Universal Music Group and Wondery have established a new agreement to develop premium original podcast content.

Podcasts produced under the new agreement will be available globally on any platform where Wondery content is available. Universal says the new podcasts will draw on the breadth and depth of UMG’s music catalog.  Its considerable roster of artists and labels may also be featured in the new content.

Wondery has produced shows like Dirty John, Dr. Death, Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez, and Football Inc.

Wondery focuses on bringing entertainment and knowledge to its audience with its various podcast shows. The company describes its host of content as “high-quality, emotionally immersive” podcasts that allow listeners to feel the story.

Wondery claims to be the largest independent podcast publisher in the world. Podcasts from Wondery are available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

The increased focus on exclusive podcast content shows just how popular the medium has become. Spotify recently committed to spending over $500 million on podcast content this year. TIDAL launched its ‘On Air’ platform with exclusive podcasts for TIDAL listeners.  As SiriusXM has just refurbished 22 of its for Pandora listeners.

Podcasts are big business, and just one of many ways competing music services are differentiating themselves.

Podcast advertising revenue is estimated to break $659 million by 2020.  Accordingly, it behooves big industry players to claim a piece of that pie.  Plenty of the most popular podcasts in the world started out as indie efforts.

Total U.S. podcast advertising revenue was $314 million in 2017, which was an 86% increase over 2016. Revenue has continued to rise steadily with a 94% growth spurt between Q4 2016 and Q4 2017.

Indeed, podcast revenue is booming, and it’s likely we’ll see more of these partnerships announced in the future. Host-read ads are the preferred ad type for most listeners, giving advertising a personalized experience — and much higher engagement.

Universal Music Group Announces Podcast Deal With Wondery