EXCLUSIVE: Gunpowder & Sky, co-founded and run by former MTV chief Van Toffler, is laying down more tracks in the music podcast space with a pair of documentary series for Audible.
The company is launching Lighters in the Sky, a series about epic concerts, and Shelved, about lost albums for the Amazon-owned audio service.
It comes after the studio signed a multi-project development and production deal last year that has seen it produce a number of projects for Audible’s Words + Music franchise including with artists such as Smokey Robinson, Alanis Morissette, St. Vincent and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
Lighters in the Sky comes from author Corbin Reiff, who wrote Total F*cking Godhead: The Biography of Chris Cornell and it is based on his book Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016.
The series is a deep dive through decades of epic gigs, often including interviews with the participants. It will reveal lost details about what it was like on the stage and in the venue with cultural context and backstage drama.
Shelved, which Gunpowder & Sky is producing in association with Bryn Mooser’s non-fiction studio XTR, was created by Tom Maxwell, a journalist and member of the band Squirrel Nut Zippers and his partner Brookyln Maxwell.
It is an investigative podcast series that will examine songs and albums that, for one reason or another, were shelved. The podcast will explore unlikely collaborations, off-brand outbursts, and other recordings deemed too odd or ahead of their time, while uncovering the deeper stories of ego, deceit, death, and the strange intersection of art and commerce. Why were these works put on the backburner? And if the material did finally see the light of day, what was the consequent reception? The series will also delve into the current events of each time period and how the story of each recording mirrored the political, social, and economic climate of the country.
Shelved is based on Maxwell’s article series by the same title, originally published on Longreads.
It is Gunpowder & Sky’s latest foray into podcasting. The company’s sci-fi label Dust has produced three seasons of an eponymous podcast with the latest season starring and exec produced by Corey Hawkins and featuring Toni Collette.
The firm produces series such as YouTube’s Released, which has featured artists including Blackpink, Miley Cyrus and Paul McCartney, co-produced Hulu’s 69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez and is making a documentary about Jim Morrison.
“Between Lighters in the Sky, Shelved, and our productions in the Audible Words + Music franchise, we have something for every music lover to sink their teeth into,” said Van Toffler, CEO, Gunpowder & Sky. “We’re stoked to yet again, join forces with the incredible Audible team to help us reach millions of ears and shine a light on some of the most groundbreaking and influential artists, iconic moments and untold stories in music history.”
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