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The Clearing

I wrote a preview piece for Vulture last week on The Clearing, a new true crime project by Pineapple Street Media in collaboration with Gimlet Media that’s due to drop on Thursday. The piece focused on the creative hook of the podcast — it’s pretty wild — but what I didn’t get to discuss much there was the context of the collaboration, which I found interesting.

Pineapple Street developed the project with the journalist Josh Dean, who had initially pursued the story as a magazine feature. The independent podcast studio continues to handle the bulk of production and creative responsibilities, while Gimlet mostly plays a role in marketing and distribution, though they gave notes on the project, which is very Hollywood-esque, I guess. Another detail worth flagging: the deal predated Gimlet’s acquisition by Spotify.

Max Linsky, Pineapple Street’s co-founder, also had this to say when I interviewed the team last week:

[The deal] was a really easy, natural thing. The email chain where we hammered things out was four emails long, and it’s worked great. We own the show, Gimlet has some participation in it, and my sense is that it’s worked out well for everybody.

In a larger sense, I think it’s another example of this moment of adolescence for the podcast industry, where you can still run experiments and try stuff out, and the people making decisions generally work everything out on the fly. We haven’t done two of the exact same kinds of deals yet.