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Business deals

Sony buys podcast powerhouse Somethin' Else in media push

Japanese group joins global scramble to produce audio programs

U.K.-based Somethin' Else's output consists mainly of talk shows, music programs and serials.

TOKYO -- Sony Music Entertainment has acquired London-based podcast producer Somethin' Else, as the Japanese company looks to expand its U.S.-focused operation into a global enterprise.

Somethin' Else's output consists mainly of talk shows, music programs and serials. The shows are streamed on major platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. The Sony Group subsidiary did not disclose the deal's price in Wednesday's announcement.

The Japanese group has poured resources into Sony Music Entertainment's intellectual properties in recent years and expanded its distribution capabilities for content. Sony in December announced a $1.175 billion buyout of U.S. anime streamer Crunchyroll and followed up in May with the purchase of U.K. indie music distributor AWAL.

Somethin' Else, which also has offices in New York, brings a team of experienced program producers who will let Sony embark on a global expansion of the group's podcast arm. Sony will collaborate with the major producer in various capacities, such as having artists hired under the group's music labels appear on the podcasts.

The podcast market continues to grow, aided by stay-at-home demand from the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. alone will reach $1.7 billion in 2024 based on advertising revenue, data from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows, more than double the $800 million estimated for 2020. The growth rate for the global podcast market will be even larger, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Music distributors and tech giants worldwide are upgrading their audio programming business. Apple and Google were among the first out of the gate to platform podcasts.

Amazon.com began podcasts on its Amazon Music service in September. In December, the company announced the purchase of U.S. podcast network Wondery, in a deal estimated at $300 million.

Warner Music Group announced a partnership in April with Sweden's Spotify, the world's largest music streamer. The tie-up will develop a lineup of podcasts featuring Warner artists.

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