Warner Music, Spotify Partner Up for Original Podcasts

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Warner Music Group (WMG) and Spotify have struck a deal to develop original podcasts centered around the record company's artists, songwriters and music catalog, the new partners announced today (April 15).

The podcasts will cover topics like the stories behind hit songs and behind-the-scenes looks at superstar artists from WMG's roster of labels and artists, which includes the likes of Cardi B, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa.

"We’re excited to take this step forward with Spotify as we strengthen and deepen our existing partnership," said WMG executive vp, business development and chief digital officer Oana Ruxandra. "Warner Music Podcasts provide an opportunity to unlock value for artists and songwriters by delivering fresh and unique stories to music to fans across the globe. We look forward to working with Spotify to experiment and drive growth in podcasting."

WMG already produces a slate of podcasts including Duran Duran's WHOOSH!, the official Prince podcast in partnership with the icon's estate, Robert Plant's Digging Deep, the Good Ol Grateful Deadcast and The Rhino Podcasts telling stories of legends like Aretha Franklin and The Doors' John Densmore. Most recently, WMG launched the BLK In America podcast by Topsify, where influential Black artists like Rico Nasty and Chaka Khan discuss what it means to be Black in America.

Spotify, which now values its podcasting arm as much as (if not more than) its music business, is home to more than 2 million podcasts including The Michelle Obama PodcastThe Joe Rogan Experience and the recently-launched Renegades: Born in the USA.

"The most impactful podcasts share with music the key component of storytelling and personal experience," said Spotify vice president of global studios and business Courtney Holt. "We look forward to helping them leverage the power of podcasting to forge a deeper connection with fans."

Warner Music's deal with Spotify is unique among the major record labels, but Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group are gaining a foothold in the podcasting industry, too.

At its first-ever IAB Podcast Upfront presentation in September, Sony announced plans to launch 40 new podcasts over the next year across categories like true crime, politics, current events, music and social and racial justice. In 2019, Universal entered a partnership with podcast company Wondery (which is owned by Spotify as of December), leading to projects like the Taraji P. Henson-hosted Jacked: The Rise of New Jack Swing, and launched a podcast series with FIFA hosted by signee Liam Payne in January.