Podcasting is big – and it is getting much bigger.

Right now, there are more than 1 million active podcasts and more than 30 million available podcast episodes. The rapidly expanding market has attracted some of the world’s biggest celebrities – from Will Ferrell to Michelle Obama to Malcolm Gladwell, Chelsea Handler and Shonda Rhimes.

In May 2020, Spotify agreed to an exclusive $100 million deal with Joe Rogan, the biggest licensing agreement ever made in podcasting. The $900 million Blackstone Media paid in August for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company includes notable film and TV properties as well as a burgeoning podcast network targeting women listeners.

Licensing Comes to Podcasting

At the recent Copyright and Technology 2021, an industry panel shared insights with CCC on negotiating podcasting licensing deals from both sides of the contract – representing content producers and content providers.

  • Alexia Bedat is a Legal Associate at Klaris Law, a boutique media, entertainment, technology, and intellectual property law firm, based in New York City. She is also a Management Consultant for KlarisIP, a boutique consulting and managed services firm focusing on IP rights & royalties, digital asset management and metadata.
  • Conal Byrne is Chief Executive Officer of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group, which includes the company’s fast-growing and high-profile podcasting business as well as the industry-leading iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, services, newsletters, and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies. Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Byrne was President and CEO of Stuff Media, Inc., which pioneered the podcast space with leading shows including “Stuff You Missed in History Class” and “Stuff You Should Know.”  Byrne joined iHeartMedia when the company acquired Stuff Media in October 2018.
  • Chelsea Krepsis a Digital Agent at WME, focusing on digital talent and podcast representation. WME is the world’s longest-running talent agency and represents 6000 clients. Chelsea’s own extensive client roster includes top podcaster Bailey Sarien, Tyler Cameron, Watch What Crappens, RedHanded, Sinisterhood, and Rabia Chaudry.

Producing podcasts has never have been more lucrative — and not surprisingly, negotiating licensing deals for these shows has never been more important and more interesting. For top-shelf creators, producers, distributors and platforms, podcasting may be an end in itself – or it can serve as a bridge to film, television, and publishing.

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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