Sony Music Entertainment (SME) is taking podcasts seriously.
In September last year, the company confirmed it would be launching nearly 40 new podcast shows across 2020, having previously struck deals with podcast producers including Neon Hum, Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries, and Renay Richardson’s Broccoli Content.
Sony Music was also reportedly in the running to acquire US-based podcast maker Wondery, which was eventually sold to Amazon in a $300 million-plus deal late last year.
Today (June 16), Sony Music made a major podcast acquisition of its own. The firm has fully acquired Somethin’ Else, a UK-based producer of audio, TV and social media content, building on an existing SME partnership announced in early 2020.
Subsequent to the Somethin’ Else acquisition, Sony Music says it is creating a “newly-expanded global podcast division”.
Somethin’ Else Chief Content Officer and Vice Chairman Steve Ackerman and Somethin’ Else founder, Executive Chairman and CEO Jez Nelson will jointly spearhead SME’s global podcast content and business development strategy.
Ackerman will become Executive Vice President, Co-Head Global Podcasts, overseeing operations in New York, while Nelson will run the division’s UK-based podcast operations as Executive Vice President, Co-Head Global Podcasts.
Both will report directly to SME’s Dennis Kooker, President, Global Digital Business and U.S. Sales and Tom Mackay, President, Premium Content A&R.
“Our new global podcast division is key to our plans for a fast-paced expansion in the market, diversifying our creative abilities and providing a home for exciting content that will benefit millions of podcast-lovers around the world.”
Dennis Kooker, Sony Music
Sony didn’t disclose the price it paid for Somethin’ Else, but did note that the firm is “the UK’s largest independent podcast and audio producer” as well as “the BBC’s biggest independent producer of programmes, covering a variety of music genres and flagship speech shows for the broadcaster”.
Outside of podcasts, Somethin’ Else’s TV and social media business will now become an extension of SME UK’s 4th Floor Creative division.
“Expanding our relationship with Somethin’ Else brings their best-in-class capabilities and production expertise fully into the Sony Music family,” said Dennis Kooker. “Our new global podcast division is key to our plans for a fast-paced expansion in the market, diversifying our creative abilities and providing a home for exciting content that will benefit millions of podcast-lovers around the world.”
Tom Mackay added: “Having collaborated with Somethin’ Else on a number of hit podcasts, we know how impactful their work has been on shaping the marketplace.
“Under Steve and Jez’s leadership, we can now provide a range of expanded collaboration opportunities for the podcast community globally and focus on growing a robust slate of new in-house projects.”
Ackerman and Nelson said in a statement: “We’re delighted to be joining Sony Music at what feels like a critical moment in the growth and acceleration of the global podcast industry. Somethin’ Else is known as the leading premium podcasting production company in the UK and our ambition is to harness that drive and creativity to make Sony Music a global market leader.
“Sony Music is renowned for always putting the artists first in everything they do, and we’ve seen that culture fully embedded in their podcast offering too. That global expertise, artist first culture, and ability to cut through the noise has huge appeal to podcasting talent and we look forward to harnessing that in this new chapter of our business.”
SME and Somethin’ Else have collaborated on several hit podcasts since January 2020, including David Tennant Does A Podcast With…, Power: The Maxwells, The Fault Line: Bush, Blair & Iraq and their newest release Cheat!. Music Business Worldwide