iHeartMedia’s Investment into Web3 Brings Together Podcasts, NFTs

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iHeartMedia has announced they’re pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into buying multiple NFTs, in an effort to create an NFT-infused podcast network. Executives told Axios they plan to make “10-15 investments over the next several days” on various types of NFTs that’ll include tokens from CryptoPunks, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and World of Women.

This isn’t the audio platform’s first dive into Web3. Back in January, the company announced an expansion into the Metaverse by committing to the launch of a token via Roblox, attempting to leverage their consumer reach of “90% of Americans every month” into engagement via their web3-infused online communities and other iHeartMedia platforms.

This is one of the largest investments into the mainstream NFT space by a legacy media company as of yet. With a history of paying big bucks in acquisitions, iHeartMedia looks to have begun to bring those same spending habits to their Web3 efforts.

Executives also told Axios that the company plans on “testing five to ten of its existing podcast shows as IP for DAOs.” Khalil Tawil, EVP of strategy at iHeartMedia, compared this leveraging of IP attempts via NFTs as a way to avoid the problems faced by comic book companies when trying to combine characters from different stories into one film or series.

“There’s no real precedent for this,” said Tawil.

The ideas from iHeartMedia on how to initially utilize their investments into Web3 are based upon creating shared virtual spaces. According to iHeartMedia, the concept is to bring together the IP from the NFTs they acquire into content that it will call the “Non-Fun Squad” universe.

Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia’s Digital Audio Group told Axios, “we can world-build for them, creating narratives around them, and bring those stories to life via podcasts.”

The first content of this network will be called the Non-Fun Podcast Network, which will feature characters from the Non-Fun Squad. Members of the squad will be characters represented by NFTs, and voiced by real people that portray the characters. 

This intersection between audio-based media and digital art will be an interesting thing to watch for those looking to capitalize on the media surrounding Web3 and digital assets.