Two veterans of public radio and podcasting, Adam Davidson and Laura Mayer, have formed a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment that’s designed to find and develop original podcast talent and programming. Davidson and Mayer will lead the yet-to-be-named Brooklyn, NY-based company that looks to leverage Sony Music’s existing capabilities in audio production, marketing, sales and distribution, and data and analytics.
“We want to enhance opportunities for talented storytellers in this rapidly evolving audio entertainment segment,” said Rob Stringer, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment in the announcement. “This partnership will help creators grow their brands and share their work with global audiences across a variety of services and platforms.” Davidson and Mayer each reportedly own 25% of the venture with Sony Music holding a 50% stake.
Davidson is best known for his work in front of the microphone. He was the co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money” and an award-winning contributor to “This American Life.” He earlier was the international business and economics correspondent for NPR.
Davidson served as a technical consultant to co-writer and director Adam McKay on the Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short.” Davidson and McKay also previously served as co-hosts of the Gimlet Media podcast Surprisingly Awesome.
Mayer is a podcast and public radio producer. Most recently, she was the Executive Producer for Show Development at Stitcher where she was responsible for the development, production and launch of new podcasts for the company’s comedy-focused Earwolf network and Stitcher label. Mayer earlier was at the podcast network Panoply Media where she served as the Managing Producer for all podcast production and launched dozens of shows. Mayer started her career in radio as a producer across multiple shows at WNYC/New York Public Radio.
“It is a thrilling time to be in podcasting with major media and tech companies paying increasing attention to the industry as it quickly grows,” said Davidson and Mayer in a joint statement. “Sony Music so impressed us with their focus on supporting artists and the creative process. They understand what it takes to attract the best people and create the conditions where they can do their best work.”
Sony Music isn’t the first record label to branch out into podcasting. Universal Music Group last month struck a development deal with podcast creator Wondery. The two companies will jointly develop and produce podcasts that draw on UMG’s music catalog as well as its roster of artists and labels. UMG notes it has been producing podcasts since 2012.
“The new podcasts will serve as an extension of the compelling narratives and content that UMG is already creating around its artists, labels and catalog,” the record company said in a statement. UMG also said the podcasts will become an “incubator” for the music company’s growing slate of film and television projects, as well as a platform to reach audiences with content from short and long-form programming from the company’s Polygram Entertainment division that was launched in 2017 to produce film and TV programs.