohra to Sweden to play by including them in the inaugural Nine Muses Festival. A way that we could start our movement, and really make a difference.

Dr Ahmad Sarmast was interviewed on stage at the festival (watch it here) and the event funded flights for all of Zohra so that they could perform live in Sweden during the evening.  They were astounding.

That got us thinking more about the movement in general. Sparking this movement is not something one person or company can do, so we stepped out to find other like-minded companies and organisations within this arena, to join the Nine Muses Festival movement. In 2019 we were so happy to team up with Discovery, Kinnevik and MTG as paying partners and to accept help and support from Polar Music Prize, The Moth, and Google.

And now looking to the future, we can't wait to see how we can partner with others and continue to build on an event, a brand and most importantly and impactful movement that celebrates women in media and the creative arts.