Sony Music Entertainment has announced another podcasting venture today, this time in the shape of a partnership with UK audio company Somethin’ Else. This continues the recent run of Sony investments in audio — previous examples include Jonathan Hirsch’s Neon Hum Media, Adam Davidson-Laura Mayer’s ThreeUncannyFour and Renay Richardson’s Broccoli Content.
Somethin’ Else is a slightly different proposition compared to the previous companies Sony has announced work with, however, in that it is a long-established independent media production house. (Neon Hum, Broccoli Content, and ThreeUncannyFour are all new firms.) It was founded back in 1991 and has long been a major supplier of radio shows to the BBC, as well as making numerous TV shows and branded content. Podcasting has been a more recent development as the UK audio market has grown, and so far their output has had a focus on celebrity driven shows such as David Tennant Does A Podcast With… and How Did We Get Here? with Claudia Winkleman. Their shows have had partners across the industry, including Spotify, Netflix and Audible.
I don’t think there can be any doubt now that Sony is using this joint venture strategy to take up a serious position in the podcast industry. That a couple of their investments so far are based in the UK feels significant for the market over here, but overall it’s notable that a music conglomerate is choosing to back so many non-music related audio ventures. It’s a fascinating dimension to the growing corporate involvement in podcasting beyond the Apple vs Spotify narrative.