Universal to develop premium original podcasts in partnership with independent publisher Wondery

Universal Music Group (UMG) has today (April 17) announced a partnership with independent podcast publisher Wondery to develop premium original podcasts.

Podcasts produced under the agreement will be available globally on any platform Wondery makes its content available.

The partnership will draw on “the breadth and depth of UMG’s renowned musical catalog as well as its iconic roster of artists and labels,” according to the press release issued by UMG today.

Working with Wondery’s network of storytellers, the podcasts aim to “provide fans and new audiences alike with deeper perspectives on artists, music and events that influence and shape culture,” added the press release.

The podcasts will also become an incubator for UMG’s film and television projects, as well as a platform to reach audiences with content from short and long-form programming from the major’s Polygram Entertainment and its numerous record labels worldwide.

Wondery’s current credits include Dirty John, Dr. Death and Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football, Inc., and is the fastest company to join Podtrac’s Top 10 New Podcasts, holding both the No.1 and No.2 spots in 2018.

UMG has been developing and producing podcasts for local audiences around the world since 2012.

In March last year, renowned investor Alan Patricof branded Wondery as the “ideal bet” when the company raised $5 million in a Series A round, led by Greycroft’s Alan Patricof, Lerer Hippeau, and Advancit Capital.

Other investors in the company include BAM Ventures, Water Tower Ventures, Fox Networks Group, BDMI and industry experts, including Stanley Shuman and Michael Kassan.

Wondery used the proceeds to expand its lineup of original podcasts and grow the audience of existing shows.

Wondery was launched in 2016 by CEO, and widely respected former Fox executive, Hernan Lopez.

Lopez enjoyed an 18-year career at Fox and in 2010 was promoted to President & CEO of Fox International Channels, a $3 billion division overseeing television channels, production houses, and digital assets globally.

“Active Listening is the most exciting sector within the $60 billion global audio industry.”

Hernan Lopez, speaking in March 2018

“Active Listening is the most exciting sector within the $60 billion global audio industry,” said Lopez, speaking in March last year.

“With the backing of some of the most experienced investors in media in the world, we’re looking forward to executing on a plan to become the premier destination for immersive storytelling.”

The global podcast business has truly boomed over the last year, with the likes of Spotify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire three podcasting companies (Gimlet Media, Anchor and Parcast) in the first three months of 2019.

Sirius XM has just made some of its most popular talk shows available as podcasts on Pandora.

Meanwhile in the UK, Blueprint Radio has just launched the UK’s first podcast-led plugging service for artists, Blueprint Pods.Music Business Worldwide

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