EXCLUSIVE: LiveXLive Media, a purveyor of live-streamed and on-demand audio, video and podcasts across music, comedy and pop culture, has formed a two-year joint venture with podcast producer Audio Up Media.
Led by CEO Jared Gutstadt, Audio Up is known for titles like true-crime hit Where The Bodies Are Buried, Michael Cohen’s Mea Culpa and Tom Green’s The Tom Green Interview.
LiveXLive, which went public on the Nasdaq in 2017, owns PodcastOne, Slacker Radio and React Presents.
The venture is said to be worth a low-seven-figure sum, according to a source familiar with the terms. It will support the creation of podcast and vodcast properties and help both companies explore TV and film soundtracks and secure music publishing assets.
Podcasting has been booming of late, even though Covid-19 slowed listenership for a time, with commuting and public transportation paused or diminished. The sector’s growth has spawned a raft of M&A deals and Hollywood adaptations of shows, and advertising revenue in the sector is approaching $1 billion a year.
Covered under the deal are LiveXLive’s exclusive distribution and advertising sales rights for existing Audio Up podcasts, as well as co-ownership of planned new podcast shows. The new shows will feature both a variety of different major recording artists as well as original music. Both LiveXLive and Audio Up will be co-funding the joint venture and all revenue generated as part of the deal will be evenly split.
In addition to podcast distribution, LiveXLive will have a second window opportunity to develop these podcasts into film and television properties, and artist album releases.
Gutstadt is a producer, songwriter, inventor and live events director known for creating the Jingle Player, technology controlled by his previous company, Jingle Punks. Gutstadt exited the company in 2019. During his career, he has collaborated with an array of platinum-selling A-listers in the music realm.
Audio Up is focused on a music-first approach to podcasting by creating a new form of music discovery with a slate of scripted musicals. “The long term value of the underlying story IP and ancillary music rights is a long term bet we are placing across the media space,” Gutstadt said. “We are happy that LiveXLive shares our vision that one of these will become the next Empire or A Star is Born.”
As part of the deal, LiveXLive Music Publishing will team with Audio Up on the development and distribution on all forthcoming projects, and will co-own all new music created by the venture.
“Jared is a rock star and Audio Up is a fast mover,” said Norm Pattiz, PodcastOne’s founder and chairman. Citing an Edison Research study about podcast “Super Listeners,” he continued, “What Super Listeners want is great, creative content focused on artists, music and events that fill their ever-expanding hunger for on-demand podcasts. We know what works in podcasting. This partnership with Jared and Audio Up works!”
The goal of the team-up, Gutstadt said, “is to create events where music from the podcast musicals are performed as one-off events brought to you by our array of sponsors.”