Recording artist The Weeknd and indie music label Reservoir Media are among the new investors in Audio Up, which has just raised $12 million as part of its Series B funding round. The podcast studio has also added a series of high profile names to its board of directors as founder Jared Gutstadt says they remain focused on building stories that can be translated across a variety of media outlets.
“Our mission is to transform the podcast space and make it a breeding ground for best-in class-IP,” said Gutstadt. “In success, we hope to be a mixed sandbox for the world of streamers; creating the music, TV and film formats of the future. I see podcasts the same way people looked at comic books prior to them becoming tent pole entertainment in the world of Hollywood.”
The new investors also include a “who’s who” of the entertainment and advertising industries beyond The Weeknd and Reservoir Media, including music executive Wassim “Sal” Slaiby; music manager Larry Rudolph; FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trin; Draft FCB founder and Peloton board member Howard Draft; venture capitalist Jordan Levy; and Sacha Robles.
“Audio Up’s brilliant marriage of music and podcasts has changed the landscape of audio entertainment,” said Reservoir Media CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi. “There is enormous growth opportunity in the business of listenership and we are proud to be partnering with Jared and the team to bring creative musical and storytelling experiences to the masses.”
In addition to the new investors, Audio Up has also added several high profile names to its board which now includes new investor Howard Draft, SiriusXM SVP of Business Affairs and Programming Operations Andrew Moss; MGM President of Television Operations Brian Edwards; Primary Wave Music Publishing President Justin Shukat; and eOne CEO Darren Throop as well as Gutstadt, and Audio Up COO Philip Alberstat.
SiriusXM announced this week it was an investor in Audio Up as part of its new alliance with the studio. 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.
“Our growing array of titles & music are a unique media mix timed perfectly for what will be a seismic media shift the likes we have not seen in our lifetime,” said Gutstadt in a statement. “The rise of digital audio in smart homes, smart cars and smart environments of the future is coming and we plan on filling those pipes with bold, innovative content.”
Audio Up was established in 2020 by Gutstadt, creator of the Jingle Punks creative music agency. Gutstadt told Podcast News Daily in July he still believed they were 18 to 24 months from becoming part of a larger organization.