SiriusXM and Audio Up Reveal Podcast Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

The two companies announced a creative programming and strategic agreement in October 2021

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Courtesy of Audio Up/SiriusXM

SiriusXM and Audio Up Inc., which announced in October a creative programming and strategic agreement that will see the development of new original scripted series and audio entertainment concepts, have announced the launch of two original scripted podcasts, “Make It Up As We Go: Season 2,” starring Garrett Hedlund, Scarlett Burke, Elle King, Nile Rodgers and Shooter Jennings, and “Sonic Leap” starring Anthony Anderson, Trippie Redd and Hero The Band. Both will premiere on May 3, with sneak previews set for May 2 on the Volume channel, and can be heard across the SiriusXM ecosystem — including the SXM app, Pandora and Stitcher — as well as other major U.S. podcast platforms.

The agreement allows SiriusXM to have a first-look co-production option for original podcast concepts by Audio Up, the podcast production studio founded in 2020 by audio innovator Jared Gutstadt, as well as access to the studio’s back catalog.

The second season of “Make It Up As We Go,” touted as “the first-ever scripted country podcast musical,” continues to follow country star hopeful Charlotte Sayles (played by series co-creator Scarlett Burke, who also contributes original music) as she makes her way through Nashville’s male-dominated hit factory. Making appearances on the show, in addition to Hedlund, King, Rodgers and Jennings, are songwriter Liz Rose, Kat & Alex, Breland, Abby Anderson and Chord Overstreet. Jennings also co-produces the show’s soundtrack with Gutstadt. Promotion of the series will be heard on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country and The Highway channels.

“Sonic Leap” tells the fictional story of rock band Hero the Band. Comprised of four brothers, they get sent back to 1985 to “change their future and the future of music.” Alongside original music by Gutstadt, Jeff Peters and Hero the Band, actor Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish,” “Law & Order”) makes his podcast debut. Rapper Trippie Redd co-stars and contributes music as well. Also on deck is a full album from the Atlanta-based Hero the Band, to be released on Audio Up Records. Appearances by Hero the Band are scheduled for SiriusXM’s 1st Wave and Alt Nation channels and Trippie Redd will act as guest DJ on Hip-Hop Nation.

“These projects speak to our abilities as storytellers, songwriters, and music producers,” said Gutstadt, the founder and CEO of Audio Up. “With SiriusXM, Audio Up has an alliance with shared creative vision and unprecedented opportunity for scale. The unique value of this collaboration will be expansive: on SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, and beyond across other major audio entertainment platforms, and also down the road as potential film, music, and TV franchises that are unlocked through the power of audio first.”

Added Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM president and chief creative officer: “Whether it’s SiriusXM radio hosts appearing in podcast episodes or stars from the series playing guest DJ on SiriusXM channels and introducing them to millions of new listeners, we’ve created a unique launch pad for these great podcasts and the original music within them.”

Of “Make it Up As We Go,” Hedlund noted: “Happy to be at it again with Audio Up. I’ve had my first number one podcast with ‘Strawberry Spring,’ our Stephen King project. I was excited to hop back into country music in season two of ‘Make It Up As We Go,; revisiting my love for the songs and storytelling that I hold dear. Scarlett and Jared have this incredible dynamic, and I love being in their world. Jared is a visionary when it comes to the way music plays into the world of podcasts, and I think this is one of the most unique spaces in media to be in at the moment.”

Anthony Anderson said of Sonic Leap: “I met Hero the Band on a Zoom call earlier this year when I was working on the project. They were late and I gave them shit! But for real, these guys are really bringing something fresh to pop music. They’re like if Prince, Terence Trent D’Arby, and Lenny Kravitz had four incredibly gifted and talented kids. It’s the magical combination of rock, soul, and psychedelic pop. The band is telling their story with this exciting time travel adventure. I’ve never done anything quite like this before, and I know I’ll be excited to say that I’ve known them since the jump.”

In announcing the podcast slate, Andrew Moss, SiriusXM’s senior vice president, business affairs and programming operations, also joins the Audio Up board of directors.