Since its launch last year, Audio Up has worked with a variety of partners and distributors as it released several series, most with a theme built around music. Now the company created by Jared Gutstadt has struck a deal that will give it a closer alliance with SiriusXM and its owned platforms including Stitcher and Pandora.
Under their deal, SiriusXM will have an exclusive “first look” at all of Audio Up’s new original podcast concepts, with accompanying options for exclusive distribution across SiriusXM properties, as well as exclusive rights to manage and sell advertising inventory and sponsorship in connection with any podcast produced for SiriusXM through its SXM Media combined sales organization.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed although in the joint announcement Audio Up announced that it had completed a $12 million fundraising effort with the current round led by SiriusXM. Andrew Moss, SiriusXM's Senior VP of Business Affairs and Programming Operations has also joined the board of directors at Audio Up.
"Podcasts have only scratched the surface of their potential as a powerful driver for discovery, and an entertainment medium with virtually no creative boundaries," said Gutstadt. "With the vast reach and wide diversity of listeners that SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher together represent, we not only have a massive new multi-platform outlet for our original programming, but in SiriusXM we have a creative ally who shares our ambitions to keep pushing podcasting forward."
SirisuXM says its owned audio platforms will collaborate with Audio Up to develop new audio entertainment concepts and forge new promotional and distribution synergies across SiriusXM properties. Audio Up is expected to be an additional creative driver for SiriusXM in connecting artists, labels, brands, and creators of all types in developing new audio entertainment programming across SiriusXM channels, and exploring new possibilities for original scripted podcasts and branded audio content opportunities for advertisers.
"Whether it's inventing a new breed of boundary-breaking original podcasts or developing innovative audio concepts that let brands and creators connect with listeners in new ways, Jared and Audio Up have become the place where talent meets technology," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Creative Officer of SiriusXM."Audio Up is known for creating podcasts that combine music, entertainment, and rich storytelling to create bold new listening experiences, and we're thrilled to welcome them to our extended SiriusXM family."
The alliance will come into full focus with the forthcoming Audio Up original podcast series The Playboy Interview. It will feature reenactments of some of the most iconic Playboy Interview conversations in history, featuring Taye Diggs as Muhammad Ali, Rosanna Arquette as Betty Friedan, Gina Gershon as Oriana Fallaci, among others. A variety of podcasts from Audio Up's back catalog will also be re-presented across the SXM App, Pandora, and Stitcher, including Halloween in Hill, The Ballad of Uncle Drunk, Bedtime Stories of the Ingleside Inn, and Make It Up as We Go, among others. SiriusXM reps say they are not sure yet whether the shows will be exclusive to their own apps, or be widely available.
Audio Up was established in 2020 by Gutstadt, creator of the Jingle Punks creative music agency. Gutstadt told Podcast News Daily in July that he believed by working as a “rogue agent” and partnering with several different companies it would allow him to figure out where the “sweet spot” for Audio Up would be. At the time Gutstadt said he still believed they were 18 to 24 months from becoming part of a larger organization. The deal with SiriusXM however brings it a lot closer to that.
The Amazon-owned movie studio MGM is one of Audio Up’s other investors and it has a first-look deal to developing the podcast IP into film and television projects.