Last year YouTube announced the Black Voices Fund as an initiative to help emerging Black artists on the platform commercialise their work. The initiative is back this year as applications for the Class of 2022 open later this month on 21st June.
“YouTube Music is deepening investments in Black communities by opening applications to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022, aimed at enabling Black artists to commercialise their work,” explains a press release sent to Hypertext.
“Eligibility has been expanded to include songwriters and producers, allowing Black artists residing in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada and the UK, in addition to the U.S., Brazil and Australia, to apply,” it adds.
Along with renewing the initiative, YouTube has also announced a partnership with new partnership with music education institution, 1500 Sound Academy, where the company will fund 10 full ride scholarships for the Academy’s Live Online 1500 Music & Industry Fundamentals programme.
“The YouTube Music team is excited to expand the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and create new opportunities while also reflecting on the progress made to date. The six-month scholarship term will see recipients undertake courses in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business and much more,” highlights says Alex Okosi, YouTube’s EMEA MD for emerging markets.
If you needed any further incentive to apply for the initiative, YouTube has provided some numbers on the 2021 class:
- “From January 2021 through April 2021, the class collectively received 1.4B views on their official artist channels
- Six artists saw over 50% growth in official artist channel subscribers (Joy Oladokun, Miiesha, BRS Kash, Jensen McRae, serpentwithfeet, and Yung Baby Tate)
- Four artists saw 200% growth on their official artist channel views (serpentwithfeet, Jensen McRae, Yung Baby Tate, and Joy Oladokun)
- As part of YouTube Music’s Africa Month celebration, Sho Madjozi, Sauti Sol, and Fireboy DML, hosted exclusive live stream virtual concerts on each of their Official Artist Channels
- Rexx Life Raj, Joy Oladokun, and Tkay Maidza performed at YouTube’s annual Brandcast event.”
Closer to the 21st June application opening date, YouTube will be sharing details on how Black artists can apply.
In the interim, watch some of the highlights from the inaugural 2021 class in the video below.