Reservoir, SiriusXM Back Scripted-Podcast Company Audio Up In $12 Million Raise

About one month after inking a “worldwide” administration deal with Joni Mitchell, Reservoir (NASDAQ: RSVR) has backed audio-entertainment and podcast-production company Audio Up in a $12 million Series B led by SiriusXM.

Reservoir just recently announced its participation in the multimillion-dollar Series B of Audio Up, which debuted last year and previously raised $4.5 million in a Series A led by MGM Studios, per Crunchbase. Having taken several noteworthy steps in 2021 to achieve a greater presence “outside the vehicle,” SiriusXM (NASDAQ: SIRI) led Audio Up’s latest raise, as mentioned, according to a separate release from the satellite-radio company.

The precise value of Reservoir’s Audio Up investment hasn’t been publicly revealed, with the New York City-headquartered music company indicating only that it fronted “one of the key contributions.”

In any event, said contribution “will help Audio Up further build their ecosystem of premium entertainment content within the music and audio space,” per Reservoir higher-ups. The platform’s podcast library encompasses a show from Stephen King, a forthcoming series entitled The Playboy Interview, and a program (starring Jason Alexander) based on Melvyn Haber’s Bedtime Stories of the Legendary Ingleside Inn Palm Springs, to name some.

Regarding the exclusive elements of these newest Audio Up investments, Reservoir and the scripted-podcast startup – established by Jingle Punks co-founder Jared Gutstadt – “are working together on collaborative audio entertainment projects using Reservoir’s catalog of copyrights,” per the latter entity, which in June acquired Tommy Boy Music as well as the catalog of legendary rock producer Tom Werman.

Plus, Audio Up is set to “create new original scripted podcasts for SiriusXM” and its subsidiaries, including podcast platform Stitcher, and the companies will also “develop new audio entertainment concepts and forge new promotional and distribution synergies.”

Lastly, in terms of the Liberty Media subsidiary’s involvement with Audio Up, SiriusXM will have “an exclusive ‘first-look’ co-production option for new Audio Up original podcast concepts, with accompanying options for exclusive distribution across SiriusXM properties, as well as exclusive rights to manage and sell advertising inventory and sponsorship.”

Addressing his company’s support from and collaboration with Reservoir, Audio Up founder and CEO Jared Gutstadt said: “Our business is a business of firsts. And Reservoir’s investment truly looks towards the future of audio entertainment, bringing to life the Reservoir catalog for a brand-new audience. This partnership underscores how important audio media is to the music rights holders across the media landscape as it drives listenership to new levels.

“Reservoir intrinsically understands this model and the unique advantage of being a music publishing and masters platform embedded within the podcast/audio media space,” finished the Toronto native.

In other funding news, “music experience startup” Stage11 recently closed a $5.8 million round, while Blackstone earlier this week made official its plans to invest $1 billion in music IP – besides taking an “ownership stake” in Hipgnosis Song Management. Separately, Spotify is launching an in-house podcast expansion as some reports suggest that the Stockholm-based platform will soon surpass Apple’s podcasting lead in the U.S.

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