Spotify has announced that it's launching a Free and Open Source Software Fund to support independent open source projects. The company says the purpose of the fund is to bring attention to independent open source projects and give back to developers. The new fund will start at €100,000. Spotify's open source tech lead Per Ploug said in a blog post that "this is just a starting amount" and that as with any new program, the company wants to test it before deploying it more broadly.
The company will donate the money to different open source projects over the course of the year. The funds will provide financial support to developers and help them maintain their projects, including fixing security vulnerabilities. Spotify will target projects that are independent and actively maintained. The company also noted that nominations are informed by dependency data across its repositories. Projects selected for the fund also cannot be run by people employed at Spotify.
"Spotify uses open source software to power the best audio experience for creators and listeners around the world," the company said in a blog post. "In fact, we are like many other tech companies who rely on open source. And yet, open source developers often make these projects available for us to use without any compensation. That is why today we are announcing the Spotify FOSS Fund, with the purpose of donating money and bringing attention to independent open source projects. These projects support and enable our engineering teams to do their best work, and we want to recognize that."
The company's internal R&D team, including engineers, data scientists, researchers and more, will nominate projects that they think deserve support. Spotify's fund committee will then select projects from eligible nominees. The recipients of the fund will be announced in May.
Spotify says that it has open sourced more than 200 tools to the public over the past decade, but that it's time for it to "do more." The company says that the new fund will have a direct impact on the sustainability of specific open source projects, but that in order to create a fully sustainable ecosystem, there needs to be more solutions. To further this effort, Spotify says that it has joined the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to support open source security initiatives.
The announcement comes as Spotify recently closed down its Greenroom Creator Fund. In an email sent to creators who had applied to the fund, Spotify informed applicants the creator fund “will not be moving forward.” The email further explained that Spotify plans to “shift toward other initiatives for live creators” instead. It also hinted that the company would introduce other new monetization options for live content creators in the future.