When it comes to music, the podcast sector remains in a grey area of licensing, waffling between being editorial or educational products (allowing for short snippets of songs or score) and pure commercial entities. But Jared Gutstadt, founder of production company Audio Up (home to pods by Michael Cohen, Rosanna Arquette, Machine Gun Kelly, Tommy Lee and Anthony Anderson) and an innovator in the space, seems to have found a workaround uniquely catered to his skills: original music.
Bear and a Banjo, a collaboration with Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd (the hitmaker best known for his work with Justin Bieber), was his first dip into songs written specifically for a podcast and now he’s re-teamed with Poo Bear for the soundtrack to Audio Up’s scripted podcast production of Stephen King’s “Strawberry Spring.” Starring Garrett Hedlund in the lead role and featuring Milo Ventimiglia, Herizen F. Gaurdiola, Sydney Sweeney, Ken Marino, Al Madrigal, and Brec Bassinger, “Strawberry Spring” has been trending at No. 1 globally on the podcast charts, the music reaching a wide swath of audiences and demonstrating the distribution power and possibilities that a podcast can offer for original music.
Under the banner Yakuza and the Bear, Gutstadt and Poo Bear, with Jeff Peters, have created a musical landscape to complement the “movie for your ears,” which Gutstadt, the founder of production music house Jingle Punks, has used to describe the immersive storytelling that has typified the scripted podcast space. “Daddy Long Legs,” the lead song from the “Strawberry Spring” soundtrack, was co-written and co-produced by the duo (listen to it below).
To hear Gutstadt tell it, the podcast world is inching closer to that of award-winning composers like Hans Zimmer. After all, top Hollywood actors, directors and producers have caught the podcast bug — wouldn’t composers be the next logical step?