Sony Music cancels Emily Ratajkowski’s podcast and lays off podcast staff, Bloomberg reports

The High Low podcast host is said to be looking for a new company to produce show

Sony Music is reportedly quietly shutting down its hit podcast High Low with EmRata amidst its third round of podcast layoffs in two years, according to Bloomberg. 

The podcast, hosted by model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, launched in November last year and quickly became a hit, with three episodes weekly featuring celebrity interviews in both audio and video format with over 100,000 views on YouTube. Anonymous sources close to the company told Bloomberg that Ratajkowski is now looking for a new company to produce her show. 

In addition to the main feed, the podcast also has a subscription offer on Apple Podcasts with access to weekly bonus episodes and ad-free listening. The anonymous source told Bloomberg, however, that the podcast was struggling to sell advertising as brands wanted to prioritise reaching US consumers. The decision to end the show has not yet been made public by Sony Music and a spokesperson from the company told PodPod that they have no comment on the podcast. 

The news comes amidst a new round of layoffs for Sony Music and and a spokesperson from the company told Bloomberg that a “significant percentage of the [podcasting] division” has been affected, but declined to comment further about specifications. A spokesperson also told PodPod that the changes also included people from the creative team. 

“Like many in the industry, we are further streamlining our structure as we continue to shift our creative strategy and focus on building big audiences across a select group of ongoing shows and our subscription business,” the spokesperson told PodPod. “Unfortunately this means some difficult changes needed to be made.”

This is the third round of podcast layoffs within Sony Music, the most recent one having taken place in May this year and specifically affecting members of its narrative podcast team and staff within podcast marketing and sales, according to a previous report from Bloomberg. In June 2021, Sony Music launched a new expanded global podcast division with the acquisition of audio production company Somethin’ Else. 

As part of its global content partnership with Sony Music, Somethin’ Else has produced a number of originals and client podcasts for the company including the High Low podcast. The show is led by executive producer Serita Wesley, producer Chelsea Jacobson, and associate producer Rachel Chodor. It hasn’t been confirmed if any members of the Somethin’ Else production team have been affected by the layoffs. PodPod has contacted Sony Music for comment.

A number of companies, in addition to Sony Music, have laid off members of staff within their podcast divisions and wider teams in order to cut back on costs. In June this year, Spotify announced a new round of layoffs as part of the next phase of its podcast strategy which affected 2% of its global workforce, amounting to 200 people. 

Similarly, National Geographic reportedly laid off its audio team behind hit science podcast Overheard in April and NPR cancelled four podcasts within its network in March amidst layoffs which affected 10% of its workforce and amounted to 100 employees being affected.