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Universal Music Group partners with Wondery

The most interesting thing of this development is the fact that it involves one of the major music corporations.

According to the write-up, the partnership will involve the two working together on “audio stories” that could “later be developed into films or TV shows” — in other words, a formal inking of something Wondery has long positioned itself to want to do, perhaps even more so than Gimlet. In case you need the refresher, Wondery’s worked in capacities like this with The Boston Globe (a la Gladiator) and the Los Angeles Times itself (a la the aforementioned Dirty John), though I believe the LA Times has largely taken its podcast production pipeline in-house since the Dirty John days. In any case, the LA Times are still working with Wondery on a project: The Man in the Window, out June.

Anyway, a few thoughts:

  • The most interesting thing, and perhaps the most novel aspect, of this development is the fact that it involves one of the major music corporations. (Though, the article notes that UMG has been “working on podcasts since 2012,” and, I mean, sure, guy.) I imagine music labels are looking at all this podcast stuff, along with all this streaming platforms to do podcast stuff, with some interest, and I expect that we’ll see rival activity from other music giants in the months to come.
  • The obvious analysis point to make here: The Podcast Consumer finding that folks really want Music as a podcast topic + Edison SVP’s Tom Webster long-argued notion that the music-podcast overlap could be super-potent + a podcast company formally working with a music group = $$$. But…. oh I don’t know. The humans, they love music, but they may or may not equally love secondary works about music en masse, and so I’d be interested to see more experiments on that, like this deal, before I fully embrace this equation. I mean, we have music podcasts and music discovery podcasts and music documentary-deconstructionist podcasts out in the open already (they include, but are not limited to: Song Exploder, All Songs Considered, Dissect, NOT 97, Switched on Pop, Mogul, Broken Record, Punch Up The Jam, so on and so forth). I guess what I’m saying is: maybe the whole music-podcast overlap isn’t that obvious of a podcast oilfield as one might naturally think it is.

In any case, podcasts are probably killing music and wasting our time anyway, so who cares?

On a related note… From Deadline: “‘The Horror Of Dolores Roach’ Podcast In Works For TV By Blumhouse & Gimlet.” I imagine this was always the point. What’s also interesting: this is a double-adaptation! (The podcast itself was an adaptation of a play.) Podcast as IP clearing house, y’all.